Baked Peanut Tofu

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Baked tofu is coated with a deeply savory and rich southeast Asian-inspired peanut sauce, then briefly baked until the sauce caramelizes on to the tofu and is outrageously delicious. Round out the meal with blanched vegetables, rice, and more peanut sauce for a complete dinner!
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Total 55 minutes
5 from 37 votes

If you love peanut sauce and tofu, then you will go crazy for this baked peanut tofu!

Tofu is baked simply until lightly crisp, then tossed with an umami rich, sweet-and-sour peanut sauce, then baked again until the sauce caramelizes and the tofu becomes outrageously delicious. 

Pair the tofu with blanched broccolini and edamame alongside rice for a balanced and fresh yet indulgent meal the whole family will love!

Table of Contents
1. Why you’ll love this recipe
2. Ingredient notes
3. Tips for making this recipe
4. Frequently Asked Questions

Why you’ll love this recipe 

Tofu gets a FUN makeover.  

I’m a big believer that cooking tofu should be fun. If you’ve tried my Braised Tofu, Greek-Style Vegan Feta, Tofu Stir Fry, or Tofu Tikka Masala, you already know that 🙂

And this recipe makes tofu the fun star it can and should be. Serve it to your tofu-skeptical friends, partners, and kids, and I promise they’ll see tofu in a new light. 

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A serious flavor bomb

I’m not exaggerating when I say this peanut sauce is a flavor bomb! It’s inspired by peanut sauces you’ll find in certain Indonesian and Thai dishes, and I promise you’ll want to add this to your favorites collection. 

Peanut butter forms the creamy, nutty base, while a few pantry staples bring the big flavor: a generous amount of soy sauce adds a rich savory flavor, tamarind paste adds the most delightful tang, coconut sugar adds the requisite sweetness to balance, and sambal oelek adds a slightly spicy kick

Lime zest adds its characteristic citrusy freshness, while fresh garlic adds a, well, garlicky punch. One taste of this stuff and you’ll be hooked! 

Indulgent but wholesome 

This dish tastes almost decadent thanks to the rich peanut sauce, but the main ingredients are nutritious plant-based staples: tofu, peanut butter, edamame, brown rice, and broccolini

Bonus: this seriously tasty peanut sauce gets used in two ways. First, it coats the tofu before hitting the oven. The peanut sauce clings and almost caramelizes onto the tofu in the oven. 

And while that’s baking, you’ll thin out the rest of the peanut sauce with some water. Drizzle that over the entire meal to finish so you get that incredible sweet-savory-spicy flavor in every bite.

baked peanut tofu with broccolini and edamame on top of brown rice on a ceramic plate.

Ingredient Notes 

Extra-Firm Tofu 

Obvi! This recipe first bakes the tofu simply (with olive oil, salt, and potato starch). It’s basically the same method I use in my Simple Baked Tofu, but the tofu bakes for a shorter period of time before being tossed with the peanut sauce.

Potato starch yields the best texture for baked tofu, but you can also easily use arrowroot powder. 

Peanut Butter

Smooth, creamy peanut butter with no added sugars or oils is best here. If your peanut butter is salted, start with just 1 tablespoon of tamari/soy sauce and add more to taste. 

Substitutes: Peanut allergy? You can use almond butter with great results. If you’re allergic to all nuts, you can try sunflower seed butter, but most varieties have added sugar, start with just 2 teaspoons of sugar, then taste and adjust as needed. 

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate adds a distinctly tart, tangy, and very slightly sweet flavor that is so wonderfully unique and hard to describe. 

Tamarind is a tropical pod fruit that’s used in many cuisines, including South Asian (particularly South Indian cuisine), Southeast Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean cuisines.

The whole fruit is a bit time consuming to turn the fruit in the pods into a paste, but tamarind paste or concentrate makes it easy to get that delicious flavor.

Where to buy: Buy tamarind paste/concentrate at South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Latin grocery stores, as well as stores like Whole Foods or online

Substitute: Can’t get tamarind? Use freshly squeezed lime juice from the lime you zested instead. The sauce will still be delicious. 

Soy Sauce 

A generous amount of soy sauce brings an addictive depth of savoriness to this sauce.

Tip: Gluten-free? Use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (the rest of this recipe is gluten-free). 

Sambal Oelek (Chili Sauce)

You may have seen a jar of sambal oelek without even realizing it. This Indonesian chili sauce is made with just chiles, salt, and vinegar, and the brand you’ll see most commonly in the states is Huy Fong (with the green lid). 

Huy Fong also sells a similar Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce (the main difference is that it has garlic). Either of these sauces works great, but if you are using a sweeter hot sauce like sriracha, go easy on the sugar. 

Broccolini and Edamame

While the tofu bakes, you’ll blanch some broccolini and edamame to round out the meal. When they’re done boiling, simply dip them in an ice bath (a large bowl of ice water) to stop them from overcooking and to preserve their bright green color. 

To finish, toss with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and salt. They don’t need much flavor since they’ll be paired with the flavor-heavy peanut sauce.

