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Crispy Tofu with Coconut Quinoa and Broccolini

Crispy Tofu with Coconut Quinoa and Broccolini

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You know all those times you've made tofu at home and it was kind of...whatever? This is what you actually wanted to make. Crispy, craggy, and thoroughly coated in an addictive, peanut-y sauce, this tofu is so delicious that even the most stubborn carnivores won’t complain. The key to good pan-fried tofu is to make sure it’s as dry as possible before it goes into the hot oil, and to be patient—it can take time to develop the browning you’re after, but the payoff is huge.


  1. Tear 14 oz. tofu into 2" pieces (you should have about 20 total). Season with ½ tsp. salt. Let tofu dry on a triple layer of paper towels at least 10 minutes, or longer if possible (overnight works too). The drier the tofu, the crispier it will get!

  2. Rinse 1 cup raw quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. (This step is super-important. Although most quinoa is pre-rinsed, all quinoa has a natural coating called saponin, which makes it taste bitter if it’s not rinsed well.) Heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium (make sure it has a tight-fitting lid). Cook quinoa, stirring, until rinsing water evaporates, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 tsp. salt and 1¾ cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to as low as possible. Cover and cook 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit an additional 5 minutes.

  3. While quinoa is cooking, make the sauce and do some prep. Whisk 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 2 tsp. honey in a small bowl until incorporated (depending on your brand of peanut butter, the sauce may not be completely smooth). Coarsely chop ¾ cup roasted, salted peanuts. Cut tough stems off 1 bunch broccolini; discard. Cut tender stems and florets in half crosswise.

  4. Uncover pot and fluff quinoa with wooden spoon, allowing steam to escape and letting quinoa cool slightly, then add peanuts. Zest 1 lime with a Microplane right into pot of quinoa. Cut lime in half and squeeze in juice from one half over quinoa. Slice remaining half into wedges to serve alongside later.

  5. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium. Toast ¾ cup large unsweetened coconut flakes, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, 4–5 minutes. Add coconut, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, and ½ tsp. salt to pot with quinoa and toss to combine. Transfer quinoa mixture to a large bowl.

  6. Line a plate with a triple layer of paper towels. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium until shimmering. Cook tofu, turning occasionally with tongs, until deeply golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per side, 6–8 minutes total (some spots won’t get brown given the uneven nature of the pieces). Transfer tofu to prepared plate to drain.

  7. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook broccolini and remaining ¼ tsp. salt, tossing occasionally, until bright green and still crisp, 1–2 minutes. (If you ended up with a bunch of thick-stemmed broccolini this may take another few minutes.) Arrange over quinoa in bowl. Let pan cool 2 minutes (you’re going to reduce your sauce in this pan but don’t want it ripping hot or the sauce might seize up!).

  8. Pour sauce into skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and sticky-looking when you swirl the pan, 30–60 seconds.

