Game-Changing Ginger-Sesame Baked Tofu

This week’s deep freeze, aka winter in Colorado, has left me wanting nothing more than to stuff bready carbs down the ol’ gullet in a vain attempt to bulk up for my snot-freezing morning bus stop wait. But a shivering popsicle cannot live on pesto-slathered toast alone. Today I bring you the secret weapon in bicep-bulging vegan protein: a brick of bland tofu revamped to knock your socks off. Sounds promising, right?

Today’s recipe can work in tandem with Monday’s post, offering easy-to-follow steps to create addictively delicious baked tofu. For those who aren’t fans of tofu, this recipe is the game changer you need to pep up vegan and vegetarian dishes in want of hearty protein. The secret’s in the umami-packed marinade. Soy sauce, garlic, and toasted sesame oil rouse those taste buds that usually hibernate during plant-based eating.

This sesame-ginger baked tofu turned out so well that Cameron and I snacked on it FOR FUN. We know how to party at the Middleton and Turner house. In fact, this weekend I plan to make a few batches of baked tofu, using Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook’s different marinade recipes on offer, to keep our lunches filling enough next week that I’ll resist the office vending machine’s pretzel siren call in the afternoon.

Ginger Sesame Baked Tofu
Image by author.

Ginger-Sesame Baked Tofu
(adapted from a Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook recipe)

– 1 14-oz container of firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
– 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
– 2 TBS lime juice
– 2 TBS brown sugar
– 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
– 2 tso toasted sesame oil
– 2 tsp Sambal Oelek
– 2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced

1. Place the drained tofu brick between two plates to press excess water from the tofu. Set aside and let it do its thing for at least 30 minutes but up to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients in an 8″x8″ baking dish to create your marinade.

3. Once the tofu has been pressed, cut it into width-wise planks no thicker than 1/4 inch. You should get about 12 pieces per brick of tofu. Lay the planks into the baking dish, doing your best to cover all the pieces with marinade. Let this sit for at least 2 hours and up to 8. (Not all of the tofu pieces fit in a single layer, so halfway through the soaking process, I flipped the tofu planks to make sure all of them had time to soak up the flavorful marinade.)

4. When you’re ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees F, and grease a rimmed baking sheet. (I used a silicone baking mat, but the next time I’ll use a sheet of parchment paper to avoid the marinade seeping on to the baking sheet and staining the pan’s surface.

5. Remove the tofu from the marinade (save the marinade for the next step), and arrange the tofu planks on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and spoon a little more marinade on each piece. Bake for 10 minutes more, flip, and sauce again. Bake for a final 5 minutes. The edges should start to look a little burnt. Remove from oven, and let them sit on the pan for a few minutes to firm up. Then, cut it into whatever shape pieces you need for your meal.

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