When I mentioned that I was a vegan today (in a casual conversation with someone at the grocery store) I was met with the all-too-common question “But, how do you get your protein?” I recited my “usual suspects” such as legumes, quinoa and vegan eggs but when I said tofu I could see the expression of “bleh” suddenly cross this individual’s face. Once again this brief encounter made me realize that tofu has a pretty bad “rap”. And this was the impetus for today’s recipe: Barbecue-style Tofu and Vegetable Fajita Bake.
My starting point for this recipe was developing the right marinade. To date I’ve shared a few tofu marinades, including our Smoky Maple Hickory Tofu Marinade and Tofu Vegan Bacon Tomato Sandwich, but I wanted to explore using citrus and fresh herbs this time. The combination of crushed garlic, lime juice, cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder turned out to be spot on. Baked until dark and crispy this BBQ-style marinade really allows the tofu to ‘shine’ how I had planned. The visual of a sizzling fajita skillet inspired me to saute red onion, sweet bell peppers and mushrooms in a blend of chili powder, garlic powder and pink salt to create a fragrant and colourful element to complement the BBQ-style tofu. Since we had just made from-scratch flour tortillas for yesterday’s recipe (Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Cumin-Crusted Quesadillas) I decided to turn the idea of a fajita skillet “on it’s head” by replacing the tortilla with rice and in turn, instead of “stuffing” a tortilla I took a “tiered” approach and decided to layer the fajita-inspired ingredients to create a bake/casserole-stylel dish. The end result of my let’s-make-tofu-the-hero-ingredient-it-can-be was a beautiful dish the entire family devoured (the kids included, lol). I was astonished they even ate the mushrooms without any complaints. It was that good 😉.
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of being (almost) apologetic about using tofu in many of my dishes. On it’s own yes tofu is certainly a ho-hum ingredient, but this recipe really helped to cement tofu’s rightful place as one of the most versatile, flavour-robust and hearty ingredients in a vegan’s diet.
Thanks for reading this post and as always, please feel free to share your feedback.
1/Prepare BBQ-Style Tofu Strips (recipe below)
Tip: I strongly recommend letting the tofu marinade for at least 2 hours so plan ahead to ensure best results with this recipe~
2/Cook 3 cups brown rice as directed (see Product Recommendation below)
Ingredients: BBQ-Style Tofu Strips
Note: This recipe is based on using 1 package of tofu. Double the ingredient quantities listed below if you choose to marinade 2 packages of tofu.
- 1 pkg extra-firm tofu, sliced into 1/4″ strips (rinsed and pressed to remove moisture)
- Juice of 1 lime (or 4 tsp lime juice concentrate; see Product Recommendation below)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp agave syrup
Instructions: BBQ-Style Tofu Strips
1/Add garlic cloves to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula scrape down the sides of the bowl to collect the minced garlic at the base of the bowl.
2/Insert the butterfly whisk attachment to the Thermomix mixing blade. Add the remaining marinade ingredients (lime juice through agave). Blend 30 sec/Speed 4.
3/Place the tofu strips in a shallow baking dish. They should be in a single layer (ideally not touching). Coat the tofu strips with marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4/Once the tofu has marinated transfer the tofu strips to a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
Important: There’s no need to wipe off marinade from the tofu however, be sure to reserve at least 1/8 cup of the marinade for later use (details below under “Sauteed Vegetables”)
5/Bake the marinated tofu at 450F for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and rotate the position of the baking tray every 15 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, lightly drizzle some olive oil over the tofu (in addition to sprinkling the last bit of salt). When finished, the edges of the tofu strips should look dark and crispy. Set aside.
Ingredients: Sautéed Vegetables
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced (175g)
- Grapeseed/canola oil (30g)
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- 2-3 sweet red bell peppers, thinly sliced (150g)
- 2-3 sweet orange bell peppers, thinly sliced (160g)
- 5-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced (145g)
- Grapeseed/canola oil (45g)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- Reserved BBQ-Style Tofu Strips (recipe above)
- 1 Tbsp Grapeseed/canola oil
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (up to 1/4 tsp)
Instructions: Sautéed Vegetables
- 1/Add onion to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula scrape down the sides of the bowl to collect the minced garlic at the base of the bowl.
- 2/Add oil and a pinch of salt to the TM bowl. Sauté 3 min/120C/Speed 1 (Reverse blade). Once again, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- 3/Add the vegetables (sliced red and orange bell peppers and sliced mushrooms) to the TM bowl. Add oil, chili powder, garlic powder and pinch of salt. Sauté 5 min/120C/Speed 1 (Reverse blade).
- 4/Add the reserved BBQ-style tofu marinade (at least 1/8 cup) to the TM bowl. Cook 3 min/120C/Speed 1 (Reverse blade). Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
Assembly Ingredients: Barbecued Tofu & Vegetable Fajita Bake
- 1 batch (or doubled to 2 batches) of BBQ-Style Tofu Strips (recipe above)
- 1 batch of Sautéed Vegetables (recipe above)
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- Grapeseed/canola oil (to drizzle)
- Sea salt flakes (or Himalayan pink salt)
Assembly Instructions: Barbecued Tofu & Vegetable Fajita Bake
- 1/In a shallow baking dish layer the ingredients as follows (think lasagna):
Bottom layer: Brown rice
Middle layer: BBQ-style tofu strips
Top layer: Sautéed vegetables
- 2/Drizzle your oil of choice over top of the vegetables and add a few sea salt flakes (if possible) or Himalayan pink salt. Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.
*SunbrownTM Calrose Brown Rice (100% Australian)
*Maldon® Sea Salt Flakes