  9. Remove from heat and return tofu to pan, tossing in sauce to evenly coat.

  10. Arrange broccolini and tofu over quinoa. Drizzle remaining sauce over. Serve with reserved lime wedges alongside.

Recipe by Lauren Schaefer

Related Video

Tofu with Coconut Quinoa

Reviews SectionThat was excellent! Next time I will dry my tofu overnight so it doesn't crackle so much in the pan, but I was impatient this time and didn't want to wait. I will definitely add this into my rotation! The flavors meld very well. I thought it was a great combination of sweet and salty, umami and sour. Brilliant!AnonymousMinnesota05/26/20This recipe is a staple in our house. I've made it maybe 10+ times and it's always delicious. The BEST way to prepare tofu, in my opinion. It does require some time and dirtying more dishes than I'd like, but it's worth it!AnonymousBrooklyn, NY05/21/20The sauce was so salty and tangy, it was impossible to eat thisThis recipe is wonderful! I've made it many times this year, and the tofu is delicious. For an easy dinner, I'll put the tofu and broccoli on brown rice, but the coconut quinoa is absolutely worth the effort. Both broccoli and broccolini work equally well. Like everyone else, I never have enough sauce left to drizzle, but the dish wouldn't need the extra sauce. In my experience, the quinoa does need to simmer slightly longer (at least 20 minutes) to absorb all the water.AnonymousLincoln, NE04/16/20This one wasn't a stand out to me. Too complicated for your average weeknight & not special enough to justify the fussiness. It wasn't a fail but also wasn't something I'll add to the regular rotation. That said, if you don't already have a few similar dishes in your repertoire, give this one a shot for sure. And I love the tofu tearing technique.DELICIOUS, would definitely cook again. This tofu frying technique is new to me but I'll definitely be using it in the future for other dishes too. Agreed with other reviewers that there doesn't quite seem to be enough of the peanut sauce to have any leftover to drizzle on top – but to me that wasn't too big a deal as the existing sauce recipe is already quite flavorful for a standard 14oz block of tofu. Yum, thanks BA!Made the recipe exactly as instructed and it turned out great. This is my new favorite way to prepare tofu - I love that you still get crispy tofu without having to do the usual method of putting something heavy on top and pressing it. I've now used the same tofu method in other recipes and it turns out perfect every time!AnonymousSeattle, WA03/28/20Great recipe! Our notes: 1) Definitely use smooth peanut butter 2) Double sauce. The recipe doesn't mention to divide sauce at the end for a drizzle 3) We don't love the texture of quinoa, so we incorporated some jasmine rice, which was perfect 4) Our store bought broccolini is only 6 oz., so we bought two. Will keep in the regular rotation of vegan goodness!AnonymousDUBLIN OH03/18/20Step 9 in your video shows much more sauce in the pan with the quinoa than what happened in step 8. You said to cook the sauce until reduced by half and sticky. Step 8 is how my sauce looked in my pan when adding the tofu. There was no remaining sauce left in the pan to drizzle over the dish. Did you perhaps add water in step 9 to make more sauce? In any case, I loved the tofu in the sauce. Next time I'll make more sauce.I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this! I'm not a huge quinoa fan, but this quinoa is delicious. Also, the sauce is so good it's worth making extra.Well, that was delicious! I didn't have quinoa, so I used brown rice based on another review. I also used veggie stock instead of water. Between the coconut, lime and peanuts... SO flavorful! My favorite part of the dish. The broccoli was simple, delicious, and bright green with some crunch. I loved the crispness of the tofu pieces, but ended up thinking the big flavor of the sauce overpowered the zesty loveliness of the rice. I might not top the dish with the extra sauce next time. Like others, added a little toasted coconut on top.kellyknick13Seattle01/14/20One of my favorite recipes I have ever made. Not a fan of the texture of coconut flakes so I leave those out but there is still a hint of coconut flavor from the oil. Also, I have used different vegetables (ex. green beans, asparagus, broccoli) and it has always turned out fantastic.AnonymousSeattle, WA12/27/19This is a bit labor intensive but once it's done I don't want to stop eating it. This is the only way I have ever managed to fry tofu that doesn't stick all over the pan and make a giant mess and the sauce is so perfect. I am happy to work for this result!AnonymousIndiana, USA11/19/19This is hands down the best recipe I have ever made. I've cooked this three times so far and somehow it gets even better every iteration. I agree with others, it is pretty involved but totally worth it. I double up on the broccolini just because it adds so much brightness and tang. When I made it last night, I added a few healthy squirts of sriracha into the sauce and that was definitely the right move. Also, leaving the tofu out to dry overnight if you have time helps cut down on the effort on cooking day and yields a crispier tofu. All in all, this sh*t's delicious.What a treat! This dish was delicious and satisfying. I will certainly make again - steps in the recipe were perfect and efficient. I may cut the salt a little, but otherwise wouldn't change a thing.JanineCrabAnchorage, Alaska09/13/19This recipe was so flavorful and nutritious. The thing that would deter me from making this constantly was the amount of time involved. I cook pretty consistently, but it took me just under 2 hours to make.sarahroessnerOntario,Canada08/23/19I have been cooking, eating, and loving tofu for over twenty years and this method is an absolute game changer. Definitely try it with the maple-soy sauce linked in the original method article.Super delish recipe. Made it for the first time, kinda overdid the sauce I think but even my boyfriend really enjoyed it - I did tell him it was healthy pad Thai but whatever, he ate it all! Will totally make this again!LeahBonaduceGaribaldi, Oregon 06/26/19Exceptional recipe! Would not change a thing. Followed all measurements and the flavours are beautifully balanced. Used broccoli instead of broccolini and red quinoa and they turned out really well. Would definitely make this again soon.AnonymousAuckland, New Zealand06/22/19Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Took a bit longer than expected, but it was all worth it. I swapped tamari for soy sauce and cut the salt portions in half. I loved all the different textures, but I think this recipe calls for far too many peanuts. I would cut the peanut portion in half next time. Great, flavorful vegetarian dish!AnonymousNew York, NY05/01/19Delicious! Really well thought out and full of interesting flavours, but not really as complicated as it first seems. Follow the directions in order, it’s written in a smart way that makes sure you’re using time wisely. Don’t miss the lime, it brightens everything up a lot! I’d definitely add some thinly sliced red chiles next time and save some of the toasted coconut to sprinkle on top for some crunch. The quinoa alone would be a great side for some grilled salmon, and other greens would work in this too, like Brussels sprouts or asparagus.twinpeaksThe Great Northern04/29/19Can’t believe how much me and my partner loved this recipe! None of us is neither a tofu nor a peanut butter lover but the all the flavours here were just amazing! Also will definitely be using this tofu technique in other recipes from now on.AnonymousAustralia 04/11/19This recipe made quinoa delicious. I made with broccoli that I had steamed for a couple of minutes and cut way back on the final addition of coconut oil. The tofu took a while to brown, in fact it took me a full hour to cook this recipe, but it was delicious - my kind of dish! The sauce was good but I added red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.tall_blonde76West tn04/03/19Absolutely delicious! As other reviews have noted, the recipe is naturally quite salty so I would recommend using unsalted peanuts in the tofu sauce.AnonymousBrooklyn 04/02/19This was absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly, apart from substituting regular broccoli for broccolini (just cooked it a little longer and cut pieces relatively thin). The quinoa with coconut/peanut/lime on its own is delectable. I know everyone thinks there is too much salt but as a salt lover, I thought it was PERFECT. Will certainly make again.AnonymousCambridge, MA03/25/19

