Grilled or Roasted Tofu

On its own, tofu is fairly bland,  but that just means you need to drench it in a tasty sauce before you grill it.

Select a extra-firm or firm tofu, as soft or silken tofu will fall apart during cooking. Cut it into flat pieces about 1/2″ thick — for a commonly-sold 14-16 oz block of tofu, I cut it into eight slices.

Then press the tofu to remove some of the water from it: Put three or four sheets of paper towel down on a cutting board or other flat surface, and spread out the tofu on it, then cover it with more sheets of paper towel and place something flat and heavy on the top, like another cutting board with a heavy pot as a weight. Leave the tofu to drain for five or ten minutes, then discard the wet paper towels.

You can use any type of barbecue sauce or marinade you like, or whip up one of your own by making a thick paste with your preferred blend of sweet, tangy, and/or spicy flavors — glance at the below ideas for inspiration and then look in your fridge to assemble something with what you have on hand:

  • Two tablespoons each of honey, grated garlic, and soy sauce, and one of sesame oil.
  • Four tablespoons of apple butter, two of grated ginger, and a couple of pinches of salt and chili powder.
  • Four tablespoons of tomato paste, two of balsamic vinegar, and one each of crushed garlic, finely diced basil, and grated parmesan.
  • Two tablespoons of minced onion sautéd in one tablespoon of butter until soft, plus two tablespoons of whole-grain mustard, and one of brown sugar.

Coat the tofu with the sauce — if you have a kitchen brush or similar implement you can use that, or put half of the sauce in a shallow bowl and layer in the tofu before pouring the rest over the top, or whatever gets the job done.

Then cook it, either by grilling or roasting:

  • Use a stove-top grill pan on medium-high heat. Wipe the pan with a little bit of oil before cooking. Cook on one side for between five and ten minutes until slightly browned, then flip and repeat on the other side.
  • You can roast in an oven set to 400°. Use a roasting pan, optionally with a layer of parchment paper on the bottom to make cleanup easier. Cook for ten minutes, then flip to the other side for another ten. Finish by turning on the broiler to crisp the surface, but keep a close eye on it because this will only take about two or three minutes and it’s easy to burn it.
  • If you’re cooking over a back-yard grill, wait until the flames have died down and then cook for five to ten minutes per side. Brush the grill with a bit of oil before cooking. Depending on your grill, you may want to use larger pieces to ensure the tofu doesn’t break apart and fall through the grate.

Brush the cooked tofu with a little of the leftover sauce before serving.


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