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Easy Pan Fried Balsamic Tofu is an incredibly tasty recipe you can make in 20 minutes. The balsamic maple sauce intermingled with tamari, garlic, and fresh herbs coats and infuses the tofu with a sweet, acidic and umami taste. Roasted red peppers add a lightly sweet, smoky flavor and a beautiful color. This is a healthy vegan tofu dish everyone will love.

What is Tofu and Why Is It Good to Eat?

Tofu is a high protein soy-based food that is made from coagulated soy milk that has been pressed into a block. It has a mild taste, perfect for soaking up the flavors of a delicious sauce.

Tofu is a great alternative to meat. Eating less meat helps protect our environment. The production of animal-based foods—puts a lot of pressure on the land and water used to grow animals.

Animal agriculture causes significant environmental degradation, from biodiversity loss to deforestation. It is responsible for about half of the food system’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

We need alternate forms of protein. Organic tofu is an excellent food from a nutritional and health perspective and good for the planet.

To get a nice chewy texture from the pan fried tofu in this recipe, get extra firm tofu! I recommend buying organic, non-GMO for best quality.

Is Tofu Healthy?

I get this question a lot because there is a lot of controversy about tofu.

In general the answer is yes, tofu can be eaten as part of a healthy diet. It has been consumed for at least 2,000 years in China. It’s abundant with amino acids, iron and calcium and is the most popular source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

While there is some concern that eating soy might have harmful effects on the human hormone system, because of the isoflavones, it’s safe for most adults to eat it. To find out more read Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Healthy?

Dr Mark Hyman says “YES to eating whole real, soy. Read more about his research here. He has many tofu recipes on his blog.

Is tofu a perfect food? No it is not, there is no such thing as a perfect food. All the foods we eat have positive and negative qualities, that’s okay. Even foods like spinach and kale have good and bad qualities. Read more about it in my article Is Spinach Really Good For You?

Eating a variety of foods in moderation is the way to go, not too much of anything.

You can feel good adding this pan fried tofu recipe to your weekly meal rotation!

Ingredients to Make Pan Fried Balsamic Tofu

This is a quick and easy recipe, perfect for a weeknight. It holds up well and is good for lunch the next day.

Here is what you need to make this incredible dish full of sweet, salty and savory tastes.

  • extra firm tofu
  • aged balsamic vinegar, good quality (I buy the Whole Foods brand, this is also a good brand)
  • garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • gluten free tamari
  • fresh oregano and thyme, dried can be substituted but the taste won’t be as fresh.
  • black pepper
  • organic roasted red peppers from a jar or make your own (organic is best since the EWG has them as one of the most sprayed vegetables)

How To Pan Fry Tofu

You can make this recipe without pressing the tofu. It’s fast, no time waiting needed on a busy weeknight, just cut and cook.

  1. Cut the tofu into large cubes. First cut in half horizontally, then into quarters widthwise and lengthwise (see photo above). Place on a kitchen towel to gently dry.
  2. Cook side 1: Place the tofu in 2 tablespoons cold oil. Then bring it up to medium heat. Once it’s simmering, cook 5 to 6 minutes until one side is golden brown and not sticking to the pan.
  3. Flip the tofu: Use a fork or a spatula. If it’s sticking a lot let it cook a little longer before turning. I usually remove it from the heat to do this.
  4. Cook side 2: Return to the heat. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes until golden.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in balsamic marinade, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often until marinade begins to reduce and coat the cubes of tofu.
  6. Stir in roasted red pepper; remove from heat. Serve.

Tip: Use a cast iron or ceramic coated non-stick pan to prevent the tofu from sticking. I like this pan.

Serving

Serve this Balsamic Tofu with quinoa or rice. If you prefer less carbs use cauliflower rice. It would also be good over noodles or zucchini noodles since the sauce is so good. Sometimes I serve it over a bed of sautéed spinach or baby kale because I love eating lots of greens.

The recipe makes 2 large portions. For some it might be 4 portions but Roger and I eat the whole thing.

Storing

This dish holds up well for about 4 days refrigerated, but you’ll probably eat most of it the first day. Reheat in a saute pan or toaster oven.

This one of the best tofu recipes ever. I hope you enjoy it as much a we do. It’s incredibly delicious with a good balance of salty, sweet and umami flavors. Since it’s a quick, healthy and easy recipe, I include it in my regular weekly rotation. It’s good for you and good for our planet. Happy Cooking!

If you like this recipe, here are some more of my favorite vegan dishes:

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Easy Pan Fried Balsamic Tofu


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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x

Description

This an incredibly tasty recipe made with tofu, a balsamic marinade and roasted red peppers you can make in 20 minutes. It’s a healthy, vegan tofu dish everyone will love.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

Make the sauce:

  1. Combine balsamic, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, Dijon, oregano, thyme, black pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil in a glass measuring cup or bowl; stir with a whisk. Set aside.

Pan fry the tofu:

  1. Cut the tofu into large cubes. First cut in half horizontally, then into quarters widthwise and lengthwise (see photo above). Place on a kitchen towel to gently dry.
  2. Cook side 1: Place the tofu in 2 tablespoons cold oil. Then bring it up to medium heat. Once it’s simmering, cook 5 to 6 minutes until one side is golden brown and not sticking to the pan.
  3. Flip the tofu: Use a fork or a spatula. If it’s sticking a lot let it cook a little longer before turning. I usually remove it from the heat to do this.
  4. Cook side 2: Return to the heat. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes until golden.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in balsamic marinade, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often until marinade begins to reduce and coat the cubes of tofu.
  6. Stir in roasted red pepper, remove from heat. Serve.
  7. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan or toaster oven.

Notes

If you roast your own red peppers, you’ll need 1 cup sliced

  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Lunch, Dinner
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Gluten Free

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