This 5-minute savory tofu is a versatile tofu steak you can enjoy on salad, toast, sandwiches, or stir-fry.
It is my go-to method for cooking tofu this is tasty and savory, with strong umami flavor on the outside, supporting a yummy-tender inside.Jump to Recipe
I especially enjoy savory tofu on a nice piece of well-made sourdough toast, along with mayonnaise, Fabanaise (egg-free mayo made from chickpea water), or pesto.
You could also add a slice of cheese and spinach for extra protein and texture if you like.
On salads, I will typically slice my steaks into strips and serve it as a topping, like chicken.
Leftover tofu stores quickly and easily in the fridge for about 3 days. Keep it in a ziplock, plastic wrap, or a reusable container.
Even if you don’t think you like tofu. Trust me! You’ll change your mind, and perhaps thank me for this easy, tasty, savory tofu recipe.
The recipe was a gift from a traveller I hosted at my home for a couple weeks. She was vegetarian, and this was her go-to for quick protein.
It was a very long time ago, but I remember being amazed by how quick and easy it was to transform a flavorless slab of tofu into an enticing, flavor-packed steak substitute.
Ever-so-versatile savory tofu
What I love is the versatility of this recipe.
I recommend using balsamic vinegar and soy sauce as base ingredients, but you can always substitute the balsamic with any vinegar, or citrus juice, such as lemon, lime, or orange.
Lemon zest is nice too for a sour flavor. Soy sauce can be replaced with Tamari, Braggs, or any kind of savory brown sauce you have, such as Worcestershire.
Instead of the cilantro, you could use any fresh herb—such as basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, parsley—or none at all.
If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can try dried herbs of the same, or an herbs de Provence mix. A little black pepper, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, or jalapeño would add some spiciness, too, if you like.
Personally, I love the grassy flavor of cilantro, but I understand not everyone likes cilantro. By the way, cilantro is absolutely amazing with eggs, but that is, of course, another post.
Before you get started, I’d like to address briefly the issue of soy. There are many myths out there that soy isn’t healthy, but these are easily clarified with some important knowledge.
First, be sure to always buy organic tofu. About 90 percent of the soy grown in the United States is genetically modified, and I generally advise staying away from GMO foods as much as possible. Certified organic tofu will never be GMO.
Avoid any health claims, like high-protein, etc. Tofu is extremely nutritious and it doesn't need any extra health claims. What you want is tofu made with safe, traditional practices. This article from Eden Foods explains why traditional practices matter.
Second, tofu is a fermented product, which greatly increases its health properties versus unfermented soy beans. It is the unfermented beans that pose some health risks due to anti-nutrients and such.
Apparently soy was popularized only during the Chou dynasty in China (1134-246 BC) after the process of fermenting soybeans was discovered.
So go ahead and enjoy tofu once in a while. I sure do! This recipe will make it a no-brainer for a quick, nutritious dinner or snack!
Best tofu to buy
Many people ask me which tofu they should trust and buy.
My answer is to make sure that you choose organic first, since soy is a highly genetically modified crop. When you purchase certified organic you can be assured it isn't genetically modified.
The next thing I say is to choose a local, small-batch brand, and look into that company's philosophy and processing practices. Knowing your producer is always the most important when selecting a quality product.
For a nationally available brand, I recommend Hodo Foods tofu, as I have looked into their processing practices, and they are doing a great job.
5-Minute Savory Tofu (You’ll Thank Me for This)
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
- medium skillet
- 15 ounce package of firm organic tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or coriander leaf, chopped
- Slice tofu into slabs about ½-inch thick. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. The skillet should be large enough to hold all the tofu in one layer. Heat oil on medium heat. Place tofu slices in the skillet and cover evenly with balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Let it cook for a couple minutes, give the pan a shake. Sprinkle on the cilantro, cook another minute, and then flip each piece of tofu.
- You should see the tofu has started to brown on the first side. Continue to sauté, shaking the pan periodically, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the tofu again and add more browning to the first side. When is done, both sides should be browned, and full of flavor.