Quick & easy orange sesame tofu! Our sticky orange sauce is finger-licking good and packed with flavor and brain-boosting nutrients! This recipe takes 10 minutes to prep for a perfect weeknight recipe for busy families!
This content is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice.
- 🌱Beginner Tofu Recipe
- 🧠Brain Benefits
- 👪Why Your Family Will Love This Recipe
- 🥒For Picky Eaters
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tips for Busy Families
- 🥦Ingredient & Flavor Notes
- 💡Recipe Tips For the Best Orange Tofu
- 👩🏽🍳Instructions for Making Orange Tofu
- 🥡Storing your Orange Tofu
- 🥣Related Recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
This was one of the first vegan recipes I ever tried and let me tell you it is definitely a great beginner recipe! Since that day, this easy orange tofu recipe has been a family favorite! We have even ventured to try it on chickpeas and cannellini beans with great success.
🌱Beginner Tofu Recipe
Orange tofu is an excellent recipe for anyone who wants to incorporate more tofu into their diet but may be hesitant due to its bland reputation. The combination of sweet and tangy sticky orange sauce with nutty sesame flavors creates a delicious and flavorful coating for the tofu. Plus, the texture of the tofu perfectly complements the crunch of the sesame seeds. Even if you're new to cooking with tofu, this recipe is easy to follow and will give you a newfound appreciation for this versatile and protein-packed ingredient.
Sesame orange tofu is a nutritious meal for kids that can provide several brain development benefits. Tofu is a good source of protein, iron, and calcium, which are all essential for brain development 1,2,3.
Sesame seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can assist in promoting brain health 4,5. Additionally, the toasted sesame seeds add a crunchy texture that can help with fine motor skill development. Overall, incorporating orange sesame tofu into a child's diet can support their brain development and overall health.
👪Why Your Family Will Love This Recipe
Get ready to fall in love with the most delicious and easy-to-make orange tofu recipe you'll ever taste. Here is why we love this recipe:
- Beginner-Friendly: Even if you're new to the world of tofu, this recipe is a breeze. With clear, step-by-step instructions, you'll master the art of making orange tofu in no time.
- Fun to Eat: The crispy texture and tangy orange flavor make every bite exciting. It's a dish that both kids and adults will find enjoyable and fun to eat.
- Bursting with Flavor: The star of the show is the mouth-watering orange sesame sauce. It's a glossy, sticky, and irresistible flavor bomb that's sweet, garlicky, and savory all in one.
- Easily Customizable: Whether your family prefers a spicy kick or a milder taste, this recipe can be easily adjusted to suit everyone's preferences. You can add red pepper flakes or reduce the ginger for sensitive eaters.
With this vegan orange chicken tofu recipe, mealtime will become a delightful experience that everyone looks forward to.
🥒For Picky Eaters
Navigating meal times with kids can sometimes be tricky. With 3 kiddos at home I never know what mealtime will bring and often forget which 'I don't like that food' era we are in this week :0). But here's why this recipe is often a hit with the fussiest of eaters:
- Sweet Appeal: Kids are often drawn to sweet flavors, and our orange sesame tofu sauce hits the spot with its delicious sweetness. It's a surefire way to make their taste buds dance with delight.
- Fun Textures: The nutty flavor of the sesame seeds adds a unique texture that's fun to explore. Plus, the crispy outer layer of the tofu is a hit with kids who enjoy a good crunch.
- Customizable Flavors: Tofu is a flavor chameleon—it takes on the flavors of whatever it's cooked with. This makes it a fantastic ingredient for parents to experiment with and find flavors that their child loves.
With our sweet orange sauce, even the pickiest eaters will find themselves asking for seconds!
⏲️ Time-Saving Tips for Busy Families
Our orange tofu is already a quick recipe to prep but here are some tips that can make this recipe even quicker:
- Use a Tofu Press: Consider investing in a tofu press. It's a time-saving tool that efficiently drains tofu, preparing it for cooking faster than traditional methods.
- Double the Recipe: If you have a large enough pan, consider doubling the recipe. This way, you'll have leftovers for another meal, saving you cooking time later in the week.
- Make Ahead: Our orange tofu keeps well, so it is a perfect recipe for making ahead on meal prep days. You can prepare the tofu and sauce in advance, then simply heat it up when you're ready to serve.
