Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Hey guys! As I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week, I won’t be doing a meal prep post this Sunday because I wasn’t able to cook anything all week and I want to get the recipes that have been in my head a while posted. BUT the recipes I’ve been brewing in my mind are all bowl-style meals, which are perfect for meal prep, so you’ll have a few new meal prep ideas anyway. Win-win! The first bowl meal idea I had are these super delish Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Because this marinated tofu is fairly “wet” from soaking in the marinade, I skipped my usual cornstarch coating and simply fried them up in a non-stick skillet (the non-stick really helps when your marinade has sugar). The tofu doesn’t get crispy this way as it does with the cornstarch method, but the excess marinade caramelizes on the outside, which is really delightful.

I also tested baking the marinated tofu in the oven (350ºF for about 20-25 minutes), and it was also good, but I personally preferred the pan fried version for the caramelized edges. But if you don’t like using non-stick skillets, I suggest using the baking method.

And one last note: I used a brown basmati rice that I had purchased at Aldi, but you could use just about any rice type that you like. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package for the correct cooking time and rice to water ratio, and include some salt to help make the sesame flavor pop later.

Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

For this recipe you’ll be doing multiple things at once, between the pressing and marinating tofu, cooking the rice, and making the peanut sauce, so make sure to read through the instructions completely before beginning.

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com
4.89 from 27 votes
Print

Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. 

Total Cost $7.19 recipe / $1.80 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Soy Marinated Tofu

  • 14 oz. firm tofu $1.99
  • 1 Tbsp light oil* $0.06
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03

Sesame Rice**

  • 2 cups brown rice $1.20
  • 3.25 cups water $0.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.26

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup natural style creamy peanut butter $0.36
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha $0.09
  • 1 tsp soy sauce $0.02
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 tsp brown sugar $0.01
  • 3 Tbsp hot water $0.00

Other Ingredients

  • 1 tsp oil for pan frying $0.02
  • 1/2 lb. snap peas*** $2.50
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds $0.08

Instructions

  1. Begin by pressing the tofu for about 30 minutes to remove the excess moisture. Place the block of tofu between two flat plates, rimmed baking sheets, or cutting boards and place something heavy on top, like a cast iron skillet or a pot full of water. If using cutting boards or something without a rim to hold in the water that seeps out, place paper towels or a clean dishcloth under the tofu to catch the liquid as it is expelled.

  2. While the tofu is pressing, begin the rice. Cook your rice according to the package directions, making sure to include salt. Once the rice has cooked, fluff it with a fork and then drizzle 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil over top. Fold the oil into the rice, making sure not to stir too vigorously, then repeat with the second 1/2 Tbsp of sesame oil. The rice should now have a wonderful toasty nutty flavor and aroma. Set the rice aside.

  3. Once the tofu has pressed, pour off the excess liquid. Slice the block of tofu into 16 triangles (I cut the thickness of the block in half, then cut the stacked halves into quarters, and each piece into two triangles). Place the tofu pieces in a shallow bowl or dish.

  4. In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the tofu marinade: oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, and brown sugar. Pour the marinade over the tofu pieces and turn them all to make sure all sides are coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice during that time. After 20 minutes, most of the marinade should be absorbed.

  5. While the tofu is marinating and the rice is cooking prepare the spicy peanut sauce. In a bowl stir together the peanut butter, sriracha, soy sauce, grated ginger, brown sugar, and enough hot water to create a smooth sauce (3-4 Tbsp). Set the sauce aside.

  6. Once the tofu has marinated, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium flame. Add just a splash of oil to the skillet (about 1 tsp) and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the tofu pieces and any remaining marinade, and cook on each side until deeply browned. 

  7. Once the tofu pieces are browned, remove them from the skillet and add the snap peas. Quickly sauté the snap peas in the skillet until they turn bright green and are still crisp. You just want to remove the raw edge. Remove them from the skillet to prevent over cooking.

  8. To build the bowls, add about 1.5 cups sesame rice to each bowl and then top with 1/4 of the tofu pieces and snap peas. Drizzle spicy peanut sauce over each bowl and then sprinkle sliced green onions and sesame seeds over each.

