With this simple yet delicious smoked tofu recipe, you can easily add smoky flavor to your meals. It's an oil-free, protein-packed, flavorful tofu recipe that will elevate your dishes and impress your taste buds, from sandwiches to grain bowls.
You've arrived at the ultimate destination if you're seeking the perfect fusion of smoky goodness and plant-based protein. No need to buy smoked tofu ever again!
This delightful recipe surpasses the store-bought versions in taste and is remarkably simple to prepare. It offers versatility, allowing you to cook it in the oven, air fryer, or skillet.
Another great thing about this recipe is you get all the flavor of smoked tofu without breaking out the smoker.
The secret? This recipe uses liquid smoke, a condiment derived from wood chips or sawdust smoke. Captured and condensed into a liquid form, it creates a delicious smoke flavor in dishes, eliminating the need for traditional smoking equipment or processes.
Health Benefits of Tofu
As a soy-based product, tofu is a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Here are some of its highlights:
Tofu offers a range of health benefits:
Heart-friendly due to low saturated fat and no cholesterol.
Supports bone health with calcium and phosphorus.
Aids weight management with low calories and high protein.
It may help regulate hormones due to phytoestrogens.
Promotes digestive health with dietary fiber.
Contains antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium.
Linked to reduced risk of certain cancers.
Suitable for blood sugar control with a low glycemic index.
Easily digestible and gentle on the stomach.
The ingredients are simple and easy to find at any grocery store.
extra firm tofu
- Super-firm tofu will not absorb as much of the marinade as extra-firm or firm.
- A vinegar like rice wine or apple cider works well in this recipe.
- Substitute Tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos to make this gluten-free.
- If you don't have maple syrup, substitute it with agave.
- Liquid smoke can be easily found in all major grocery stores in the barbeque aisle. It is a great staple in the kitchen since it adds a wonderful smoky flavor to dishes without using an open flame. It can be used on vegetables, sauces, and in these great recipes - Best Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce and High Protein Lupini Seitan.
Making smoked tofu at home is easy!
Prepare tofu: Drain any excess liquid from the tofu block by wrapping it in a kitchen towel or paper towel and gently pressing it between two heavy plates to remove the excess moisture. Or use a tofu press like the one pictured above.
Marinate ingredients: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika (if using). Mix well to create the marinade.
Cut the tofu into thin slices or cubes, depending on your preference. The thinner, the more the edges can become crispy, especially in the air fryer. But bring your patience because slicing tofu into thin even slices takes a steady hand, so you don't end up with broken misshapen pieces. Having a sharp knife helps, too.
Place all the sliced tofu pieces in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade and gently toss to coat them evenly. Let the tofu marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, allowing it to absorb the flavors. I prefer to marinate it in the fridge overnight so the tofu gets the ultimate flavor absorption.
Preheat your oven or air fryer to 400° F (200°C) when ready to bake. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and place the marinated tofu on it, spreading it out in a single layer. Important Note: Save some marinade for after the next step.
Cooking time: Bake the tofu in the oven for 30 minutes or 8-10 minutes in the air-fryer. If using the oven, flip the tofu slices or cubes halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking and browning on all sides.
After flipping, you can add the leftover marinade. Continue baking for the remaining time or until golden brown.
Remove the smoked tofu from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Smoked tofu can elevate any dish to a new level of flavor. Here are a few ideas.
Salad - Create a refreshing and nutritious salad by pairing your smoked tofu with a medley of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and avocado. Drizzle with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette or a creamy tahini dressing for complementary flavors. The smokiness of the tofu will add depth to this colorful salad.
Smoked Tofu Sandwich - Craft the ultimate plant-based sandwich using this tofu recipe as the star ingredient. Layer thin slices of smoked tofu with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato slices, sliced red onions, and creamy avocado...drool. Spread some vegan mayo or your favorite condiment for extra creaminess. Enjoy the satisfying blend of textures and flavors between two slices of your favorite bread.
Add it to Stir-Fry - Incorporate your smoky creation into a vibrant and savory stir-fry. Pair it with colorful vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and snap peas. The smoky undertones of the tofu will infuse the dish with an irresistible aroma and taste.
Smoked Tofu Skewers - Impress your guests at your next barbecue or gathering by threading smoked tofu cubes onto skewers with colorful bell pepper and zucchini slices. Grill the skewers until lightly charred, and serve them with a zesty dipping sauce or alongside a refreshing couscous salad. These skewers are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Wrap- It wouldn't be like me not to suggest a wrap in most of my blog posts, and this is no exception because, well...they're easy and delicious. Wrap up a delightful combination of smoked tofu, hummus, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, and mixed greens in a soft tortilla for a satisfying and portable meal. It's perfect for on-the-go lunches or a quick and healthy dinner option.
