For an easy weeknight dinner, look no further than this sheet pan garlic sesame tofu recipe with vegetables! It’s so easy to make, requires only 10 minutes of prep time, and will make enough for lunch tomorrow! Plus, it’s completely gluten free, dairy free, and egg free!
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It’s no secret around here that I’m a big, ok huge fan of sesame anything. Sesame noodles, chickpeas, cauliflower, now sesame tofu?! Sesame salmon is next on my list but I’m always open to suggestions!
I’ve been loving this sheet pan dinner for a while because it is SO easy to make and more or less requires throwing a bunch of stuff on a pan and calling it quits.
Easy dinners are my favorite kind of dinners. Easy dinners that are insanely flavor are the absolute best. This sheet pan tofu recipe is exactly that and I cannot wait for you to try it!
How to make this recipe
I’ll admit, I totally understand why some people are so turned off by tofu. It doesn’t look all that great straight out of the package, and without any sauce, it doesn’t have much of a flavor.
However, (and a big however!), if you know how to cook tofu properly, (don’t worry, I’ll teach you) then you can make it taste seriously delicious. Crispy, flavorful, easy to make, high in protein… basically everything you could ever want.
The key to baking tofu is to bake it PLAIN and with some sort of flour or starch. Baking it without any sauce ensures the tofu on its own is able to crisp up and without burning the sauce.
The flour/starch works to absorb any excess moisture to give us a super crispy exterior and soft interior.
To bake tofu (so it actually tastes good), the first step is to preheat the oven. I’m sure you could’ve guess that one!
The second step is to cut a slit in the side of the tofu container and drain out all of the excess liquid. Remove the tofu from the package and wrap it in a towel just to get off as much liquid as possible without having to press the tofu.
Once it seems dry, cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. You can cut it bigger or smaller, but 1 inch is great to get the crispy outside and soft inside.
Once the tofu is cubed, add it to a large bowl and toss with corn starch or a neutral flour like all purpose flour. I like to just shake the bowl so the tofu doesn’t break (sometimes it breaks if you use a spoon) and toss until every piece is well coated.
Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (along with the chopped veggies), and try to ensure none of the tofu pieces touch each other. I know that seems annoying, but the space between really helps it get crispy.
The starch can get gooey sometimes, but with space between each piece, it crisps up without getting sticky or gooey.
Add the tofu to the oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. While the tofu is baking, we’ll prepare the sauce on the stove. Once the sauce and tofu are done, toss both together until well coated and enjoy!
It may seem like a lot of steps, but baking the perfect sesame tofu really only takes 5 or so minutes of prep time.
Do you need to press it?
Yes and no. You can absolutely get away with not pressing the tofu for this recipe. I don’t list it in the instructions because this recipe turns out really well without any pressing. Plus, it saves a lot of time!
Tofu is basically a sponge that sits in water and absorbs all of it. Pressing out the excess water does help make it more crispy and ensures it cooks evenly through the center.
If you’re trying to get flavors into the tofu, you do want to press it. In the case of this sesame tofu, we’re trying to get a crispy outside so the sauce will stick on the outside, so pressing isn’t necessary.
Moral of the story, nothing bad will happen if you don’t press tofu, but if you want the crispiest and most flavorful tofu around, press away!
Tips, tricks and notes
- Both the tofu and the sesame sauce require some sort of thickening agent. I generally recommend corn starch, arrowroot starch or tapioca starch since these help thicken the quickest, but all purpose flour will also work.
- Once prepared, this tofu recipe will keep in the fridge for 3 days. They are best served fresh, but you can pop everything back in the oven at 200 for 10 minutes to crisp it back up. The microwave also works, but tends to make things a bit soft/soggy.
- After you prepare the sauce, you can toss it with both the veggies and the tofu, or just the tofu. I tend to do just the tofu to make it super flavorful and reserve a bit of the sauce to drizzle over the rice and vegetables. Anything goes!
- Feel free to use any other veggies for this recipe. Chopped carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts work really well.
- Be sure to use toasted sesame oil for this recipe. Regular sesame oil does not have the same flavor and won’t yield a great result.
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Sheet Pan Garlic Sesame Tofu and Vegetables
- 1 small head broccoli
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1/3 cup corn starch (arrowroot powder or tapioca starch)
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Chop the broccoli, onion and peppers and add to a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle with the 1 tbsp of oil.
- Drain the excess liquid from the tofu and dry it off with a towel*.
- Cut into 1 inch cubes and add to a large bowl.
- Toss with the cornstarch or arrowroot powder until all pieces are evenly coated.
- Add to the baking tray and bake for 35 minutes.
- During the final 10 minutes, prep the sauce.
- Mince the garlic and saute with 1 tbsp neutral oil in a small saute pan for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Add in the soy sauce, honey or maple syrup, and sesame oil.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a bowl and add to the pan.
- Heat over low heat for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
- When the tofu and vegetables are done, toss the tofu with the sauce. Serve over rice or enjoy as is!