Family-friendly Crispy Saucey Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce! The perfect easy weeknight dinner recipe packed with brain-boosting nutrients? Our peanut sauce is packed with flavor while being mild enough for all taste buds. Perfect for an easy vegan dinner, dip, or for tofu satay!
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- 👪Why You'll Love Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce
- 🥒Will Picky Eaters Like This
- 🧠Brain Benefits of Tofu and Peanuts
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- 💡Tofu Tips & Peanut Sauce Tricks
- 👩🏽🍳Step-By-Step Instructions
- 🥬Substitutions & Variations
- 🥡Storaging Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce
- 🥣More Easy Tofu Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
Welcome, fellow food lovers! As a mom and passionate home cook, I'm always on the hunt for ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into my family's diet without compromising on flavor. And let me tell you, this tofu peanut sauce recipe is a game-changer.
If you've been craving that restaurant-quality crispy peanut tofu but want to avoid the excess oil and unnecessary ingredients, then you're in the right place. Our peanut sauce recipe delivers a bold, delicious peanut sauce that's perfect for glazing tofu or chickpeas. And the best part? You can save the leftovers for dipping spring rolls or drizzling over noodle bowls.
Creating restaurant-style sauces at home is one of my favorite things to do. My husband and I are huge foodies, and we absolutely love the rich flavors of Thai cuisine. But, as many of you may know, restaurant sauces can be a trigger for those of us with dietary restrictions or sensitivities. That's why I set out to create a peanut sauce that's not only healthier but also just as flavorful as the ones we love from our favorite restaurants.
In fact, this recipe also inspired me to create this saucy general tso tofu sauce!
Trust me, this easy peanut sauce recipe hits the spot just right. I can't wait for you to try it and see for yourself! Happy cooking, everyone!
👪Why You'll Love Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce
As a food blogger and a mom, I've tried and tested countless recipes, and let me tell you, this tofu peanut sauce recipe is a family favorite in our household. Here's why your family will love it too:
- It's Delicious: The combination of crispy herby tofu and creamy peanut sauce creates a delightful contrast of textures and flavors that will have everyone asking for seconds.
- It's Healthy: Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein and the peanut sauce adds a boost of healthy fats. Plus, it's served with steamed rice and veggies for a balanced meal.
- It's Versatile: This recipe is easily adaptable to suit everyone's tastes. The tofu and peanut sauce are prepared separately, so you can adjust the flavors and ingredients as needed.
- It's Fun: There's something satisfying about drizzling that creamy peanut sauce over the crispy tofu. It's a fun and interactive meal that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
🥒Will Picky Eaters Like This
As a mom of three, I've had my fair share of dealing with picky eaters. But this tofu peanut sauce recipe has been a game-changer. Here's why it's a hit with even the pickiest of eaters:
- Mild Flavored Tofu: The tofu is baked with simple spices, resulting in a crispy texture with a mild flavor that won't overwhelm sensitive taste buds.
- Separate Sauce: The peanut sauce is made separately, so you can control the amount of sauce each person gets. You can even serve it on the side as a dip for a fun twist.
- Customizable Meal: Serve the tofu with steamed rice and broccoli for a simple and wholesome meal that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.
- Kid-Approved: This recipe was actually created with picky eaters in mind. It started as a simple tofu dish that my picky eater loved, and then I added the peanut sauce for those of us who wanted a bit more flavor. It's a win-win for everyone!
If you're struggling with feeding a picky eater, you're not alone. Check out this article I wrote on how to handle picky eaters for more tips and advice. Remember, patience and creativity are key when it comes to feeding picky eaters. Happy cooking!