Noodle Bowl: Combine air-fried smoked tofu with your favorite noodles, veggies, and a savory sauce. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds for a quick and satisfying meal.
Grain or Buddha Bowl: Top quinoa, brown rice, or farro with air-fried smoked tofu, roasted veggies, and a creamy sauce. Garnish with herbs, lime, or Lemon Pistachio Gremolata for a hearty and wholesome option.
Smoked Tofu Sushi: Use thinly sliced smoked tofu to fill sushi rolls with avocado, cucumber, and pickled radish. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi for dipping. I bet it would be great in vegan summer rolls, too.
This smoked tofu recipe is also a great addition to the following recipes - experiment and add variety to your favorite Planta dishes!
Don't skip chilling the marinated tofu in the fridge, even if it's just for a little while. Chilling marinated tofu is essential for optimizing its taste and texture. The tofu absorbs the flavors during chilling, resulting in a more flavorful and satisfying dish. Additionally, the chilling time allows the tofu to firm up, giving it a better texture and making it more enjoyable to eat.
Press the tofu. This makes room for the delicious marinade to be absorbed into the tofu.
Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for added spiciness.
Store homemade smoked tofu by letting it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator and use it within 2-3 days or freeze for longer storage. Before using, thaw the tofu in the refrigerator.
You can eat raw tofu, but keep a few things in mind. Raw tofu has a soft, somewhat bland texture with a slightly nutty taste. Some people enjoy eating it as is, while others may find it plain and prefer to use it in cooked dishes where it can absorb flavors and take on a more appealing taste and texture. This smoked tofu marinade does elevate the taste of tofu.
Regular tofu is made from soy milk coagulated and pressed into blocks. It has a neutral flavor and takes on the taste of the ingredients it's cooked with. On the other hand, smoked tofu is marinated in liquid smoke that infuses it with a rich, smoky flavor, giving it a distinct taste profile.
You can store leftovers by freezing smoked tofu for later use. Simply wrap it tightly in plastic or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to use it, let it thaw in the refrigerator before heating it up and incorporating it into your dishes. The texture may be slightly different, but the flavor is all there.
You can adjust the smokiness of the tofu by controlling the amount of liquid smoke you use in the marinade. If you prefer a more intense smoky flavor, you can increase the amount of liquid smoke, and if you want a milder taste, reduce the quantity.
Liquid smoke is typically available in most grocery stores, especially in the condiments or barbecue sauce section. You can also purchase it online if you can't find it in your local store.
In its natural form, tofu is gluten-free as it is made from soybeans. However, you must substitute the soy sauce with Tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos to make this recipe gluten-free.
The marinade used in the smoked tofu recipe is versatile and can add a smoky touch to other plant-based proteins like tempeh or seitan.
Over medium-high heat, use a little oil in a cast iron skillet, grill pan, or regular pan. Cook tofu for 3-4 mins on each side until golden brown or until the marinade caramelizes the tofu.
You can use firm tofu instead of extra firm tofu. While extra-firm tofu has a denser texture and might hold its shape slightly better during cooking, both work well to make smoky tofu.
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional for extra smokiness)
- chives or any fresh herb (for garnish) or top with Lemon Pistachio Gremolata
- Drain any excess liquid from the tofu block by pressing the tofu between two plates or in a tofu press.
- While the tofu is draining, combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika (if using). Mix well to create the marinade.
- Cut the tofu into thin slices or cubes, depending on your preference.
- Add the marinade to the tofu slices or cubes and gently toss to coat them evenly in a shallow dish. Let the tofu marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge for the best flavor.
- Preheat your oven or air-fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Place the marinated tofu on the baking sheet or air fryer basket, ensuring they are spread out in a single layer. Save the marinade to use later.
- Bake the tofu in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through to ensure even cooking and browning. If using an air-fryer, bake for 8-10 minutes.
- After flipping, use the remaining marinade to coat the tofu with more flavor.
- Cook the tofu for the remaining time or until it turns a deep golden brown. Adjust the cooking time as needed to achieve your desired level of crispiness.
- Remove the smoked tofu from the oven or air fryer and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Optional: Add fresh chives or herbs to any dish you serve it with for a pop of color and a nice presentation.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. Use a nutritional app like Cronometer to get information on the exact ingredients and amounts you are using.
Slice the smoked tofu into thin strips or bite-sized cubes, depending on your preference.
Cooking times may vary based on your air fryer model and the thickness of the tofu slices, so keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking.
I strongly suggest that you don't skip chilling the marinated tofu. This deepens the flavor. The longer, the better.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: appetizer, dinner, lunch
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 99
- Sugar: 7
- Sodium: 1075
- Fat: 2
- Saturated Fat: 0.3
- Carbohydrates: 11
- Fiber: 0.5
- Protein: 9
Keywords: high protein, liquid smoke