- Clean as You Go: Instead of leaving all the cleaning until after you've finished cooking, try to clean up as you go. This could be as simple as rinsing a measuring cup or wiping down the counter while waiting for something to cook.
- Organize Your Kitchen: Keep your kitchen organized so you can easily find what you need. This can significantly speed up your cooking process.
🥦Ingredient & Flavor Notes
- Firm Tofu: For this recipe, I use firm varitey because it holds its shape well during cooking while still absorbing the delicious marinade. If you opt for extra firm tofu, it may not soak up as much flavor.
- Tapioca Flour: This is used to give our tofu a delightful crispy exterior. I prefer Bob's Red Mill brand, but you can find tapioca flour at most grocery stores.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds: Toasting your own sesame seeds ensures they're fresh and roasted to your liking. The toasting process enhances their nutty flavor, adding an extra layer of depth to the dish.
Orange Sauce Ingredients:
- Soy Sauce: This adds a savory, umami flavor to the marinade. If you're gluten-free, make sure to choose a certified gluten-free version. Kikkoman is a reliable brand, or you can use coconut aminos as a soy-free alternative.
- Honey: I like using honey to make this a sticky orange sauce. Any honey will work, but raw honey has a more robust flavor. If you're vegan, maple syrup is a great substitute.
- Tomato Paste: This thickens the sauce and adds a rich, tangy flavor.
- Fresh Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice is key for that bright, citrusy flavor that makes this dish stand out.
- Orange zest: To help bring out that orangy delcious flavor
- Sesame Oil: This gives the sauce a toasty, nutty flavor. It's a small amount, but it makes a big difference!
- Fresh Garlic: Freshly minced garlic adds a punch of flavor that complements the other ingredients beautifully.
- Ginger Powder: This adds a warm, spicy note to the sauce. If you have fresh ginger, you can use that too!
We love eating orange tofu on top of jasmine rice with green onions. But feel free to enjoy it with your favorite sides. Cauliflower rice is a good alternative if you are grain free.
Please refer to the recipe card for exact quantities.
💡Recipe Tips For the Best Orange Tofu
Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect sticky and crispy orange tofu recipe:
- Drain: Before you start, make sure to drain your tofu properly. You can use a tofu press or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture. Read more here
- Don't Overcook: Overcooking the tofu can make it dry. Aim for a golden brown color on the outside, but it should still feel slightly squishy to the touch.
- Marinate for Flavor: Tofu is like a sponge—it absorbs the flavors of whatever it's cooked with. Cube your firm or extra firm tofu and let it sit in the marinade for at least two hours to soak up all the delicious flavors.
- Balance the Sauce: The key to a great orange tofu is a well-balanced sauce. Make sure your sauce has the right balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. So taste will you cook!
- Experiment and Enjoy: Don't be afraid to experiment with different flavors and textures. Add chili powder, onion powder, or more orange juice. The joy of cooking comes from trying new things and discovering what you love.
👩🏽🍳Instructions for Making Orange Tofu
Step 1: Cube and marinate
Take your firm tofu out of the package and cut it into cubes. Next press tofu by wrapping your cubes in a paper towel or clean kitche towel to remove excess moisture.
To a large bowl, add all the ingredients for the orange sesame tofu marinade and mix well. Then place the cubed tofu into the orange sesame marinade and mix until evenly coated.
Pro Tip: when mixing the tofu in the marinade be gentle. I like to use clean hands to ensure I am not breaking the tofu into little pieces. If you have the time, let the tofu sit in the marinade for up to 2 hours in the fridge (or even overnight).
Step 2: Bake the tofu
Using a slotted spoon or tongs take remove each tofu cube from the marinade and place it into a mixing bowl. Add in the tapioca flour and gently mix until coated. Reserve the rest of the marinade for later.
Place tofu onto a non-stick baking pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Step 3: Cook down the marinade
Meanwhile, while the tofu bakes, add the remaining orange sesame marinade to a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce becomes sticky. this should take about 5 minutes and be worth the process. This will kick this recipe up a notch and gives the orange sesame tofu it's sticky texture!
This is the secret to this recipe, the crispy tofu and this sticky sauce!
Step 4: Mix
Once the tofu has finished baking, pour the orange sesame sauce overtop and then sprinkle the roasted sesame seeds on top!
