Sesame Crusted Tofu

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This sesame-crusted tofu recipe is the perfect thing to whip out on those manic weeknights when time is precious. The creamy tofu blends beautifully with the crunchy sesame crust and savory marinade. A well-rounded meal that’s speedy, comforting, and oh-so-delicious!

Love this? Try this Easy Fried Tofu, this Tofu Coconut Curry, or this 20-Minute Crispy Teriyaki Tofu.

I’ll be the first to say that smooth and silky tofu is one of my favorite things to pull out on Meatless Monday.

My regular rotation of tofu recipes includes everything from coconut curries and poke bowls to incredible ciabatta sandwiches.

But sometimes, you just want next-level crunch, a sweet and salty marinade, and a glorious mouthfeel.

And the good news is, this crispy sesame tofu does ALL of that and more!

Enjoy these tasty tofu slices hot for a light dinner, or pop them in a bento box for a quick and healthy lunch that’ll keep you chugging along for hours.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Tofu: Use extra firm tofu if you can as it won’t crumble. Otherwise, regular plain tofu is fine! Sometimes I also use smoked tofu for this recip, which makes it extra smokey and full of flavor!
  • Soy sauce: You’ll use this in both the dipping sauce and the marinade for a touch of saltiness. Switch this out for tamari if you’re gluten-free!
top view of ingredients for sesame-crusted tofu: sliced extra firm tofu, white sesame seeds, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic powder, and vegetable oil
  • Rice wine vinegar: Perfect to marinate the tofu. It gives it a zingy flavor.
  • Unsweetened soy milk: You can use virtually any plant-based milk for this recipe. But I find soy milk pairs well with the rest of the ingredients and isn’t too strong.
  • White sesame seeds and black sesame seeds: You can use just one color if you like, but I appreciate the aesthetics of a mixture of sesame seeds!
  • Chickpea flour: This is crucial for getting those sesame seeds to stick to the tofu (without using gluten flour or egg wash!). If you don’t have it, any other flour works perfectly fine.

Optional for serving

  • Rice: I like using brown rice or cauliflower rice to serve!
  • Salt & Chili Edamame: I adore pairing tofu recipes with salt and chili edamame as it adds protein, texture, and a pleasant kick of heat.
  • Green onions: For a pop of color and a hint of healthy crunch!

How to Make Sesame Crusted Tofu

  1. Preheat the oven: Before you do anything, you’ll want to set your oven to 350F (180C). Just FYI, you should use untoasted sesame seeds here as they’ll get gorgeously toasted in the oven!
  2. Prepare the tofu: To get truly crispy sesame tofu, drain the extra-firm tofu slices and press them well until all extra moisture is squeezed out. This will prepare your tofu to absorb the marinade. Then, slice the tofu into ½-inch thick pieces and place them on a plate or in a shallow dish.
Freshly cut extra firm tofu arranged neatly on a shallow dish with black sesame seeds, lemon, white sesame seeds and rice vinegar
  1. Make the marinade: Whisk the soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic, and rice vinegar in a small bowl before pouring the marinade on the tofu pieces. Coat them well and let them sit for at least 10-15 minutes.
  1. Prepare the dipping sauce: While your tofu is marinating, add the chickpea flour and soy milk to a shallow bowl. Whisk to combine until you get a creamy consistency. Then, add the soy sauce!
  1. Coat the tofu: Place the sesame seed mixture on a small plate and remove each tofu slice from the marinade (make sure you let the excess drip off!). Dip each piece of tofu in the marinade and press the tofu into the seeds to coat them well.
  1. Cook the tofu: Place the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip them halfway through for an even cook.
  1. Serve and enjoy: I love to eat this sesame crusted tofu with hot rice, a sprinkle of green onions, and a spoonful of delicious edamame! But the sky is the limit here! See below for more serving suggestions.

How to Store and Reheat

This sesame-crusted tofu is best served hot and eaten straight out of the oven (or pan/air fryer!). But it’s really good also eaten at room temperature if you have some leftovers (although it won’t be as crispy).

top view of a hand picking freshly baked sesame crusted tofu using chopsticks with cooked brown rice, white sesame seeds, miso dressing, edamame, and fresh green onions

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

You can then quickly reheat it with a little oil in a pan or pop it in a hot oven for 10 minutes!