Crispy tofu with peanut noodles and broccolini

Let it dry on a triple layer of paper towels for 10 minutes before cooking. Make sure it's not crowded on the pan.

Cornstarch is a great way to crisp up tofu! I usually press the tofu before coating it

Bake it instead of frying! Here's what I like to do:

I use a tofu press for about 30 minutes to an hour, and then remove the tofu and dry it with a paper towel to soak up extra liquid.

Then cut the tofu up into pieces (can be however big you want) and move to a medium sized bowl. I then start to flavor the tofu with whatever I'm feeling like, or based off of the recipe I'm making. My favorite is soy sauce, grain mustard, sriracha, and a dash of liquid smoke. While I'm adding these I'll mix the tofu around to make sure it soaks everything up. You want enough of these to add a lot of flavor, but not so much that you have a bunch of extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl.

After I've let it sit for a few minutes to soak everything up, I go back in with nutritional yeast, and then cornstarch. From there it goes onto a baking sheet and into the oven at 425. I don't usually set a timer for this, I just check the tofu after about 15 minutes, and then every few minutes after. Pull it when it's nice and crispy on all sides, and that's it! Let it cool for a few minutes, and it's good to go for whatever you're making.

Crispy Tofu Bowl with Broccolini, Edamame and Peanut Sauce

If you can’t find broccolini at your grocer, you can still make this healthy bowl for a meatless Monday dinner. Just turn to either of the two vegetables—broccoli or Chinese broccoli—that went into creating the popular brassica hybrid, trimming them so you have small florets on slender stems.

Crispy Tofu Bowl with Broccolini, Edamame and Peanut Sauce


For the peanut sauce:

  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) smooth peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

For the bowl:

  • 2 lb. firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. broccolini, bottoms trimmed
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • Steamed white rice, for serving
  • 2 green onions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed

1. To make the peanut sauce, in a small bowl, mix together the ginger, garlic and peanut butter. Stir in the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Stir in enough water to reach a pourable consistency. Set aside.

2. Drain the tofu, wrap it in paper towels, place a heavy plate on top and let stand for 10 minutes to press out the excess liquid. Cut the tofu into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes.

