Savory marinated tofu is oven-baked, oil-free, and served up with quick sweet corn relish, arugula, and creamy avocado dressing. The best vegan tofu bowls ever!
There are three delectable parts to this recipe – all easy, all perfectly complementary, and all can be made ahead of time. Wanna know what that means? A delicious meal in a bowl.
We eat a lot of tofu around here, but I’ve got to admit, the quick blended, oil-free marinade is pretty special. It was so good that I just let cubes of tofu swim around in the bowl and then fired up the oven to bake it up. Primo!
The marinade is kind of Thai meets Texas – at least that’s where it is in my head. And all the ingredients are readily available just about anywhere. Here’s all you need:
Soy sauce (or Tamari)
Ginger (about a tablespoon minced or grated)
A garlic clove
1 jalapeno (you can remove the seeds if you don’t want the spice)
Ground cumin (½ tsp.)
A liquid sweetener, such as Agave syrup, date paste, or even maple syrup
Lime juice (I used 3 tablespoons, so 1 lime will do)
½ a bunch (1 cup) of cilantro (leaves and stems)
Since we’re tossing everything in a blender or food processor, you don’t need to get too fancy with chopping.
Unlike making plant-based bacon where the tofu and flavorings go into the blender or crispy tofu that’s just tossed with arrowroot and baked, this vegan tofu recipe requires marinating time. How long is really up to you, but I’d honestly give it an hour.
Another approach that speeds up bowl time is to press the tofu, whip up the marinade, and let the infusion happen overnight. Full disclosure – I’ve even left this for 2 days before I baked it up.
Here are a few more tips about prepping tofu that I use. Try slicing the block into quarters before you press it. This helps to get the moisture out. If you like tofu that is firm throughout, then don’t cut them into square cubes. Go for rectangles – thinner in width. That means more surface area covered by the marinade and the tofu will get crisp on the edges and firm in the middle.
The sweet corn relish is another make-ahead ingredient and is tasty stuff. It's just a mix up of simple ingredients including:
1 can of drained sweet corn
1 small red and yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
¼ bunch of cilantro (that’s half of what was left after the marinade, so ½ cup)
½ lime juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
Using corn from the cob is also an option. Cook it first by boiling or steaming it for a few minutes. You can also grill it (even in the oven). Frozen corn is also an option. Just thaw it by steaming or boiling it for a minute or two.
This quick avocado dressing is another 'toss everything in the blender and hit the go button. I didn't initially intend to go all up in the cilantro for this one, but yep the stuff also went into the dressing! What’s up with that?
I honestly used it for a thickener, so toss in whatever is left from the marinade and the sweet corn relish.
The dressing is the bit that ties everything together. Besides, what are tofu bowls without dressing? On second thought, what’s ANY bowl or salad without dressing.
This dressing is on the lite side. That’s intentional. A lot is happening in this bowl between the yummy baked tofu and the sweet corn relish. You don’t want a dressing that will horde all the great flavors.
Are you a rocket person? By that I mean, arugula. Yes, my friends, arugula, and rocket are the same thing. This was my green of choice to give my tofu bowls just a bit more kick (like it needs that).
I still find peppery, arugula, rocket, rucola, or ‘lettuce’ a bit exotic. Frankly, the leaves look a bit like weeds. Rocket is a power pack of vitamins C and K and nutritionally a good source of B-vitamins – who doesn’t like that? ().
The distinctive flavor of arugula and it capacity to stay crispy, no matter how much dressing or sweet corn relish you drown it in, makes it a tasty choice for salads in general. And unlike kale, which seems to be more seasonal in our local store in Holland, we can get ‘rucola’ any old time. Even the ‘baby’ rocket is easy to come by. It's yummy green value for the money. That most certainly makes this shopper happy ?.
I suppose bowls are really just salads under a more robust name, but serving the savory tofu pieces and corn relish individually is a good idea. No fighting over tofu at the table! You can even try to take your time eating this because the rocket is wilt resistant.
So, load up the bowls, round up the group and get to the best part – the eating! Peace.Print
savory baked tofu bowls with sweet corn relish
Savory marinated tofu is baked, oil-free and along with sweet corn relish, arugula, and creamy avocado dressing, it’s the best vegan tofu bowls ever!
- Prep Time: 90 minutes (mostly inactive)
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 4 bowls 1x
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
For the tofu
- 1 big block of tofu (18 oz./500 gms.), pressed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 - inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 small jalapeno, chopped (you can remove the seeds if you like)
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. agave syrup, date paste, maple syrup, or another vegan liquid sweetener
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- ½ bunch (about 1 cup) cilantro (coriander), leaves and stems
Sweet corn relish
- 1 small red bell pepper, core removed and diced small
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, core removed and diced small
- 1 small red onion, diced small
- 1 can (10 oz./300 gm.) sweet corn, drained
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 avocado, peeled
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup lime juice
- About ½ cup cilantro leaves and stems (whatever you have left from the marinade and corn relish)
- 1 tsp. maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ¼ - ½ cup water (depending on the consistency you like)
6 - 8 cups of arugula or green of your choice
- Rinse the tofu and cut it into quarters, then press it using a tofu press or between a plate and another flat surface weighed down. Press for 20 minutes.
- While the tofu presses, you can make the marinade by adding the soy sauce, ginger, jalapeno, cumin, agave syrup, cilantro, and lime juice in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. (it doesn’t need to be super smooth as it’s a marinade).
- When the tofu is pressed, cut it into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl with the marinade. Be sure to coat the tofu on all sides. Leave the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes (longer if you can or overnight). Mix the pieces at least once during the marinating process for maximum flavor.
- While the tofu marinates, make the sweet corn relish, and the avocado dressing.
- For the corn relish, simply combine the diced red and yellow bell pepper, the sweet corn, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Mix it well in a small bowl. You can cover it and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. It can also be made a day ahead.
- For the avocado dressing, combine all the ingredients – the avocado, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and maple syrup in a blender. Blend everything, adding water as needed to thin it out (¼ – ½ cup).
- To bake the tofu, preheat the oven to 4250F (2200C).
- Place the tofu pieces on a baking tray (I find it easiest to line it with parchment paper). Bake the tofu for 15 minutes until it starts to brown and then flip it and bake it for another 10 minutes until it’s brown and firm.
- o finish, line 4 bowls with the arugula, then add the corn relish and tofu. Add the dressing or serve it on the side.
- You can start marinating the tofu and make the corn relish a day ahead. Be sure to store the relish in an airtight container and cover the tofu.
- Not in the mood for a bowl? Try making this into a sandwich. Don’t add any water to the dressing. Start with the bread, stack on the arugula, then the tofu, then some avocado spread, the corn relish, a bit more avocado, top off with the bread. Yummy!
Keywords: tofu bowls with sweet corn relish