🧠Brain Benefits of Tofu and Peanuts
I become a mom for the first time in graduate school while getting my Ph.D. in health science. It felt fascinating to learn about brain development while growing a tiny human at the same time! This sparked a passion in me for understanding how we can support our brain health through food and lifestyle choices. And let me tell you, this tofu peanut sauce recipe is a real brain booster! Here's why:
- Protein Powerhouse: Tofu is packed with protein, which is a vital building block for our brain(1). It provides the essential amino acids that our bodies use to create new proteins, including the enzymes and neurotransmitters that our brain cells use to communicate with each other. So, every bite of this tofu dish is like sending a love letter to your brain!
- Memory Magic: The soy isoflavones in tofu have been linked to improved memory and cognitive function (1,2). In fact, a ten-week study found that students who consumed soy showed improvements in mental flexibility and both short- and long-term memory (3). So, this dish might just give your memory a little boost!
- Healthy Fats for the Win: The peanut butter in our sauce is a great source of healthy fats and protein (4). These nutrients are essential for brain health, providing the energy and building blocks needed for brain cell growth and repair (5). It's like a little repair kit for your brain, all wrapped up in a delicious sauce!
Remember, while these benefits are associated with the ingredients in this recipe, everyone's health journey is unique. It's always a good idea to chat with your healthcare provider for personalized advice. And as always, happy cooking and healthy eating!
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
When it comes to preparing a tofu peanut sauce recipe, especially on a busy weeknight, every minute counts. Here are some time-saving tips to help you get this delicious, kid-friendly meal on the table faster:
- Press Your Tofu in Advance: Pressing tofu is an essential step for achieving the best texture, but it can be time-consuming. To save time, consider pressing your tofu in advance. You can do this a day ahead and store the pressed tofu in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Prep Your Ingredients: While your oven is preheating, use that time to prep your other ingredients. Cube your tofu, measure out your seasonings, and get your sauce ingredients ready. Despite having minimal prep, this step will help you move smoothly through the recipe.
- Blend Your Sauce While Tofu Bakes: To make the most of your time, prepare your peanut butter tofu sauce while the tofu is baking. This way, your sauce will be ready to pour over the tofu as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- Double the Peanut Sauce: Our tangy peanut sauce worked well as a satay sauce for making tofu satay or as a dip or pasta sauce!
If you're on the hunt for a tofu peanut sauce recipe that's both delicious and easy to make, you've come to the right place. The simple ingredients needed are:
Vegan Peanut Sauce:
- Smooth peanut butter: The base for our herby peanut sauce. I love how it adds a creamy, rich texture to the sauce.
- Soy sauce: It adds a savory, umami flavor to the peanut sauce.
- Lime juice: to help balance out the flavors and give this sauce that extra edge. Don't skip this ingredient!
- Sesame oil: This will enhance the nutty flavor of the sauce.
- Garlic: A must in any sauce for that aromatic punch.
- Maple syrup: A touch of sweetness to balance out the savory elements.
- Water: To adjust the consistency of the sauce.
- Powdered ginger: Adds a warm, spicy undertone to the sauce.
Crispy Baked Tofu:
- Firm tofu: The star of our dish, tofu is a versatile ingredient that absorbs flavors beautifully. I always opt for firm tofu or extra-firm tofu for this recipe as it holds its shape well during baking.
- Sesame oil: This gives the tofu a subtle nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the peanut sauce.
- Italian seasoning: A blend of herbs that adds a burst of flavor to the tofu.
- Garlic powder: For that extra kick and depth of flavor.
- Salt: Just a touch to enhance all the other flavors.
For full quantities, please see the recipe card below.
💡Tofu Tips & Peanut Sauce Tricks
When it comes to mastering our baked tofu peanut sauce, here are some of my top recommendations:
- Press Your Tofu: To achieve the best texture and flavor!
- Cube It Right: Smaller cubes will have more surface area and can become more crispy when baked.
- Season Well: Tofu is like a sponge, absorbing flavors (or water, which is why we press it). So don't be shy with your seasonings.
- Adjust Baking Time: When cooking tofu, the baking time can greatly affect the final texture. At 20-25 minutes the tofu will be spongy, at 30 minutes it should have a drier texture. So, bake based on your preference.
