To many, tofu is a mystery. Does it taste like anything? Why is the texture so weird? What are the different texture options? I get it. I am actually not a ride-or-die tofu fan, but I do love tofu. What gives?
When it comes to good tofu, for me, it’s all about how it’s prepared, and I’m kinda picky about it. Tofu doesn’t have much of a taste, so it needs flavor and salt. And that mushy texture isn’t appealing to me, so I choose an extra-firm tofu variety, press it (see recipe), chop it up and roast it until firm, crispy and chewy. Prepared like this, tofu is delicious, hearty, satisfying, versatile & easy.
Now let’s talk flavor. You can really add any flavor profile you want. Like my Chipotle Roasted Tofu, it’s perfect for Mexican-inspired dishes like enchiladas and burrito bowls. Or my Curry Roasted Tofu which I love for Asian-style noodles, curries and rice dishes. For this roasted tofu, cumin takes center stage with a hint of lemon. I use this tofu when adding to Mediterranean and North African-inspired dishes.
This recipe is also a winner because it’s a Lean Pantry recipe, one that utilizes my Lean Pantry Stock List. That means I can make this recipe with no planning because everything I need should, in theory, be stocked. Tofu actually has a pretty long shelf life unopened, so for me it makes perfect sense to always have more than a few blocks in the fridge. Just add fresh lemon, a selection of standard Lean Pantry spices, oil and salt, super simple. No wonder I make this tofu on the regular. Give it a try, if you think you don’t like tofu, this just might change your mind.
Cumin Roasted Tofu
1 block extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
Preheat oven 425 degrees (f). Press tofu for 15-30 minutes. I do this by wrapping the tofu in a clean dishcloth and sandwiching the block between two dinner plates or cutting boards with a weight on top, usually a partially filled tea kettle.
Combine all ingredients olive oil through salt in a large mixing bowl. When tofu is finished pressing, cut or tear into bite size cubes/pieces. Gently toss tofu cubes with oil/spice mixture. It’s ok if they fall apart a little.
Spread tofu onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Flip and rearrange tofu pieces. Continue cooking for another 20+ minutes or until desired texture is reached. Note that the tofu’s texture becomes slightly firmer and chewier as it cools.
Meal Prep & Leftovers: I love this tofu cold, but it can easily be reheated in the microwave, toaster oven or conventional oven, 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
Meal Idea: pita bread or wraps with Cumin Roasted Tofu, Harissa Hummus, shredded lettuce & carrots tossed in lemon or vinegar, charred red onions, jarred peperoncini peppers