Sweet and Spicy Tofu

The one food that gets the biggest reaction and aversion in my practice is…TOFU.  To this day I am always wondering, “why does everyone hate tofu?”.  The only thing I can sum it up to is that it was not prepared correctly.

I’ll be the first to admit…tofu does not look enticing or taste very good straight out of the package. Honestly, it tastes bland and like nothing. It doesn’t even have a smell. However, there is magic in the blandness. Bland is exactly what makes tofu so great.  It doesn’t have its own flavor so it absorbs the flavor of whatever you want it to taste like (see marinade below).

Another thing that makes tofu great is that it has been used for centuries as an ancient super food with many health properties. Tofu contains powerful antioxidants called isoflavones.  Health properites of isoflavones may include protection against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, hormone-dependent cancer, and loss of cognitive function.

In the Chinese language, tofu means “bean curd”. If you are wondering how a soybean turns into tofu, check out this video.

Without further ado,  here is my favorite tofu marinade to make delicious baked tofu packed with protein, isoflavones, calcium, magnesium, and flavor!

Sweet and Spicy Tofu Marinade

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tbsp sambal oelek (chili paste – asian aisle)
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 package organic extra firm tofu*


  1. Open package of tofu and drain excess water. (Optional: If you want to press your tofu for a firmer consistency, using a homemade press** is an easy way.)
  2. Slice tofu into whatever shapes you prefer and place in a rectangular, glass baking dish for marinating.
  3. Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour over tofu and let soak for 30 minutes up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes each side. For firmer consistency, bake for 20 minutes each side.
  6. Serve over brown rice or quinoa and include your favorite roasted veggies. OR you can serve on top of an asian salad!

*It is always a good idea to buy soy products organic because soybeans are highly genetically modified.

**Tofu Press –

  1. Place a plate on the counter.
  2. On top of the plate, place a folded, clean dish towel.
  3. On top of the dish towel, place the tofu.
  4. On top of the tofu, place another clean dish towel.
  5. On top of the dish towel, place another plate.
  6. Place 2 to 3 cans, or a book, or skillet, or anything heavy over the the plate.
  7. Adjust their positioning so that the plate is well balanced over the tofu. Let the tofu with the weights sit for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

Author Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

More posts by Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

Leave a Reply