Grilled Tofu

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This easy Grilled Tofu is marinated with soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, and fresh herbs for tons of flavor. This vegan dish is perfect for topping your favorite salads, wraps, and grain bowls. Grilled to perfection in under 10 minutes!

211 CALORIES9g CARBS14g FAT18g PROTEIN
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As the wife of an avid meat lover, it can be tough (like really tough) to find plant-based protein options that my husband actually enjoys. That is, until I stumbled across the deliciousness that is Grilled Tofu. Whatever opinion you may have previously held about tofu, throw it out the window. There is no arguing with the flavor and texture of this dish.

Marinated in a blend of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic, cilantro, and red pepper flakes, this tofu is packed with Asian-inspired flavors that are guaranteed to get mouths watering.

Not to mention, it will fuel your body with lots of plant-based protein and essential amino acids.

So, whether you’re serving this Grilled Tofu as a zesty side dish or letting it be the star of the show, you really can’t go wrong.

I recommend serving it over rice or tucking it into a wrap alongside fresh veggies. It also makes the perfect easy dinner with grilled vegetables and some steamed rice or couscous.

Regardless of how you serve this dish, even the meat lovers in your group won’t be able to resist.

Crispy grilled tofu with dark grill marks drizzled with a cilantro soy sauce.

Key Ingredients

To bring this delicious plant-based recipe to life, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Soy sauce: This is one of the key players of the marinade for this dish. Not only does the tofu absorb soy sauce incredibly well, but it adds a ton of deliciously savory, umami flavor. I like to opt for low-sodium soy sauce, but you can use any kind you have at home including coconut aminos or tamari.
  • Sesame oil: Packed with nutty flavor, sesame oil is a staple ingredient in many Asian-inspired marinades and stir-fries. It adds a ton of great flavor, along with heart-healthy fats. Olive oil or avocado oil work as well.
  • Rice vinegar: Much like sesame oil and soy sauce, rice vinegar is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine. The acidity in this ingredient enhances the flavors of the rest of our ingredients. Swap in lime juice or lemon juice for the acid if you prefer. 
  • Maple syrup. Maple syrup is one of my go-tos when it comes to natural sweeteners. For this marinade, I recommend using pure maple syrup, as it contains nothing but tree sap that’s been boiled down to a thicker consistency. Honey or agave would also work.
  • Herbs and spices: Garlic, fresh cilantro, and a touch of red pepper flakes are the perfect ways to enhance the flavor of this dish. Add some freshly minced ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika for even more flavor. 
  • Tofu: One of the world’s most popular plant-based protein sources, tofu is made from soy ebans. Because tofu is so mild in flavor, it’s great for using in a wide variety of dishes. Make sure to use the extra-firm kind for this recipe.

Grilled Tofu Recipe Tips and Tricks

Wondering how to make the best tofu? Here are some of my top tips:

  • Use extra-firm tofu. Soft tofu is not intended for grilling, so using it for this dish will not bode well for you. Always check the label before buying to make sure you get extra-firm tofu.
  • Press your tofu. All you have to do is cut the tofu in half and microwave for about 2 minutes. This will release most of its liquid. Then, place the tofu between paper towels and top it with some sort of heavy object (like a cutting board or a pan). After 15 minutes, most of its water should have dissipated.
  • Let it marinate. The key to this recipe is letting it marinate for a decent amount of time. If you’re in a hurry, make sure to let the tofu marinate for at least 15 minutes. If you have all the time in the world, marinate the tofu overnight for the most flavorful results.
  • Make skewers: Instead of grilling the tofu in planks, turn them into skewers. Simply cut the tofu into cubes and thread it onto metal or bamboo skewers. Add vegetables if you for an easy meal.

Grilled Tofu Serving Tips

Grilled tofu can be served in a ton of different ways. However, if you’re new to this whole plant-based protein thing, here are a few of my favorite ways to serve tofu:

  • With veggies. Pairing this delicious grilled tofu with a big bowl of veggies is a quick and easy way to create a well-balanced meal. I recommend trying grilled mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, zucchini, red onions, or cauliflower, as the flavors blend beautifully.
  • Over a bowl of rice. Laying grilled tofu over a bed of rice is one of the most common ways of serving it for a reason—it tastes amazing! Not only does the rice add a little extra heartiness to the meal, but it does a great job of sopping up any extra marinade, making every mouthful jam-packed with flavor. To make it low-carb, swap out the rice for cauliflower rice.
  • In a sandwich or wrap. Tucking this grilled tofu into a pita or wrap alongside some fresh veggies is the perfect way to turn this delicious tofu into a grab-and-go lunch or snack. Whether you’re in a rush or just looking for a lighter meal, this one is a winner.
  • Add sauce: Kick up the flavor even more with some homemade peanut sauce, teriyaki sauce, or chipotle sauce.

Marinated grilled tofu with a cilantro, garlic, and soy sauce being spooned on top.

How to Store Leftovers

If your household is anything like mine, there typically aren’t leftovers of this dish. However, if for some magical reason that isn’t the case, you are going to want to seal your leftovers in an airtight storage container bag. Once properly contained, you can store leftover tofu in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pro Tip: After thawing your leftover tofu in the fridge, be sure to drain or squeeze out any excess water. Then, reheat in the oven, on the stove, or on the grill until warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

Tofu is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also contains all 9 essential amino acids and is incredibly low in cholesterol and saturated fat. So, yes, tofu is healthy when incorporated into a well-balanced diet.

I won’t lie and say that tofu isn’t a bit of a mess on the grill. With that being said, there are ways to avoid this. Cleaning your grill beforehand is always a good idea. Oiling the grill grates will also help keep things clean by preventing the tofu from sticking.

The secret to deliciously crispy tofu is ensuring it is dried out as much as possible before cooking. If you haven’t properly pressed your tofu — or didn’t press for long enough — then there might be excess moisture that is preventing your tofu from crisping and (even worse) causing it to stick to the grill.

Bowl of grilled tofu slices with an Asian sauce drizzled on top and fresh cilantro leaves.
The Recipe
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Grilled Tofu

PREP TIME: 30 Min
COOK TIME: 10 Min
TOTAL TIME: 40 Min
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 24 oz extra firm tofu (2 blocks)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced (or other herbs)
  • 1/16 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Cut the tofu into 1/2 thick slices. Use a tofu press to press out the liquid. You can also wrap the tofu slices in a towel and place something heavy on top to press out the extar moisture. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Tofu being pressed with a kitchen towel.
2

Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic, cilantro, and red pepper flakes (if using) in small container.

Cilantro and garlic being stirred with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and maple syrup.
3

Add the pressed tofu to the marinade and let sit for 15-30 minutes, longer if you have time.

Tofu being marinated in soy sauce and cilantro.
4

Make sure the grill is clean and consider lighting oiling the grates so the tofu doesn’t stick. Remove the tofu from the marinade, brushing off any garlic or cilantro since it will burn. Save the marinade. Grill over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until brown grill marks have formed and the tofu gets slightly crispy on the outside.

Sliced tofu on a grill pan.
5

Serve with remaining marinade on top and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Soy marinade being poured on top of grilled tofu.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211
Calories from Fat 120
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
21%
Saturated Fat 2g
7%
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 546mg
24%
Total Carbohydrate 9g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 4g
Protein 18g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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