This black bean tofu recipe is salty, chewy and addictively good. Made with just 8 ingredients and just 5 minutes of hands on prep, it makes for an easy vegan dinner alongside some roasted or steamed broccoli and your favourite whole grain or noodle.
Black bean sauce is a staple in Cantonese cooking…and a classic flavour from the old school small town Canadian Chinese restaurant I grew up with as a kid so this dish is super nostalgic for me. It’s also a fantastic easy weeknight meal as the sauces provide so much flavour without a lot of extra work because I’m all about a bit of convenience on a plant-based diet! For example, I never make my own spaghetti sauce on a weeknight. Why would you when perfectly delicious jarred ones exist?
How to cook tofu in the oven so it’s not mushy
A lot of tofu recipes ask you to press the tofu before you cook it, which is fine…if you remember to do it. Most of the time, I’m winging dinner so I pretty much never press it. Instead, baking tofu without any moisture-rich sauces, for just a little longer, lets the oven do the work! It will evaporate excess moisture and it’s hands off work.
So for this crispy oven baked black bean tofu, we’ll bake the tofu with nothing but a bit of oil, salt and pepper until the edges are crisp and then we’ll toss it in a sauce that will cling to the tofu.
A couple of other tips for chewy (never mushy!) oven baked tofu: shape and space matter too. By cutting tofu into thin triangles (or small 1/2 inch cubes) there is more surface area to crisp. And be sure not to crowd the tofu! Use a large enough baking sheet that there is space for air to circulate around each piece.
What you’ll need to make this oven baked black bean tofu
This dish is ALL about the sauce. Most of these ingredients are readily available in the Asian foods aisle of any supermarket, except for the Shaoxing cooking wine. I’ve got a source for you below…and sub options if need be! This dish does have a higher level of salt, so if you are on a sodium restriction, it might not be right for you.
- Shaoxing cooking wine: this Chinese cooking wine easy to find at T&T Supermarket or use another cooking rice wine like mirin
- Black bean sauce: while vegan, black bean sauce is not strictly gluten free so this recipe does have a little bit of gluten from soy sauce so it’s not suitable for those with celiac disease. Anyone avoiding gluten as a preference should be A-OK because the amount is tiny.
- Sesame oil: this dark, flavourful oil lends a nutty earthiness to the dish
- Tamari: gluten free tamari or regular soy sauce, for well, extra umami and straight up salt
- Ginger: ginger has a bright, zing-y heat that’s good for the tummy and packs a ton of anti-inflammatory benefits
How to turn this black bean tofu into an easy vegan sheet pan dinner
Cut 1 pound (450g) of broccoli into florets, toss with another tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper and roast on a separate sheet at the same time as the tofu. Just be sure to put the tofu on the rack closest to the heat source for a better texture! Double the sauce recipe, and then just toss the whole thing with half the sauce before serving. Serve the remaining sauce alongside.
Health benefits of tofu
There is a ton of misinformation about tofu online; it’s essentially a cheese made from whole soybean milk instead of dairy milk. Not only is it not harmful, it has a ton of health benefits. This post on the health benefits of tofu will help clear up the misinformation.
Try these healthy tofu recipes
Oven Baked Black Bean Tofu
- 12 ounce block of extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons black bean sauce I used Lee Kum Kee brand
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine or other rice wine
- 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon pure cane sugar or maple syrup
For serving, optional
- 2 green onions thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 pound broccoli steamed, sauteed or roasted
- your favourite whole grain or noodle brown rice, millet, wheat berries
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pat tofu dry and slice into 1/2 inch (1cm) slices. Then cut each slice into 4 triangles by cutting in half and then half again diagonally.
- In a medium bowl, gently toss cubes with oil, salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. If baking broccoli, toss florets in another tablespoon of oil and arrange on another sheet.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until browned and crisp on outside. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, whisk together black bean sauce, Shaoshing wine, tamari, sesame oil and ginger.
- Carefully add roasted tofu to the bowl, toss with sauce and serve with broccoli and a grain or noodle.