- Honey: If you are vegan or don't have Honey in the pantry you can use maple syrup or brown sugar instead. You may have to adjust the cooking time depending on the grade of your maple syrup.
- Tofu: this recipe is amazing on chickpeas, cannellini beans, and chicken.
- Chickpeas: Follow the same steps as described here but use canned or cooked chickpeas in place of the raw tofu. Marinade the chickpeas in the orange sesame sauce for only 5 minutes.
- Orange Cauliflower: One of our favorite alternatives to tofu is to make it with cauliflower. It makes a delicious side or easy app. Here is an easy recipe.
- Cannellini beans: Skip the baking step and cook the sauce and beans together.
- Chicken: You can follow all the same steps as described but adjust the cooking time to allow the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature.
- Tapioca flour: You can substitute corn starch, arrowroot, or potato starch for this ingredient.
- Roasted sesame seeds: While sesame seeds are the preferred ingredient you can use pumpkin seeds as well.
Oven: For this recipe, we baked the tofu in the oven and cooked the marinade in a pan over the stove.
Air Fryer Version: I did experiment with cooking the tofu in an air frier and I almost love the results more. It resulted in a shorter cooking time and much crispier tofu. Cook it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. We love the ninja air fryer and use it almost daily!
🥡Storing your Orange Tofu
In the Fridge: Store any leftover vegan orange chicken recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating: When you're ready to enjoy your leftovers, you can reheat them in the microwave for a quick meal. Alternatively, for a crispier texture, reheat the tofu on the stovetop over medium heat until it's warmed through. If the tofu seems dry, you can add a splash of water or a bit more orange sauce to moisten it.
Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze your orange tofu. Place it in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible. It can be frozen for up to 2 months. When you're ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat as directed above.
Tofu itself is very plain in flavor butit is like a sponge—it absorbs the flavors of whatever it's cooked with. To infuse it with more flavor, let the tofu marinate for at least two hours or even overnight if possible. The longer it marinates, the more flavor it will absorb.
The stickiness of the sauce depends on reducing it properly. If your sauce isn't sticky, it might not have been cooked long enough. Continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat until it reduces to a thick, glossy consistency.
For this recipe, firm tofu is the best choice. It holds its shape well during cooking while still absorbing the delicious marinade. Soft tofu may break apart during cooking, and extra firm tofu might not absorb as much flavor.
Orange tofu is versatile and pairs well with a variety of sides. You can serve it with steamed rice, quinoa, or noodles. For a low-carb option, try cauliflower rice. Add some steamed or stir-fried vegetables for a balanced meal.
Yes, despite the many misconceptions tofu is a healthy food to consume. It has been shown to be protective against cancer and has many beneficial nutrients and vitamins, such as zinc and iron.
I hope you enjoyed this vegan orange tofu recipe. If you made it please leave a star rating and let me know what you thought! If you are looking for other recipes try one of these:
Sticky orange sesame tofu recipe
- 1 block firm tofu cubed
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot, you may need to add more if your tofu is cubed small. Make sure they are all evenly coated with a thin layer)
Orange sesame sauce
- ⅓ cup soy sauce gluten free (or coconut aminos)
- ⅓ cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste (or tomato puree)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger ground
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then take your firm tofu out of the package cube and press or wrap in a clean towel to remove any extra mositure.
- Then in a medium mixing bowl add in all the sauce ingredients and mix well.
- Add the cubed tofu to the marinade and mix gently. For best results let the tofu sit in the orange sesame sauce for 2 hours in the fridge.
- Using tongs remove each tofu cube from the marinade and place them into a mixing bowl. Reserve the leftover marinade for later.
- Add the tapioca flour to the tofu and gently toss until coated. Then place tofu onto a non-stick (or oiled) baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The tofu cubes will be crispy and golden.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining tofu marinade to a saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until the sauce becomes sticky, about 5 minutes.
- When the tofu is finished baking add to a serving bowl. Pour the cooked marinade over top then sprinkle the tosated sesame seeds on top. Serve with rice and some steamed veggies.
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- Pal, M., & Sarkar, P. (2019). Tofu: A popular food with high nutritional and health benefits. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 7(3), 157-166.
- Dyall, S. C. (2015). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7, 52.
- Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy, 56(8), 365-379.