Easy Marinated Tofu

This marinated tofu doesn’t even need to be cooked! Flavored with soy, sesame oil and ginger, this easy tofu recipe will be your new favorite. (It’s ours.)

Marinated tofu

Alex and I don’t eat a lot of tofu. But this marinated tofu: well, it’s special. It’s packed with savory umami: toasted sesame oil and ginger and garlic and soy sauce. There’s a touch of maple to balance, and it’s mixed with green onion and sesame seeds. Oh: and you don’t have to cook it! All you have to do is throw in the fridge to marinate: so it’s almost totally hands off. Normally we don’t evangelize tofu. But with this easy tofu recipe: we’re 1000% excited about it. You’ve got to try this one…we promise it’s a winner. Throw it in a bowl with quinoa, tahini sauce and some fresh veggies, and you’ve got a healthy lunch or dinner.

Marinaded tofu

How to make this easy marinated tofu recipe

Where did we get the idea for this marinated tofu recipe? Well, we actually had it at an airport. AN AIRPORT? Yes, I know, I can confidently say that this is the first and only recipe on A Couple Cooks that has ever been inspired by airport cuisine. HOWEVER. Alex and I were at Chicago Midway and we needed a healthy dinner fast. Somehow, Alex found some sushi and a box of marinated tofu. We were a little wary of it at first. But after the first bite, none of us could stop eating it: including Larson! It was seriously savory and satisfying, but tasted fresh and healthy at the same time.

This marinated tofu is the definition of easy: there are basically two steps. Press, and marinate. Why do you need to press tofu? Well there’s quite a bit of water in tofu, so in order to infuse it with flavor you’ll need to press it. However: we’ve developed a quick way to do it!

Easy marinaded tofu recipe

How to press tofu: fast!

Many tofu recipes require you to press tofu for about 1 hour to drain it before starting the recipe. This doesn’t really work with our life work flow, so we decided to research faster ways to press the water out of tofu. There’s actually a surprising trick for speeding up pressing tofu. The microwave!

Oddly enough, if you microwave tofu for 2 minutes, it extracts quite a bit of liquid. Then place the pieces on a dry towel, place a cutting board on top, and top it with a heavy object. The weight will extract more water, and it will be done after just 15 minutes.

Marinated tofu

How to marinade tofu

After pressing the tofu, all you have to do is marinade the tofu for 30 minutes. Marinading it is just letting it sit in a bowl with the marinade: you’ll just need to stir it once. The flavors are balanced with savory, sweet, tangy, and spicy: soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil, tangy rice vinegar, maple syrup and a touch of gochujang hot sauce for a hint of heat.

Throw that all together with some minced green onion and sesame seeds, and it’s SO flavorful, you won’t know what hit you. Like really. We served this marinated tofu to our 2 year old and he gobbled it all up! It’s truly magical.

Marinated tofu

Wait! It’s not cooked.

And that’s it! With this easy marinated tofu, you don’t cook it. This makes it 100% easier than any baked the method. Since it’s firm tofu and you’ve pressed all the water out of it, the tofu has a great texture. Of course, if you’d like to bake it you still can! You can pan fry it or bake it (we’d suggest our friend Ali’s method for baking it). But this easy marinated tofu recipe really doesn’t need to be cooked: it’s seriously flavorful without the fuss.

How to serve marinated tofu

This marinated tofu is so simple because it’s mostly hands off: there’s really only about 10 minutes of active time. This gives you ample time to prepare the rest of a meal. And because it can store refrigerated for up to 5 days, it’s perfect for lunches!

How would we serve this marinated tofu? We have a noodle bowl recipe coming soon that features it, or you could make it into a bowl meal bowl with quinoa and roasted brocolli….ok let’s just start a list! Try serving it with:

How would you serve it? Let us know in the comments below.

This marinaded tofu recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-based.

Print
Marinated tofu

Marinated Tofu


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This marinated tofu doesn’t even need to be cooked! Flavored with soy, sesame oil and ginger, this easy tofu recipe will be your new favorite. (It’s ours.)


Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces block of extra firm or firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion

Instructions

  1. Remove the tofu from the package and drain liquid. Cut tofu into half lengthwise and place it in a large bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; this helps to extract liquid.
  2. Drain off excess liquid released in the microwave. Place the two pieces on a towel; place another folded towel on top and add a cutting board and a heavy object. Allow to press for 15 minutes until the water is drained.
  3. Cut each square into 16 pieces, for 32 squares total. Place them all in the bowl with the marinade and stir very gently. Add marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, stirring gently halfway through. Stores refrigerated for 5 days.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Marinated
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Marinated tofu

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Sam
    September 4, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Would you leave the leftover tofu in the marinade when refrigerated or will the garlicky taste become too strong?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      September 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm

      Great question! You can leave leftovers in the marinade and the flavor won’t get too overpowering. Thanks for asking!

  • Reply
    Tanya
    September 8, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I forgot to pick up maple syrup from the store can u use honey?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 9, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Yes, but start without about 1/2 and add more to taste!

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