3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Working in batches if needed, add the tofu cubes and cook until crispy and golden on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.

4. In the same pan over medium-high heat, cook the shallots and broccolini, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until all the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the edamame and soy sauce and cook until the edamame are warmed through, about 1 minute.

5. Divide the rice among 4 bowls and top with the tofu and vegetables. Drizzle with the peanut sauce, garnish with the green onions and peanuts, and serve. Serves 4.

Find more fresh and satisfying recipes for meals that pack a lot of punch in a single bowl in our One Bowl Meals , by Brigit Binns.

How to Cook Basil Tofu

This Thai tofu is coated in tapioca starch to help it crisp up when you cook it. If you don’t have tapioca starch you can use cornstarch (I recommend organic if you can find it) or even regular white flour. Just add a pinch of salt and pepper to bring out the flavor.

Besides the tapioca starch this Thai basil tofu recipe requires a light frying to achieve optimal crispiness.

You know your Thai tofu is ready for cooking when the oil simmers in the pan when you add a splash of water. At this point you can add your tofu and use tongs to flip the tofu occasionally until each piece is crispy and brown all over.

Crispy broccoli caesar salad fixings

Aside from the broccoli and the bread crumbs, I used traditional fixings for this Caesar. The dressing is my Caesar dressing from Power Plates. I love it so much that I don’t even bother testing out new vegan Caesar dressings anymore. You may have a little leftover once you finish making the salad. This isn’t a problem, I promise! The dressing is terrific on most salads and grain bowls, and it’ll keep for up to five days in the fridge.

I also folded vegan parmesan right into the salad, rather than using it as a garnish. My walnut herb parmesan and hemp parmesan are my go-tos, but there are a lot of store-bought vegan parmesans that I like as well. One is Parma, which tastes similar to my homemade versions. For more cheese-like parmesan, I’m a fan of the Follow Your Heart parmesan and Violife parmesan.

Lekka’s Caesar uses nori in the dressing. I included seaweed as an optional addition to this broccoli Caesar. It can be nori flakes or crumbled nori sheets, kelp granules or dulse flakes. All will help to replace the subtle but distinctive flavor of anchovy that’s usually present in a Caesar salad.

If you don’t have seaweed, though, don’t worry. A combination of nutritional yeast in the Caesar dressing, vegan parmesan, and capers create a lot of umami in this salad, and it’s very flavorful as it is. Anything you’d like to add to the base recipe is simply a way of making it even more vibrant and complex.

Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 128.0
  • Total Fat 7.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  • Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • Sodium 0.0 mg
  • Potassium 0.0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 11.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
  • Sugars 0.0 g
  • Protein 6.0 g
  • Vitamin A 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 0.0 %
  • Vitamin C 0.0 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 0.0 %
  • Calcium 0.0 %
  • Copper 0.0 %
  • Folate 0.0 %
  • Iron 0.0 %
  • Magnesium 0.0 %
  • Manganese 0.0 %
  • Niacin 0.0 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %
  • Phosphorus 0.0 %
  • Riboflavin 0.0 %
  • Selenium 0.0 %
  • Thiamin 0.0 %
  • Zinc 0.0 %

Coconut Crusted Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce

By this point in the winter I think we've all reached our quota of soups and casseroles. I love a good three-bean chili as much as the next gal, but variety is the spice of life.

I want to eat something that will remind me of summer. Are you counting down the days like I am? Cold weather and I are not friends. Send in the food reinforcements!

Have you ever seen those Red Lobster commercials – you know, the ones for their “endless shrimp” special? They’re kind of hard to miss. Anyway, while I can think of about a million things I’d rather eat than an endless supply of cute little crustaceans, I was intrigued by their idea of tossing protein in flaky coconut and frying it to crispy perfection.

I absolutely adore tofu for its ability to take on the flavor and texture of anything you could dream of. Plus, it's a great source of plant protein.

What better way to make this tropical dish vegan than with tofu, and what better time to do it than now – when we’re all freezing our buns off waiting for the first signs of spring? I love any excuse to experiment with fun flavors and cooking techniques, so I wasted no time testing my idea.

Complete with a savory marinade and a sweet and spicy coconut cream sauce, this satisfying main tastes just like a beach vacation. And couldn’t we all use one of those right about now?