- Use Creamy Peanut Butter: For a smooth and creamy peanut sauce, start with creamy peanut butter. It blends well and gives the sauce a velvety texture.
- Balance Your Flavors: A good peanut sauce has a balance of sweet, salty, and tangy flavors. Adjust these ingredients to your taste.
- Adjust Consistency: If you find your sauce is too thick, don't hesitate to add a bit more water to thin it out. Remember, it should be pourable but still thick enough to coat your tofu nicely.
Step 1: Preheat your oven: Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. This ensures your oven is at the right temperature when you're ready to bake the tofu. Position your oven rack in the middle for even cooking.
Step 2: Prepare the tofu: While your oven is preheating, wrap your firm, or extra firm tofu in a clean kitchen towel (or some paper towels), or use a tofu press for a few minutes. This helps to remove excess water from the tofu, which will make it crispier when baked.
Step 3: Season the tofu: Cube the tofu and place it into a mixing bowl. Add the sesame oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Mix gently with a spoon to ensure all the tofu cubes are well coated with the seasoning. Remember, tofu is delicate, so handle it with care to prevent it from breaking apart.
Step 4: Bake the tofu: Arrange the seasoned tofu cubes on a baking pan, ensuring they are spread out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Flip the tofu cubes halfway for even crispiness and golden brown sides. For that extra crispy finish, increase the temperature to 425 for the last 10 minutes.
Pro tip: At 20-25 minutes the tofu will be spongy, at 30 minutes it should have a drier texture. So cook based on your preference.
Step 5: Prepare the peanut sauce: While the tofu is baking, it's time to prepare the peanut sauce. In a blender, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, water, maple syrup, and powdered ginger. Pulse to combine. If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend for a little longer.
Step 6: Serve: Once the tofu is baked to crispy perfection, pour the peanut sauce over it and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to soak up the flavor. Make sure to cover the tofu with enough sauce to cover it.
This combination is a match made in heaven! Serve your crispy baked tofu and creamy peanut sauce with some steamed rice and fresh or frozen veggies for a complete, balanced meal.
🥬Substitutions & Variations
We understand that every kitchen and every family's dietary needs are unique. Here are some substitutions and variations you can consider for this tofu peanut sauce recipe:
- Tofu: If you're not a fan of tofu or if you're looking for a non-soy protein, you can substitute it with tempeh or even chicken if you're not strictly plant-based.
- Peanut Butter: You can use chunky peanut butter by just increasing the time you blend your peanut sauce. You may have to add a bit more water. While not recommended, if you have a peanut allergy in the family, you can try using almond butter or sunflower seed butter as a substitute, please let us know if you do and how it turned out!
- Soy Sauce: For a gluten-free option, you can use tamari instead of soy sauce. If you're looking to reduce sodium, consider using a low-sodium soy sauce.
- Italian Seasoning: If you don't have Italian seasoning on hand, you can make your own blend with dried basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
- Maple Syrup: You can substitute maple syrup with brown sugar or honey (if you are not vegan).
- Ginger: If you don't have ginger, you can use a small amount of ground allspice or nutmeg as a substitute. However, please note that this will change the flavor profile of the dish significantly.
- Lime: In the absence of lime, you could use lemon or even a small amount of vinegar to add that tangy flavor. Again, this will alter the taste of the dish.
- Spicy peanut sauce: For an extra kick, add a bit of chili oil, sriracha sauce, or hot sauce to your sauce. Our favorite is to add 1 tablespoon of siracha to half the sauce (keeping half the recipe mild for the younger kiddos).
- Tofu Satay: This recipe works very well with BBQ or satay tofu! Simply BBQ your tofu and dip it into this creamy peanut sauce for a fun way to enjoy this recipe.
- Enjoy as a dip: This tofu peanut sauce also makes a killer dipping sauce for veggies or crackers. We actually love using it as a spring roll dip!!