Recipe Notes

* Use a light flavored oil like canola, grape seed, light olive, or an untoasted sesame oil.

**I used a brown basmati rice but you can use any variety that you like. Just be sure to follow the package instructions for the correct cooking time and water to rice ratio.

***If you can't find snap peas at a decent price, you can use broccoli florets in their place. 

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

For this recipe you’ll be doing multiple things at once, between the pressing and marinating tofu, cooking the rice, and making the peanut sauce, so make sure to read through the instructions completely before beginning.

Press Tofu

Begin by pressing a 14oz. block of firm tofu for about 30 minutes. I like to do it between two plates because the rim on the plate catches the runoff so you don’t have to wrap it in a paper towel. Just place something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet or a pot full of water and half hour later you’ll have…

Expelled Tofu Liquid

All that liquid that is pressed out of the tofu! The reason you want to do this is because it makes room for the tofu to soak up the flavorful marinade and makes sure the tofu has a nice firm texture instead of being soft and mushy. Pour off the liquid. Before we move on to what to do with the tofu after it’s pressed, you’ll want to start cooking your rice while the tofu is pressing…

Cooked Rice

While the tofu is pressing begin cooking your rice, especially if you’re using a brown rice like I did, because that will take at least 30 minutes. You can use whatever type of rice you want, just make sure to follow the package directions for the correct amount of water to use for 2 cups dry rice and the correct cooking time. Also make sure to include some salt to help the sesame flavor pop later.

Toasted Sesame Oil

After your rice has cooked, sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil over the rice and gently fold it into the rice. Then repeat with the second 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil. Set the seasoned rice aside. Make sure to use toasted sesame oil and not just regular sesame oil because the toasted sesame oil has a MUCH stronger nutty flavor. If the label doesn’t say “toasted” you can tell by the color of the oil. Toasted sesame oil is a dark brown color, whereas regular sesame oil is a light straw color.

Add Marinade to Tofu

While the rice is cooking your tofu will probably be ready to start marinating. Cut the pressed tofu block into 16 triangles (I cut the thickness of the block in half, then cut the stacked halves into quarters, and each rectangle into two triangles). In a small bowl stir together 1 Tbsp light flavored oil, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 clove of garlic (minced), and 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Place the tofu triangles in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over top.

Tofu Marinating

Make sure both sides of the tofu pieces are coated in marinade. Let it marinate for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice during that time.

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients

While the tofu is marinating, make the spicy peanut sauce. In a bowl stir together 1/4 cup natural style cream peanut butter, 1 Tbsp sriracha, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp brown sugar, and about 3-4 Tbsp hot water or enough to make a smooth sauce that is thin enough to drizzle.

Spicy Peanut Sauce Finished

Once the sauce is mixed together, set it aside. You can always start with just a small amount of sriracha and add more to your liking.

Tofu Absorbed Marinade

After about 20 minutes the tofu will have absorbed most of the marinade.

Cooked Tofu

Now it’s time to cook the tofu. I used a non-stick skillet because the sugar in the marinade will make it more likely to stick. I only added a splash of oil to the skillet since the marinade already has some in it. Heat the skillet over medium, then add the tofu pieces and any remaining marinade. Cook the tofu pieces on each side until browned and caramelized on the edges.

Sautéed Snap Peas

Remove the tofu from the skillet, then add 1/2 lb. snap peas. Sauté the snap peas very briefly, or just until they turn bright green. I didn’t even add any extra oil to the skillet, there was enough residual oil to make these peas nice and glossy. Once the peas are just barely cooked, remove them from the skillet.

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

Finally, to build the bowls, place about 1.5 cups of the sesame rice in each bowl and top with 1/4 of the tofu pieces and snap peas. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top, then sprinkle sliced green onions and sesame seeds over everything.

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

That peanut sauce, tho… 🙌

These vegan Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls are full of rich flavors and plenty of texture to keep your taste buds happy and your belly full. BudgetBytes.com

Hiya! 👋