Marinated Tofu

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | January 22nd, 2020 | Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Marinated Tofu

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Make tofu your new, favorite protein

Prep Time 15 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 5 minutes

Course Main Course

Servings 4



  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • olive oil



  • Cut tofu block in half, so that you have 2 thinner blocks the same size as the package.
  • Wrap the tofu in a clean towel, and place on a rimmed baking pan.
  • Top tofu with another baking pan and place a weight on that pan, such as a half gallon of milk.
  • Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
  • In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic powder, and vinegar. Whisk thoroughly.
  • Remove tofu from refrigerator, and unwrap.
  • Cut it into small pieces, approximately 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Transfer tofu to an appropriately sized resealable container or bag, and pour marinade over tofu.
  • Seal and refrigerate for at least 12, if not 24, hours. Once or twice during the marinating process, give the container a gentle shake to insure that all pieces of tofu are covered in marinade.
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Place a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  • When heated, add tofu pieces. Do not add the marinade.
  • Cook for approximately 2 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a clean storage container. (You can save the marinade for serving.)
  • Serve atop a salad, in a wrap with an assortment of veggies, or on its own.


Having made this recipe twice, I have discovered that this recipe can be served without sautéing. The tofu will be more tender, but the taste is still fantastic. Plus, that eliminates the need to turn on the stove. The cold tofu is ready even faster!

Keyword tofu

I’ve been cooking with tofu for many years. Like anyone who cooks with tofu, I’ve learned that seasoning is key. Tofu on its own is boring, but tofu with a good amount of seasoning is pretty darn yummy. However, what I didn’t realize until just the past year or so is how key pressing tofu is. If you can remove a good amount of the moisture in tofu, it has so much more ability to absorb flavor. Although I thought my Marinated Tofu tasted good in the past, I now think it is great. Trust me, take the time to press your tofu; you’ll be glad that you did.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in July 2014, keep reading.

Sometimes in the summer I just want a dish that is completely cold.  I don’t want to turn on the oven or even reheat in the microwave. I simply want to take ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator and create a cooling meal.  That can be done quite simply by making a lunch of a piece of fruit and cheese and crackers.  However, that isn’t always filling enough.  It takes sustenance to power through an afternoon of work!

Thus, I ponder, how can I have a heartier meal that still is cool and refreshing?  Today’s recipe is one way that I have been able to do so.  Although not a vegetarian, I enjoy many a plant-based dish.  Tofu is an ingredient that I have come to love over the past decade.  While naysayers declare it to be bland, I simply say that it just needs to be utilized correctly.

If you are hesitant about eating tofu, allow me to share one key hint.  You need to add flavor to tofu!  There is no magical set of ingredients; just choose the flavors you like and immerse your tofu in them.  I’ve made buffalo tofu bites and Korean tofu stir fry.  Both worked well, as have other mixtures.  Determine what flavor you want to enjoy, surround your tofu with those flavors for many hours (a day is ideal), and cook as you see fit.  You will find that tofu has much more appeal than you realized.

For this dish, allowing the tofu to hang out in the marinade for a day produced great flavor.  As I wanted to eat this as a cold dish, I began the process on Saturday night, so that I could have cold tofu for my lunch on Monday.  While I did start it a day and a half in advance, it took very little working time.  I spent 10 minutes dicing the tofu, mixing the marinade, and combing both in a bowl.  On Sunday evening I spent another 10-15 minutes sautéeing the tofu.  All I had to do on Monday was pack my lunch.  Yes, a decent amount of time passed between start and finish, but not much effort was actually required of me.

As a side note, if you’re looking for something warm, this tofu can be eaten immediately after cooking.  Serve it with some rice and veggies or other ingredients of your choice.

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