Look no further if you are in search of a versatile, delicious, and easy-to-make plant-based protein option. This Tofu Ground Beef come lightly seasoned but can effortlessly adapt to various dishes like pasta, tacos, burritos, soups, and more!
Creating your own tofu ground beef is a breeze, offering deliciousness and incredible versatility.
This ground beef inspired tofu recipe is ready in under 45 minutes with just a few simple ingredients.
It is perfect to meal prep in large batches so you can have a tasty protein source to add to a variety of different dishes through-out the week.
Once you've tried this, you'll never feel the need to purchase store-bought vegan ground beef again!
This recipe was originally created in 2022 but I thought it deserved more love and new pictures. The recipe is exactly the same.
This versatile tofu ground beef recipe is made up of simple ingredients, allowing for complete customization based on what you have available or the specific dish you're preparing!
Extra Firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu or firm tofu works best for this recipe. It only needs to be pressed for about 10 to 15 minutes to remove excess water.
Olive Oil: Adding oil helps the tofu get golden brown and crisp in the oven. You can substitute the olive oil with avocado oil or other neutral tasting oil.
Tomato Paste: Tomatoes play a crucial role in enhancing umami flavor. If you're out of tomato paste, tomato sauce can serve as an alternative but will be a bit looser and it will need to bake a few minutes longer.
Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is essential for incorporating natural saltiness, typical of ground meat. Opt for tamari if gluten-free.
Nutritional Yeast: Helps with that umami flavor as well.
Seasonings: This recipe includes neutral spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt and black pepper. I recommend adding more seasonings to suit the specific dish you are making. See below for ideas!
See recipe card for quantities.
A tofu press isn't required for this recipe but it is a helpful tool to have in your kitchen.
Excess water is released when it is pressed and it will helps tofu soak up flavorful marinades or in this case-- it helps it get crispier!
How to Make This Recipe
Feel free to get creative with this tofu ground beef recipe. It's tailored to be customized for various different meals.
Add it to tacos, burrito bowls, or pasta sauces!
The full written recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Whisk together the olive oil, tomato paste, low-sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. At this point, add any additional seasonings--see note for ideas!
Step 2: Press and crumble the block of tofu and toss in the seasoning mixture until well coated.
Step 3: Spread out the crumbled tofu on to a parchment lined baking tray-- avoid over crowding the pan or it'll take longer to bake.
Step 4: Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. They will firm up a bit more after coming out of the oven. Stir the tofu crumbles halfway and keep an eye on it especially in the last 5 minutes.
Remove the tofu from the oven and serve in tacos, burrito bowls, pastas, soups, stir-fries, and more!
Note: This recipe features spices such as smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a hint of salt and black pepper. Feel free to customize by adding additional seasonings tailored to your dish. Check out suggestions below!
Substitutions & Variations
Creating homemade meat substitutes is remarkably easy and yields results just as satisfying as store-bought alternatives.
Tofu is a blank canvas and absorbs the flavors you infuse into it! Whether in cubes, baked, or crumbled-- tofu offers immense versatility.
Here are some suggestions to elevate this vegan beef recipe:
Sauté with aromatics: Add the baked tofu crumbles to a pan with diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers. This creates a flavorful base for various dishes like tacos, pasta sauces, or stir-fries.
Mix with other ingredients: Combine tofu crumbles with vegetables, grains, or legumes to create a well-balanced meal.
Liquid smoke: This recipe has smoked paprika but a few drops of liquid smoke add additional smokiness to this ground beef tofu recipe.
Add additional seasonings: You can add Italian seasonings and red pepper flakes when making pasta or adding them to pizza. Or try out chili powder, cumin, and coriander when making tacos or burritos.
Make it more savory: Add a dash of vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce to add a bold, savory flavor.
These vegan beef crumbles are perfect for meal prep, offering a hassle-free plant-based protein to add to your dinner menu.
Plus, the cooking process is straightforward and requires minimal attention, allowing you enough time to prepare the rest of your meal.
Tofu Beef Tacos: Fill taco shells or tortillas with seasoned tofu beef crumbles, and top them with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, salsa, and a dollop of vegan sour cream.
Tofu Beef Sloppy Joes: Cook tofu beef crumbles with onions, garlic, tomato sauce, and your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve on hamburger buns for a comforting meal.
These are just a few ideas to get you started.
This recipe is versatile and can be used in various cuisines and dishes, so feel free to experiment and get creative with your dishes.
Tips & Tricks
Press the tofu! Pressing tofu will ensure you get that crispy exterior and chewy texture. It also helps the tofu absorb flavor.
Don't skimp on seasonings! I added smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper for this recipe to keep it more neutral in flavor to ensure that it goes well with a variety of recipes but you can add more depending on what recipe you're making. If you're making pasta, add Italian Seasonings. If you're making burritos, add chili powder and cumin.
Don't overcrowd the baking tray! This is very important-- if you don't use a big enough baking tray and spread the tofu crumbles out evenly, you'll have to bake them a lot longer and they won't get as crispy.
Baking Time May Vary! Keep an eye on your tofu ground beef, especially in the last 10 minutes. You don't want to burn them but you definitely want to make sure they crisp up and dry out enough.
Storage: Allow the tofu beef crumbles to cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Reheating: Simply reheat in the oven at 350F for about 5-10 minutes or reheat on the stovetop until warmed through.
Freezing: Keep in mind that the texture of tofu changes when it has been frozen. But it should still be good in recipes such as pasta sauces or even burritos or tacos. Simply thaw before using and follow the reheating instructions from above.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may need to cook it longer to get it crispier and note that tofu absorbs flavors better when some of the water is pressed out of the block. I recommend pressing it for only 10 minutes for this recipe or wrap in paper towels to absorb some of that extra liquid.
Pressing tofu for at least 10 minutes and spreading out the crumbles on a baking tray so they aren't overcrowded should solve this problem. If they aren't as crispy as you'd like, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Yes, heat a pan on medium-high heat and cook until crispy.
More Meaty Recipes
Looking for other vegan recipes like this? Try these:
Tofu Ground Beef
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the excess moisture. If you don't press the tofu, wrap in a clean dish towel.
- Whisk together the olive oil, tomato paste, low-sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. At this point, add any additional seasonings--see note for ideas!
- Crumble the block of tofu and toss in the seasoning mixture until well coated.
- Spread out the crumbled tofu on to a parchment lined baking tray-- avoid over crowding the pan or it'll take longer to bake.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. They will firm up a bit more after coming out of the oven. Stir the tofu crumbles halfway and keep an eye on it especially in the last 5 minutes.
- Remove the tofu from the oven and serve in tacos, burrito bowls, pastas, soups, stir-fries, and more!
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