Tofu with Spicy Herb Marinade
Tofu with Spicy Herb Marinade Photo courtesy of Charity Burggraaf

When it comes to summer grilling, burgers and chicken play heavily in our barbecue rotation. But tofu? We can’t say we had given the bland bean curd much thought until we spotted this lightly grilled number in chef Makini Howell’s new cookbook, Plum. The Seattle chef precooks the tofu on the barbecue to give it attractive grill marks, then relies on a spicy, herb-heavy marinade to lend the dish loads of flavor. The meatless entrée is a perennial favorite at Howell’s vegan restaurant Plum Bistro and is sure to please not only vegans and vegetarians but the omnivores among us as well.

Make 4 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hour (plus about 8 hours marinating time)

Ingredients

¼ cup roughly chopped garlic cloves (about 20 small to medium garlic cloves)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion (about ¼ medium onion)

¼ cup roughly chopped kalamata olives (about 8 olives)

4 firmly packed cups flat-leaf parsley leaves (from about 2 medium bunches)

¼ cup lightly packed oregano leaves

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Sea salt

One 14- to 16-ounce package firm silken tofu

Directions

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic with the red onion and olives; pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. Add the parsley and oregano, then pulse until the herbs are finely chopped but not pureed.

2. Transfer the herb mixture to a medium bowl and add the paprika, sugar, cayenne (if using) and red-pepper flakes. Pour in the olive oil, lime juice and red wine vinegar; stir until well combined. Season to taste with sea salt.

3. Pour ¼ cup of the marinade into a 9-inch square baking pan and spread it out to coat the bottom of the pan. Set aside the baking pan and the remaining marinade.

4. Cut the tofu crosswise into eight ½-inch-thick pieces. Set aside. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high heat. Brush the tofu pieces evenly with olive oil and grill until distinct grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the tofu to the baking pan, setting it atop the marinade. Pour the reserved marinade over the top of the tofu and spread to coat evenly. Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tofu for 8 hours or up to overnight.

5. Warm a medium skillet or stovetop griddle over medium heat. Remove the tofu slices from the marinade with a slotted spatula. (Some of the herbs will cling to the tofu; discard remaining marinade or reserve it for another use.) Working in batches, cook the tofu until heated through and crispy on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

6. Divide the tofu among four plates and serve immediately with desired accompaniments.

 

©2013 by Makini Howell. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro by permission of Sasquatch Books

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Howell’s preferred brand of tofu is Island Spring firm silken tofu.

  • Use the remaining marinade as a sauce for the grilled and seared tofu or to marinate any other protein, from seitan to your favorite meat.

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