If you can’t find broccolini, feel free to use regular broccoli (about 14 ounces or 400g), cut into medium-sized florets.

crispy baked tofu cubes on a green sheet pan.
the baked tofu before getting tossed with peanut sauce.

Tips for making this recipe 

Make a double batch of the peanut sauce. 

Trust me when I say this peanut sauce is so good that you’ll want to double batch it. It’ll stay good in the fridge for about 1 week. 

You can use leftover peanut sauce to make another batch of baked peanut tofu, or to make this incredible Noodle Salad with Rainbow Veggies. You can also pair it with summer rolls or lettuce wraps, or use it as a dressing for a tempeh salad (thin the sauce out with water first). 

Seek out tamarind paste if you can. 

Tamarind paste helps set this peanut sauce apart and a step above the rest. Its exquisite tangy flavor can’t be replicated, and it’s such a fun ingredient to explore. 

Try using leftovers in an Indian chutney like this, try adding a bit to an Indian curry instead of lemon/lime juice (start slowly), use it in pad Thai, or add a spoon to BBQ sauce for a fun twist. 

For my favorite easy hack, drizzle tamarind paste over a vegan yogurt sauce (flavored with lemon juice, salt and garlic); schmear it on a plate and use as a topping for virtually any Indian-inspired meal for a cooling-tangy-sweet finish.  

Multitask 

To make this meal the most efficiently, you will need to multitask. Follow these instructions for the best use of your time. 

For instance, while the tofu is pressing, you can make your peanut sauce and trim the broccolini. 

Then, put on a large pot of water to boil and start cooking your rice using your preferred cooking method. 

While the tofu bakes during its first round (with just oil, salt, and potato starch), you can boil the broccolini and edamame, transfer them to the ice bath, dry off, and toss them with toasted sesame oil and salt.

After 20 minutes in the oven, remove the tofu and toss it with the peanut sauce. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. During that time, thin out the remaining peanut sauce with a bit of water until drizzleable. And chop the garnishes: cilantro and roasted cashews. 

When the baked peanut tofu is done, everything is ready to assemble! 

Serve however you like

Feel free to swap the broccolini for green beans or snap peas, or serve over noodles instead of rice. Or, keep things simple and serve the baked peanut tofu on top of leftover rice, grate or shred a carrot on top, and squeeze with lime juice. 

Make it more weeknight friendly 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

I have a peanut/nut allergy. What can I use besides peanut butter?

You can use almond butter with great results. If you are allergic to all nuts, you can try sunflower seed butter, but most varieties have added sugar, start with just 2 teaspoons of sugar, then taste and adjust as needed. 

If allergic to all nuts, omit the cashews as a garnish entirely, or replace with 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds.

Can I use more edamame?

This recipe calls for 6 ounces of edamame (half the amount in a standard bag of frozen shelled edamame), which feels like the right amount to me. You can store the remaining half of the edamame in its bag in the freezer.

But if you are looking to stretch out the meal further or have heartier appetites to feed, feel free to use the full bag of edamame (12 ounces of 340g). 

How should I store and reheat leftovers?

Store the broccolini and edamame mixture in a separate container if you can, for up to 4 days. Stir the peanut tofu separately in the fridge for about 4 days as well. 

Reheat tofu in a nonstick frying pan with a touch of oil until warmed through, or serve at room temperature. Reheat the broccolini and edamame in the microwave, covered (or in a frying pan).

Before serving, top the dish with freshly chopped cilantro and nuts and a squeeze of lime juice. 

If you love this Baked Peanut Tofu, please be sure to leave a rating and review below! And tag me on Instagram – I love seeing your remakes!

Baked Peanut Tofu

5 from 37 votes
Baked tofu is coated with a deeply savory and rich southeast Asian-inspired peanut sauce, then briefly baked until the sauce caramelizes on to the tofu and is outrageously delicious. Round out the meal with blanched vegetables, rice, and more peanut sauce for a complete dinner!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southeast Asian-inspired
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 1 (~14 oz/400g) block of extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 ½ tablespoons neutral-flavored oil or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Peanut Sauce

  • ¼ cup (56g) creamy peanut butter (preferably unsalted) (see Note 1)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, grated or crushed with a press
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate (see Note 2)
  • 1 large lime zested
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (25g) tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sambal oelek or chili-garlic sauce (see Note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) coconut sugar (or organic cane/brown sugar; see Note 4)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon

Veggies

  • 2 to 3 bunches broccolini (~14 oz / 400g) , thick ends trimmed (see Note 5)
  • 6 ounces (170g) shelled edamame
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

