I've recently decided to become a weekday vegetarian, and these crispy tofu bowls with peanut sauce have been my go to! I can no longer ignore the growing body of evidence saying a vegetarian/vegan diet is better for your health and environment.
These bowls provide balance with protein, veggies and carbs. Plus, I guarantee you won't be able to stop eating this spicy peanut sauce. The bowls are versatile, so use whatever vegetables and grains you have on hand! Everything except the sauce is also cooked on a sheet pan or two, so there's very little cleanup. This meal has been my GO TO for lunchtime meal prep in the past few weeks.
Crispy Tofu Bowls with Peanut Sauce: Step-by-step instructions
Drain your block of firm or extra firm tofu, wrap it in some paper towels or a dish towel, place a heavy weight like a cast iron skillet on top of the tofu. This presses the tofu down and extracts more moisture, making it extra crispy.
In the meantime, prep your broccoli and oyster mushrooms by spreading them on a baking sheet and seasoning liberally with salt, pepper and olive oil. I used broccoli and oyster mushrooms because they are what I had on hand, but you can choose whatever vegetables you want to go with the tofu.
Once your veg is in the oven, cut your pressed tofu into cubes and mix it liberally with oil. You don't want your tofu to stick to the sheet pan, so don't skimp on the oil! Lay the tofu out on a sheet pan to bake. Alternatively, you can also pan fry the tofu until it's crispy, making sure to turn to get all sides fried.
When everything is in the oven cooking, start making the sauce. Two packaged sauces that really make this peanut sauce sing are hoisin sauce and sambal oelek.
Hoisin sauce is a sweet and savory sauce that's often served with pho or as the sauce for Peking Duck. It adds a salty, savory sweet flavor to any dish. I love it as a secret ingredient for stir fry sauce as well!
Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian sauce that's basically made with minced chili peppers, vinegar and spices. It's an easy replacement for if you want fresh chili pepper flavor but don't have any on hand. I've seen both of these sauces at Western grocery stores because they've become so popular.
Mix the hoisin sauce and sambal oelek with peanut butter. In a small saucepot, sautee some finely minced garlic and shallot until it is fragrant, making sure not to burn it. Add the sauce mixture and enough water to get the consistency of ketchup.
Toss the now crisp tofu with the peanut sauce in a large bowl. Serve with the roasted vegetables and your favorite grains.
Crispy Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
For the tofu
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
- your grain of choice (rice, quinoa, cauli rice, etc)
For the vegetables
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 8 oz oyster mushrooms
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 3-4 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Drain the tofu, wrap the block in paper towels or a kitchen towel and place a heavy pot or cast iron pan on top to press out excess moisture
- Meanwhile, toss the broccoli and oyster mushrooms (or whatever vegetables you like) in olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Cube the tofu and toss liberally with oil
- Spread tofu and vegetables out on two sheet pans. Bake until vegetables are tender and tofu is browned and crispy.
- While the tofu and vegetables are cooking, prepare your grain according to package instructions.
- While grains are cooking, make the tofu sauce. Mix peanut butter, hoisin sauce and sambal oelek together.
- In a small saucepot, saute garlic and shallot until fragrant, about a minute. Add the sauce mixture and enough water, one tablespoon a time, to get a sauce the consistency of ketchup
- Toss the finished tofu in the sauce. Plate with your grains and vegetables.