I absolutely love the holidays, but when it comes to balance, the holiday season doesn’t always love me. Part of making it out alive (and without needing to buy a size up come January) is moderation. Between delicious apple crisps, seasonal drinks, and a hankering for warm, gooey meals, it can be seriously tough. But, countering the impact of a few too many cocktails can actually be, believe it or not, really satisfying.
One of the recipes I’ve been loving so far this season is a spicy baked tofu slathered in peanut sauce. If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly protein option to pair with a salad, roasted veggies, a heaping of brown rice, or all three, this one’s for you.
What You Need
1 package of firm tofu
2 hefty spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter
1 T honey (I use orange blossom-flavored honey for a little extra jazz)
1 T sesame oil
Sriracha to taste
1/2 cup Soyaki (Trader Joe’s makes a great one)
1/4 cup garlic hoisin sauce (here’s a link to the one I use for those of you who are unsure what that is)
What To Do
1. Drain your tofu and slice into rectangles. This is important because smaller square pieces tend to burn more easily. Keep your tofu chunks large enough to handle 20-25 minutes in 375-degree heat.
2. The trick to good tofu is to drain as much of the moisture from it as you possibly can before slathering it in any type of marinade. To do this, place your tofu pieces on top of a wad of paper towels. Then cover them with another wad of paper towels, and place a heavy object on top to help press the water out. You’ll notice that the paper towels will quickly become saturated, so be prepared to change your towels about three to five more times.
3. Once your tofu is relatively dry, place to the side. It’s time to make your peanut sauce marinade.
Peanut Sauce Marinade
4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 heaping spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (I prefer salted) with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add your Soyaki and garlic hoisin sauce. And start with a small about of Sriracha.
5. Whisk until all of the ingredients are evenly combined, creating a smooth consistency.
6. This part is also important: Try your marinade. If you prefer a nuttier flavor, by all means, add a little more peanut butter to the mix. If you’re a lover of spice, load up on the hot sauce.
7. Add the tofu to your marinade. Let this sit for at least an hour. The longer, the better.
Baking Your Tofu
8. About an hour before you’re ready to eat your tofu, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
9. While the oven heats up, spray a baking sheet with coconut oil. (I love this sweet little touch, but if you’re not a coconut oil fiend like I am, you can also use olive oil.) Spread your tofu evenly across the baking sheet.
10. Once your oven is ready to go, place your tofu in, and set a timer for 13 minutes. Once your timer goes off, you’ll want to check your tofu for the first time. Depending on how aggressive your oven is, you might want to turn your tofu at this point. You might also need to give the tofu another minute or so; use your judgement.
11. Set your timer for another 8 minutes. Again, you might need up to 12 minutes longer, but I’d check to make sure your tofu isn’t burning at minute 8.
12. Once your tofu looks golden brown, remove from the oven and set on top of the stove to cool. Your tofu will need about 20 or 30 minutes to fully set. The tofu might be mushy when you remove it from the oven, but in 20 minutes or so, it’ll be firm, peanut-y, and delicious.
13. That’s all! Serve to your heart’s delight.