Lean Protein

Sesame-Soy Tofu Sauté

Tofu over greens w-type

Sometimes we need a change from the usual meat based protein choices.  Tofu is great because you can toss it in your shopping cart, throw in in the fridge and forget about it.  Unlike fresh meats, it is usually dated so far out that you can remember it when you need too.

It is a horror when I realize that I have a virtually empty fridge, but a surprising treat when I see hug block of extra firm organic tofu tucked away in the corner!  We need to accept that sometimes we need to grab what we can when we can.  If you have fresh or frozen veggies on hand and a hunk of tofu you are in business to create a complete, healthy, yummy meal.

Tofu is tasty with so many sauces and flavors.  The extra firm version is hearty, holds its shape and tastes great while offering the potential benefits of fermented soy.

Tofu in Bowls w-line

A few benefits to having that hunk of tofu around:

  • Cut costs: It is a cheaper option than most meats and fish.  In light of the current global financial crisis, cutting back on the cost of a good meal is a great idea!
  • Availability: A long shelf life makes tofu a great grab and go to item.  Keep it on hand to keep you cooking those healthy homemade meals.
  • Protein alternative: Animals are not the only source for your daily protein.  Plant based proteins are a great alternative.  Tofu contains all the essential amino acids plus isoflavones.
  • Environmental sustainability: Enjoy a meatless meal from time to time.  It is kind to your body and to the environment.  Tofu doesn’t hang out in packed feed lots, doesn’t create toxic waste and requires a lot less processing.  It is just fermented soy beans.  When you choose non GMO, organic tofu you make a mindful, sustainable choice.
  • Possible health benefits: The jury is out all the benefits, but tofu has isoflavones, is low in fat and is probably a good addition to a balanced diet.  For more on the Health benefits of tofu click the following link: MayoClinic: Soy Beans
  • Multi Use: Tofu takes on the characteristics of other protein choices in so many dishes.  Use it in chili, add some to your pasta dishes, soups, salads or just munch on it steamed or sauteed.  You can put a thick slice of tofu between two slices of toasted bread, spread some hummus, add a layer of baby spinach leaves and you have a great tasting sandwich. Tofu is such a valuable, versatile ingredient!
  • For the kids: Cubed tofu packs up really well in the lunchbox! Cut into small chunks tofu is easy and fun for kids to eat as a snack or meal……with fingers or utensils!

You can find extra firm tofu in most markets.  I usually buy mine at Whole Foods, I like the Wildwood brand in extra firm.  It maintains its shape and the texture and taste are great.

Sesame-Soy Tofu Saute


  • Sesame Soy Marinade: I usually throw in a splash of each ingredient, the ratio’s don’t need to be exact. Double the recipe for the marinade if you want to make a dressing for your salad greens. It is simple, clean, yummy and lasts a number of days in the fridge.
  • It is handy having jars of garlic and ginger purée on hand.  You just scoop what you need and store the jar in the fridge for when you don’t have fresh ingredients available.  I have bought jars of both puree’s at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Dorot makes wonderful crushed frozen Garlic and Ginger cubes.


  • 1 16 oz Block Organic Extra Firm Tofu, drained, pat dry, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbs Organic Soy Sauce or gluten free Tamari
  • 1 tbs Fish Sauce (This is a briny sauce made from anchovy extract.  It adds loads of flavor. If you don’t have Fish Sauce use some extra Soy Sauce)
  • 3 tbs Mirin, or Brown Rice Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar for a vegan option
  • 1 tbs Toasted Sesame Oil (This toasted oil is nutty and full of flavor.)
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Garlic, or a sprinkle of Garlic Powder, or 2 tsp Garlic puree: see below
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Ginger, or a sprinkle of powdered Ginger, or  2 tsp Ginger puree: see below

It is handy having jars of Garlic and Ginger puree on hand.  You just scoop what you need and store the jar in the fridge for when you don’t have fresh ingredients available.  I have bought jars of both puree’s at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Dorot makes wonderful crushed frozen Garlic and Ginger cubes.


  1. Whisk together all ingredients, except Tofu,  in a medium bowl.
  2. Gently toss Tofu in bowl with sauce.  Let marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Spray pan with some oil.  Heat saute pan on medium high heat.
  4. Add Tofu mix.  Gently stir occasionally so all sides brown evenly.
  5. Cook Tofu until heated through and sauce is mostly evaporated.  The cubes will have nice, slightly crispy edges.
  6. Sprinkle with any of the embellishments below and gently toss again.
  7. Serve with veggies or on top of your salad!  If you made extra marinade, go ahead and drizzle some on top of you salad and toss.
Optional Toppings

Sprinkle on the following for taste and texture variations.

  • Gomashio(Toasted Sesame Seeds)
  • Furikake (Japanese Rice Seasoning)
  • Chopped Italian Parsley or Cilantro
  • A splash of Chili Oil
  • Hot Pepper Flakes
  • Chopped Green Onion
  • Chopped Peanuts
  • Dried, toasted minced Onion or Garlic

~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

One thought on “Sesame-Soy Tofu Sauté

  1. I love that! Tofu is a 4 letter word we like around here! Awesome. It is an amazing little protein that takes on the taste of whatever you want to to be. Sesame oil is just the thing to give it that zing!
    Thank you for all the shopping info. We always love all the Marla: what, where, when, how and why as for the who…..all your grateful followers who indulge in your healthy yummy recipies.
    Thank you so much! From our happy tummies to yours!