Can I make it in a pan?

To make this recipe in a pan, heat oil (avocado or sesame are both great options!) in a large skillet on medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the tofu and pan fry until the tofu is golden brown and crispy (usually, all it takes is 1-2 minutes per side).

Can I make it in an air fryer?

If you’re air-frying these slices of delight, preheat your air fryer to 400F. 

Then, cook them in an even layer in your basket for about 10 minutes until crisp.

Do I need a tofu press?

It certainly helps to get excess moisture out of the tofu for a super-crispy result.

But honestly, you can get rid of this with a clean tea towel and a heavy object (like a cast-iron skillet!).

Serving Suggestions

I love adding this sesame-crusted tofu to a portion of garlic sesame noodles or a simple vegetable stir-fry!

It’s also perfect in poke bowls, sushi bowls, and bento boxes. Or served with a simple red cabbage salad.

top view of a plate with cooked brown rice topped with sesame crusted tofu, edamame beans, pickled ginger, chili flakes, and green onions with soy sauce, pickled ginger, miso dressing, black sesame seeds, edamame and chopped green onions on the side

But feel free to throw in stir-fried greens, a dash of peanut sauce, chili flakes, napa cabbage, or a bunch of hot sauce for extra flavor!

Why I Love Sesame Crusted Tofu

  • The crispy sesame crust is a texture-filled sensation
  • It’s packed with protein and glorious Asian flavors
  • Super simple to make and ready in minutes (including prep time!)
  • 100% vegan and loaded with nutrients

Also check 25 Easy Vegan Noodle Recipes Perfect For Dinner!

If you try this sesame crusted tofu recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

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Sesame Crusted Tofu

This sesame-crusted tofu recipe is the perfect thing to whip out on those manic weeknights when time is precious. The creamy tofu blends beautifully with the crunchy sesame crust and savory marinade. A well-rounded meal that’s speedy, comforting, and oh-so-delicious!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Glute-Free, Vegan
Servings: 4
Calories: 277kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces block extra-firm smoked tofu - you can also use regular tofu

For the marinade

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar - or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened soy milk - or any other milk of choice
  • 4 tablespoon chickpea flour - or cornstarch or regular flour

For the crust

  • 5 tablespoons white sesame seeds - see note 1
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds - you can use all white

For serving

Dipping sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) (note 2).
  • Drain the tofu and press it well until all the excess moisture is squeezed out so that it is ready to absorb the marinade.
  • Slice the tofu into ½-inch thick pieces (squares or rectangles) and place on a plate or shallow bowl.
  • Prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar. Pour the marinade on the tofu, coat well, and allow it to marinate for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • While the tofu is marinating, prepare the dipping sauce. Add the chickpea flour in a shallow bowl, slowly add the milk and whisk to combine until you get a creamy consistency. Then add the soy sauce.
  • Place the sesame seeds on a small plate. Remove each tofu slice from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off, then dip each piece in the marinade. Then dip in the sesame seeds and press well, coating each side and all around.
  • Place the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Serve hot with cooked rice, edamame, and green onions, or use it as a sandwich filler or as a lunch bowl topper.
  • Optional dipping sauce: You can use any dipping sauce you like. To make my favorite mix lemon juice, soy sauce, tahini, cold water, and maple syrup until combined. Add more water if you prefer it a bit runnier.

Notes

Note 1: Use raw untoasted sesame seeds. This is because the sesame seeds will toast in the oven.
Note 2: You can also prepare this sesame tofu in an air frier or in a pan.
To make it in an air fryer: Preheat to 400F. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for about 10 minutes until crisp.
To make it in a pan: Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado or sesame oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the tofu in the pan in one layer leaving enough space between each piece (work in batches if your pan isn’t big enough). Cook for around 3 minutes on each side until is gold and crispy.
How to store: This sesame crusted tofu is best served hot and eaten straight away. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Redhead in a hot pan with a bit of oil, or warm it up in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 16g | Sugar: 5g

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