For serving

  • 3 to 4 cups 450 to 600g cooked rice (brown or white)
  • cup (45g) roasted cashews (or peanuts) (see Note 6)
  • 1 big handful (14g) cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • A few squeezes of lime juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Prep the tofu. Slice the block of tofu lengthwise into four slabs; wrap them in a thin dish towel, then weigh them down with your heaviest cookbook(s). Press for 10 to 15 minutes (no more than 15 min). Alternatively, use a tofu press if you have one (but don’t slice the tofu into slabs first).
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil for the broccolini and edamame.
  • While the tofu presses, make the Peanut Sauce. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, garlic, tamarind, lime zest, tamari or soy sauce, chili sauce, sugar, coriander, and cinnamon. Whisk well to combine.
    Taste and adjust to your preference, adding more tamari for extra savory saltiness, more sugar for sweetness, more tamarind or lime juice for tang, or more chili sauce for heat.
  • Bake the tofu. Slice tofu into ½” to ¾” (~1.5 cm) cubes. In a large bowl, combine tofu with 1 ½ tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste, tossing to coat with a silicone spatula. Add the potato starch and gently toss to coat. Spread tofu out on the lined pan so they don’t touch. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
    Wipe out the large bowl and fill it up with ice and cold water (for an ice bath).
  • Blanch the veggies. Once the water is boiling, add a generous tablespoon of kosher salt, followed by the broccolini and edamame. Partially cover to help bring back to a boil, and cook for about 3 minutes, until broccolini is crisp tender with a bite. Drain in a colander, then transfer to the ice bath to chill.
    Drain and dry the veggies well with a towel. Transfer back to the large bowl and season with a few pinches of salt and drizzle with the toasted sesame oil. Toss, and set aside.
  • Make the peanut tofu. After 20 minutes in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350ºF / 175ºC. Transfer baked tofu and half of the Peanut Sauce (¼ cup or ~70g) to a bowl. Toss with a silicone spatula to coat, then sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
    Spread the tofu out on the lined pan. Bake at 350ºF / 175ºC for 10 minutes, until the peanut sauce has dried out a bit.
  • While the peanut tofu bakes, prep the serving ingredients. Whisk a few teaspoons of water into the remaining half of the Peanut Sauce until pourable. Roughly chop the cashews (or peanuts) and chop the cilantro. Reheat your rice, as needed.
  • Assemble. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top of the warm baked peanut tofu. Divide cooked rice between four bowls. Top with broccolini & edamame, then drizzle some Peanut Sauce on top of each. Top with baked peanut tofu, cilantro, and chopped nuts. Spoon more Peanut Sauce on top.

Notes

  1. If you have salted peanut butter, start with 1 tablespoon of tamari and add more as needed. Peanut allergy? Use almond butter. Nut allergy? Use sunflower seed butter.
  2. If you don’t have tamarind paste, juice the lime after zesting it, and use 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice (or to taste).
  3. Use less chili sauce as needed. If you need to sub with sriracha, use less sugar.
  4. If your nut/seed butter contains sugar, start with just 2 teaspoons of sugar, then taste and adjust as needed.
  5. If any broccolini stems are very thick, slice the spears in half, lengthwise. If desired, slice the stems crosswise into 3” to 4” (7.5 to 10 cm) pieces (for more bite-sized pieces). If using regular broccoli, cut into-medium sized florets.
  6. Nut allergy? Omit the nut topping (or use 2 TBSP roasted sesame seeds).

Calories: 575kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 25.25g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4.75g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17.75g | Sodium: 985mg | Potassium: 1062mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 717IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 6mg

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52 comments on Baked Peanut Tofu

  1. Janet

    5 stars
    Another phenomenal recipe, Nisha! I followed it exactly, except I didn’t have tamarind paste. Next time I will double the baked tofu and peanut sauce. My 6 and 9 year old kids gobbled up the tofu and enjoyed the sauce with the veggies and brown rice. They also requested it for their school lunch tomorrow. I love how diverse and flavorful your recipes are. I can’t wait for Big Vegan Flavor!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the amazing feedback, Janet. I need to try this recipe myself soon- you’ve sold me!

      We also can’t wait for you to get your hands on the cookbook… everyone’s dying in anticipation! :)

  2. Kris

    5 stars
    I love this way of baking the tofu! So crispy!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Kris, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  3. Peanut

    Will the peanut sauce on it’s own keep for longer than 4 days? Minus the raw garlic, I forgot to add.

    1. Nisha

      Yes, it will keep for a minimum of 5 days, possibly up to 7 days.

  4. Carol

    5 stars
    I used this sauce on soy curls, delicious!
    The substitutions I used were the suggested almond butter, sriracha, and instead of sugar and tamarind I used a tamarind date paste that I had on hand.

    I really love the addition of cinnamon in your recipe. It takes peanut sauce on a journey I haven’t been on before. Kid-approved also! Thank you.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Carol! It makes us happy to know that everyone enjoyed the recipe.

  5. Snehalata More

    Mine turned out to be a bit dry.I’ll double down on the sauce next time

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sorry to hear that, Snehalata. Hopefully you are able to tailor it perfectly to your liking next time!

  6. Wei Ann Bay

    5 stars
    Another successful recipe! Love the baked tofu method.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Wei Ann. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  7. Anita C

    5 stars
    Amazing!
    Sliced the tofu instead of cubing it and cooked as per recipe. Used in rice paper rolls and the leftover sauce as dipping sauce.
    Will be making again soon – next time will double the peanut sauce recipe as it’s so good!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Anita! That sounds like a great meal you had there!

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