Tofu is one of those foods, like cauliflower and white rice, that is a blank canvas. It takes on the flavors of whatever you add to it. Otherwise, it is pretty bland. Therefore, it is best to marinate tofu before grilling it on a Foreman Grill. So, expect a bit of upfront preparation when making grilled tofu. We’ll walk you through all of the steps.
You will want to pick up extra firm or firm tofu that is packed in water for grilling. It will be in the refrigerated section of the market, likely near the dairy, kimchi, and tempeh. Silken tofu and the kind packed in shelf stable boxes do not hold up when grilled.
Tofu is made from soybeans. While soybeans are one of our largest agricultural products, many commercial farmers use pesticides or GMO (genetically modified organism) soybean plants. The good news is that you can always find tofu that is both organic and non-GMO in most markets. Just look for those designations on the packaging.
Many vegetarians and vegans eat tofu and other bean products as a substitute for meat. That is because tofu and legumes are loaded with protein. The essential amino acids in protein are the building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. These amino acids cannot be made by the human body. We can only get them from food sources. One serving of tofu provides more protein than the same size serving of beef. And, you get that protein free of any cholesterol.
An added nutritional benefit of tofu is that a 1/2 cup serving supplies approximately 22% of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of calcium. This is a plus for vegans who do not eat dairy.
Grilled Tofu Recipes
A basic grilled tofu recipe might not seem that basic when you read through the steps. That is true whether you grill over a flame or on a Foreman Grill. There really is no avoiding the steps described here. The good news is most of the prep time involves just letting the pale tofu hang out like it was having a day at the beach getting tan.
Basic Grilled Tofu Recipe
- 1 (14 ounce) package of extra firm tofu in block form, packed in water
- 2 TBS toasted sesame oil
- 2 TBS tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar or mirin
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Total time: 5 hour 5 min – Prep time: 5 hour – Cook time: 5 min
1. Open the tofu package and drain all the liquid off. Place the block of tofu on a cutting board and slice into 6 equal portions, approximately 3/4″ thick each.
2. Place a clean towel or 2 layers of paper towels on a flat surface. Put the tofu slices on the towel and cover them with another towel or paper towels. Press gently to release the water. Repeat this with dry towels until the tofu releases most of its water.
3. In a medium storage container, mix the marinade ingredients. Coat the tofu on all surfaces with the marinade, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours. (4-1/2 hours worked fine for this recipe).
4. Remove the tofu from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. Heat the Foreman Grill to medium high.
6. Grill the tofu with the top closed for approximately 5 minutes. It should be brown and have distinct grill marks. Cut into strips or cubes and serve over rice with other vegetables. See the next recipe for serving suggestion.
Brown Rice and Grilled Tofu Buddha Bowl
This recipe is a Western adaptation of bibimbap. Bibimbap is a classic Korean dish of vegetables and protein served over rice. We’ll use the grilled tofu as our main protein in this version of the recipe. This recipe should make 4 hardy bowls. Feel free to use different toppings, as this is often one of those dishes that is made when using up whatever is in the refrigerator, including leftovers.
Ingredients for the rice:
- 1 Cup short or medium grain brown rice, rinsed well
- 1 TBS vegetable or seed oil
- 2 Cups of water or vegetable broth (add more if needed)
- 2/3 Cup frozen peas
Ingredients for the toppings:
- 2 Hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half
- 1 Avocado, pit & skin removed, sliced thinly
- 4 Red radishes sliced thinly
- 6 Slabs grilled tofu, cut into 1” cubes
- 1/2 Cup toasted peanuts or sunflower seeds
- Tamari or soy sauce
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
1. In a medium sauce pot, heat the oil on medium high and toast the rice in it just to coat well. Pour in the water or broth and bring to boil. Adjust the heat down to a low simmer and cover the pot. Set a timer for 35 minutes.
2. At 35 minutes add the frozen peas to the rice, cover, and cook another 5 minutes. Check to see that the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. Adjust liquid and timing if necessary.
While the rice is cooking:
3. Hard boil the eggs. Generally 9 minutes is sufficient, and the yolks can be soft for this recipe.
4. Slice the avocado and radishes.
5. Toast the nuts or seeds lightly in a dry pan or toaster oven, being careful not to burn them.
6. Prepare the tofu as described in the Basic Grilled Tofu Recipe.
7. Assemble the Buddha bowl: Rice goes on the bottom of the bowl. Add a little tamari or soy sauce to season the rice. Arrange vegetables and proteins in sections on the rice to look colorful. Top with the nuts or seeds. Have tamari and sriracha on the side for everyone to add as desired.
Grilled tofu will keep well when stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. So, make a big batch of it and add it to soups, chilis, stir fries, or sandwiches. It is a bit spongy and firm when grilled which makes it a great substitute for animal based proteins in most dishes. Grilling gives it a nice, almost nutty flavor.