This recipe for baked tofu with pesto sauce is so simple to prepare yet so flavorful. Serve it over brown rice, pasta, salad greens, or quinoa or even layer leftovers in a sandwich stacked with veggies. (Or you can just eat the baked tofu right off of the pan and dip the pieces in extra pesto.)
If you're new to purchasing tofu, make sure you know the different kinds of tofu so you don't buy the wrong type.This recipe requires Chinese-style extra-firm tofu which can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery, often near the organic products.
Read the note after the instructions about the importance of pressing tofu.
- For the Basil Cashew Pesto:
- 1 cup basil leaves (fresh)
- 2 tablespoon garlic (minced)
- 3/4 cup cashew pieces (raw)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- For the Tofu:
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu (pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Prepare the Pesto Sauce
- In a food processor, combine the basil leaves, garlic, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and sea salt, pulsing until finely chopped.
- With the machine still running, drizzle in a steady stream of the olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. You might not need to use the full 1/2 cup of olive oil or you might need more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Store pesto in a covered dish in the refrigerator until ready to use. Any leftover pesto will keep for 2 to 3 days stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Marinate the Tofu
- In a glass dish, gently toss the pressed tofu (see Note below) with 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and about 4 to 6 tablespoons of the basil cashew pesto sauce. Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to marinate.
- Before baking, toss the tofu with the liquid ingredients to make sure the cubes are evenly coated and then continue with the recipe.
Bake the Tofu
- Heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or oil it lightly and set aside.
- Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and serve the baked tofu over rice, pasta, or salad greens with a dollop of the remaining pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold.
Note: When baking tofu, it is important to press your tofu before tossing with liquid ingredients. Pressing tofu is a way of draining the excess liquid from the tofu so that it can best absorb flavors. Check out this simple article on how to press tofu. It's easier than you think.
- Serve over cooked brown rice with sun-dried tomatoes, steamed veggies, and a pinch of lemon zest.
- Serve over salad greens with an extra splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Serve in veggie wraps with extra pesto.
- Serve over cooked pasta tossed with extra pesto or melted garlic-infused dairy-free/vegan margarine.
- Toss the baked pesto tofu with stir-fried vegetables and rice or quinoa.