I'm not typically one to indulge in fried foods, but this Coconut Crusted Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce is too good to pass up. My trick: I keep my portion size small and load the rest of my plate with veggies. I love roasted broccoli or grilled zucchini as a side. A massaged kale salad would be nice, too.

To make it a heartier meal, serve everything over a bed of cooked brown rice or quinoa. Now that I think of it, the Pineapple Fried Rice from Frugal Vegan (our cookbook) would taste amaaaaazing with this dish. Drooling.

If you’re seeking relief from this never-ending winter, treat your taste buds to the tropical flavors of coconut and pineapple, cut with a sweet and (not too) spicy chili sauce.

Spring is just around the corner, and this is just the dish to tide you over until the sun comes out to thaw your frozen bones. I suggest pairing the tofu with our Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts and a frosty piña colada for the ultimate experience.

Crispy Tofu with Coconut Quinoa and Broccolini - Recipes

Fried Tofu w/ Spicy Ginger-Sesame Sauce & Broccolini
tofu adapted from Food & Wine, December 2010 serves 2

time commitment: 30 minutes

2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 T sugar
1 T crushed red pepper, divided
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
1/2 T toasted sesame oil
2 t finely grated fresh ginger
1 t toasted sesame seeds
One 14-ounce container firm tofu
Canola oil, for frying, plus 1 T for broccolini
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini
1/2 c uncooked jasmine rice

In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the sugar, 2 t red pepper, garlic, sesame oil, ginger and sesame seeds.

Slice the tofu into 1-2" strips. Dry the tofu with paper towels, pressing until no moisture remains.

Cook rice according to package directions and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Spoon the sauce over the fried tofu and sprinkle with the scallion. Meanwhile, heat 1 T oil in a smaller skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add broccolini and remaining teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Saute for

3-4 minutes.

Serve tofu and sauce with broccolini and steamed rice.

How to Drain Tofu

Organic tofu can be found in the refrigerator section stored in containers with liquid that keeps it fresh.

Before cooking, the firm and extra firm tofu needs to be drained of the liquid absorbed while waiting for you to come along and purchase it. Silken or soft tofu doesn’t require draining.

Here’s my easy trick to draining and pressing the water from tofu:

  • Place a folded piece of paper towel on a plate or cutting board, top with the block of tofu, and cover with another folded paper towel.
  • Place a cutting board weighed with something heavy like an extra large can of food, a book, or heavy skillet.
  • Let the tofu sit and drain for about 10 minutes, swapping out for new paper towels half way through.

General Tso Tofu (Crispy Tofu without Deep Frying)

Learn how to make extra crispy tofu with the minimum amount of oil and time without deep frying, plus the best General Tso sauce!

fried tofu is one of the best ways to replace meat and create scrumptious vegetarian dishes. If you walk down the aisle of a Chinese supermarket or a good Asian grocery store in the US, you’ll see numerous soybean products lined up on the shelves, almost as many as the cereal brands in the US. Even for fried tofu, there are different types such as “mock chicken” and “mock duck”. These tofu products are pre-seasoned, which adds tons of flavor to a vegetarian dish.

Tofu products in Ranch 99 Houston Branch

Living in Austin Texas, tofu products have become a luxury. I rarely see the variety in the Asian market, besides normal tofu. So, I started to experiment with fresh tofu and managed to find a great way to create crispy tofu that is just as good as fried tofu! It tastes so great even served by itself, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. With a simple stir fry sauce, the crispy tofu will make an amazing vegetarian stir fried dish by replacing the meat in the dish.

Sweet and Sour Tofu recipe to make crispy tofu without the cornstarch coating.

Chinese orange sauce. You can use this sauce and the crispy tofu to cook a vegetarian version of orange chicken.

If you like this General Tso sauce, check out this blog post of how to make the sauce in bulk. In that post I list all the options of vegetables that you can use with the General Tso sauce.

Not only you can change up the vegetables when you serve General Tso tofu, but you can even use the sauce to make roast vegetables.

For example, to make General Tso’s cauliflower, you can roast cauliflower in the oven and then use the sauce in this recipe to finish the dish. Check out this post to learn how. I even include a method to roast crispy frozen cauliflower, which gets dinner ready in no time!


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