This Vegan Sesame Garlic Tofu is flavorful and incredibly simple to throw together! Simply bake the tofu, whip together the sauce ingredients, and cook some rice and you've got an easy and delicious weeknight dinner.
The vegan sesame garlic sauce is spicy, yet sweet and savory. It's made up of simple ingredients like soy sauce, lime juice, a hint of maple syrup, and lots of garlic!
The crispy baked tofu gets tossed with vegetables and that garlic sauce then finished with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve the sesame garlic tofu with jasmine rice and steamed broccoli for a filling and tasty dinner.
Crispy sesame tofu is one of my go-to weeknight dinners. It contains simple ingredients but is customizable so feel free to get creative and use what you have. Don't have red bell peppers? Don't worry! Add whatever stir fry veggies you have on hand.
- Extra Firm Tofu
- Toasted Sesame Oil
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Lime Juice
This sticky garlicky sesame tofu is flavorful, easy to make, and super customizable!
- Extra Firm Tofu: The vessel that will hold our delicious, sesame sauce! When baked, extra-firm tofu becomes chewy and crispy on the outside.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to thicken our sauce and to toss on to our tofu to create that crispy exterior.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil is a finishing oil and brings out a lot of flavor!
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: The base of our sauce is soy sauce- low sodium is preferred. If you're gluten-free, you can use tamari.
- Lime Juice: Fresh is best! Lime juice will add a nice citrus flavor and acidity.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is added to balance the acidity and the salt from the sauce- it's very important!
- Sambal Oelek: This is simply hot chili sauce. You can use sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
Stir Fry Veggie Options
I love using red bell peppers and onions in this crispy sesame tofu recipe but it's super customizable and you can use whatever stir fry veggies that you enjoy!
What other veggies can I use for a stir fry?
- Red Onion
- Green Beans
- Snow Peas
- Baby corn
- Extra Firm Tofu: This is a tofu dish but you can substitute it with vegan chicken or seitan pieces. I would skip the baking in that case and go with tossing in a little bit of oil in a pan to brown and crisp up.
- Sauce Ingredients: This sauce is very forgiving. I've made versions similar to this with missing ingredients and always enjoy it. If you don't have liquid sweetener you can use brown sugar or granulated sugar. If you don't have rice vinegar, add more lime.
- Sambal Oelek: This is simply hot chili sauce. You can use sriracha, red chili flakes and chili garlic sauce.
How to Make This Recipe
Press the extra firm tofu for at least 15- 30 minutes to remove excess water.
Cube the tofu and toss in a bowl with the soy sauce. Stir well and then add the cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking tray and spray or drizzle with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy @ 400F.
Make the sesame garlic sauce: Dice the onion and bell peppers. Add a splash of oil on to a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft and starting to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Make the sesame garlic sauce by whisking together all the remaining sauce ingredients except for the toasted sesame oil.
Add the sauce to the pan with the vegetables and cook until the sauce has thickened. Once the sauce is sticky and has thickened- add the baked tofu and sesame oil and toss to combine.
Remove from heat and serve the sesame garlicky tofu over jasmine rice and steamed broccoli. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
Press the tofu! Pressing improves the texture of the tofu and will also help the tofu crisp up in the pan and in the oven. I have a tofu press and highly recommend it but you can make a DIY tofu press by putting the tofu in between two plates and stacking heavy items on top. I almost always have pre- pressed tofu in my fridge so it’s ready to use any time! Simply press tofu and then store in an airtight container and use within 2-3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I always recommend pressing your tofu when it comes to making dishes like this sesame garlic tofu. Read more about the importance of pressing tofu in the tips & tricks section.
Crispy and chewy! Baking tofu removes the moisture and the texture becomes very meaty and chewy. If you want softer tofu, pan-fry it!
Tossing your tofu in cornstarch helps crisp up the tofu. I never skip this! But you can definitely leave this off if you can't have cornstarch.
Yes, this tofu will crisp up great on a pan in a bit of oil. Be sure to leave space between the tofu so it crisps up instead of steams.
Learn more about making the best tofu ever in my blog post titled Tofu 101.
More Tofu Recipes
Baked Sesame Garlic Tofu
- 1 Block of Extra Firm Tofu pressed
- 1 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pinch of Salt
- Oil for drizzling
Sesame Garlic Sauce:
- ½ cup Red & Green Bell Peppers
- ¼ of a Medium Sweet Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Water
- Juice of ½ a Lime
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup or Agave
- 1-2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- Steamed Broccoli
- Jasmine Rice
- Green Onions garnish
- Sesame Seeds garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Press the extra firm tofu for at least 15- 30 minutes to remove excess water. Cube the tofu and toss in a bowl with the soy sauce. Stir well and then add the cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Spread on a parchment lined baking tray and spray or drizzle with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy.
- Make the sesame garlic sauce: Dice the onion and bell peppers. Add a splash of oil on to a medium sized pan on medium-high heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft and starting to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Make the sesame garlic sauce by whisking together all the remaining sauce ingredients except for the toasted sesame oil. Add the sauce to the pan with the vegetables and cook until the sauce has thickened. Once thickened add the baked tofu and sesame oil and toss to combine. Remove from heat and serve over jasmine rice and steamed broccoli. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Rachael M. says
10/10 ! I am always looking for new ways to dress up my tofu and this is one of my favorites! I was afraid baking would dry it out, but it did not!
So happy you enjoyed it!! 🙂
When I saw the photo of this recipe is when I decided to try tofu. I've been reading your articles and recipes in prep and I want to say thank you! I finally made this and it is absolutely wonderful!!! I appreciate your beautiful photos and clearly written instructions. Learning so much from your food blog. Thanksssss!!!
Awww, that's amazing!! I'm so glad my posts were helpful to you and that you finally gave tofu a try. Can't wait to see what you try next. I think you might like my sweet chili tofu 🙂
Nelly Vasquez says
I made this recipe last night was soooo delicious!
I forgot to add the Maple Syrup!🙄
But still delicious 😋
Thank you so much for share your recipes!
Oh no! I'm glad it was still delicious without the maple syrup. Thanks for posting a review! 🙂
Braxton Greer says
Made this last night with no substitutions and it was awesome! I might add a little more maple syrup next time to balance the sambal oelek. Thanks!
Yay!! I'm glad you enjoyed. Good note about the maple syrup. Thank you! 🙂