- Noodle sauce: This Thai peanut sauce is very delicious on rice noodles. Simply adjust the consistency by adding a bit more water or lime juice to make it more pourable. Top with some fresh herbs or green onion and enjoy!
- Sesame seeds: Sprinkle on some sesame seeds for an extra crunch and kick of flavor!
Remember, the best part about cooking is making a recipe on your own. Feel free to experiment and adjust based on your family's preferences and dietary needs.
🥡Storaging Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce
Leftover peanut sauce? No problem! This tofu peanut sauce recipe stores well!
Refrigerator: Store any leftover peanut tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
Reheating: If you've stored your leftovers in the refrigerator, add a bit of water and then reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat them on the stovetop over medium heat, adding a bit more water if needed to prevent sticking.
Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze the baked tofu peanut sauce separately for up to 2 months. To reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then warm the tofu in the oven or on the stovetop. The peanut sauce can be placed in the microwave, just add a little water to adjust the consistency.
If your sauce is too thick, add a bit more water or lime juice and blend again until you reach your desired consistency. If it's too thin, add a bit more peanut butter and blend again. Remember, the sauce should be pourable but still thick enough to coat your tofu nicely.
For this recipe, it's best to use firm tofu as it holds its shape well during baking. Soft tofu has a higher water content and may not achieve the same crispy texture when baked.
Absolutely! You can make the peanut sauce ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for about a week.
Yes, you can freeze the peanut sauce. Pour it into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag, leaving enough space for expansion, and freeze it. It should last for up to 2 months. When you're ready to use it, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and give it a good stir before serving.
🥣More Easy Tofu Recipes
I hope you enjoyed our baked tofu with peanut sauce! For tofu lovers be sure to check out some of our other gluten-free tofu recipes:
Until then, tchau
Crispy Herby Tofu in a Creamy Peanut Sauce
- 2 blocks firm tofu cubed into ½ inch squares
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Herby peanut sauce
- 4 tablespoon peanut butter creamy
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tbs powdered ginger use 2 teaspoon for an extra kick
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap the tofu in a tea towel and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Cube the tofu and place into a mixing bowl. Then add all the spices for the tofu and mix gently with a spoon.
- Place onto a baking pan and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425 for the last 10 minutes to get it extra crispy.
- Meanwhile, in a blender add all the ingredients for the peanut sauce and pulse. If you want a smooth sauce blend for longer.
- Pour the sauce over the tofu and thank me later! Serve with some steamed rice and fresh or frozen veggies.
- Rynfield, R. (2022). The Impact of Soy Consumption on Brain Health – A Meta Analysis. Journal of the American Center for Nutrition, 1(1).
- Cui, C., Birru, R. L., Snitz, B. E., Ihara, M., Kakuta, C., Lopresti, B. J., Aizenstein, H. J., Lopez, O. L., Mathis, C. A., Miyamoto, Y., Kuller, L. H., & Sekikawa, A. (2019). Effects of soy isoflavones on cognitive function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition Reviews, 78(2), 134-144.
- Cheng, P.-F., Chen, J.-J., Zhou, X.-Y., Ren, Y.-F., Huang, W., Zhou, J.-J., & Xie, P. (2015). Do soy isoflavones improve cognitive function in postmenopausal women? A meta-analysis. Menopause, 22(2), 198-206
- Banik, S., & Hossain, M. S. (2014). A comparative overview on good fats and bad fats: guide to control healthy body. International Journal of Health, 2(2), 41-44.
- Chianese, R., Coccurello, R., Viggiano, A., Scafuro, M., Fiore, M., Coppola, G., Operto, F. F., Fasano, S., Layé, S., Pierantoni, R., & Meccariello, R. (2018). Impact of Dietary Fats on Brain Functions. Current Neuropharmacology, 16(7), 1059-1085.