You’re going to want a big bowl of this delicious Turmeric and Pepper Spiced Tofu for dinner tonightThis Baked Tofu dinner is a literal party in your mouth. The freshly cracked peppercorns combined with the turmeric give a pleasant spice, while the dried cranberries and fresh mint round out the flavor.
Turmeric and Pepper Spiced Tofu
In 2021, I want to eat more plant forward, and this Baked Tofu recipe will help!
I am always looking for ways to eat more sustainably, but have yet to kick meat out of my diet all together. Maybe it is because, living with my family, I am surrounded by constant requests to make steak for dinner. Or perhaps it is because I cannot see myself living in a world without sushi. Either way, if I cut out meat and fish, I am certain I would miss it. This baked tofu, however, leaves me fully satisfied the way a delicious roasted chicken would. When eating this, I don’t miss meat at all.
Tofu Tips and Tricks
There are many types of tofu, but my favorites are extra or super firm. I feel like this type of tofu makes for a more substantial meal.
Many people swear by freezing and thawing your tofu first to help get rid of excess water. However, if you are crunched for time, I find draining your tofu by setting it between two paper towels and pressing a heavy skillet, or just your bare hands sufficient.
My key to perfectly crispy tofu every time is to toss it in cornstarch before you pan fry or bake your tofu. If you do not have any, nutritional yeast can also work.
How to make my Baked Tofu
This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and perfect for a weeknight dinner when you are short on time.
Before we get started, We need to preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, I like to toast my spices on a dry skillet. This step is optional but highly recommended. Toasting spices intensifies their flavor and adds great toasted flavor notes. It also makes your kitchen smell amazing so its a win win!
I used a motor and pestle to crush the black peppercorns and mustard seed, but a spice grinder, small blender, or even a meat pounder (though careful the mess) can work. If you do not have whole black peppercorns, feel free to substitute 1/2 tsp cracked pepper.
Before you slice your tofu, you must always always drain the excess water out. As mentioned above, many people swear by freezing and thawing their tofu first. But I usually just place my block of tofu between 2 paper towels then place a heavy cast iron skillet on top and let it sit for a few minutes. I sometimes try to quicken this process by pressing down on top, but be gentle so you don’t tear your tofu by doing this.
There are infinite ways to cut your tofu. You can cut it uniformly into squares, triangles, or even strips. Alternatively you can crumble it. I typically cut mine uniformly because I can be sure all the pieces are the same size and therefore will cook at the same time. To make this meal, I cut my tofu into 1″ squares, but feel free to chop yours up however. Also, do not worry if any pieces crumble off. These small pieces will get extra crispy when they bake in the oven and add a fun texture to your dish.
Add your tofu to a small bowl and mix in 1 Tbs of olive oil. I like to add olive oil, then corn starch, then my spices + garlic/ginger in that order to make sure everything is sufficiently covered. Mix gently because tofu can tear easily.
Bake your tofu for 20 minutes and prep your rice and other toppings such as mint and dried cranberries. Once your tofu is cooked, serve and enjoy!
For other vegan recipes to welcome the new year with, check out:
Turmeric and Pepper Spiced Tofu
- 8 oz Firm or Super Firm Tofu
- 1/2 Tsp Whole Black Peppercorns (substitute 1/4-1/2 Tsp ground black pepper)
- 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Tbs Corn Starch
- 1 "1 inch" piece of ginger, grated
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Brown Sugar
- 1-2 Cups Rice
- 2 Tbs Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 Tsp Fresh Mint Leaves, Chopped
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Toast black peppercorns and mustard seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant
- Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or motor and pestle and grind into a powder. Set aside.
- Press your tofu to drain the excess water. Cut it into equal size pieces and add to a medium sized bowl.
- Pour olive oil over the tofu and toss gently to coat. Then stir in the cornstarch. Once everything is combined, add in the freshly ground spices, turmeric, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and salt. Stir gently until everything is evenly coated
- Add the tofu to a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes
- Prepare your favorite rice and gather the cranberries and mint leaves while the tofu cooks
- Serve over rice and top with dried cranberries and torn mint leaves. Enjoy!