This Glazed Lemon Tofu is tangy with fresh lemon and zest, spicy with ginger and red pepper flakes, sweet with maple syrup and salty with a dash of soy sauce or tamari. It is ready in under 30 minutes, you don't have to turn on the oven, and you can even make it in one pot!
Tofu is magical when spiced, as you already know if you make full-flavored tofu recipes like this Chilli Tofu and Air Fryer Tofu. This sticky Glazed lemon tofu is just as magical. It has lashings of maple syrup and ginger woven through the tart, fresh lemon and it'll more likely than not have you licking your fingers and going, ooh, yummm!
This is a weeknight dish, or at least it's ostensibly so because it comes together so quickly and needs barely any prep. But it does does very well for weekends too when you want to spend your time doing things other than cooking but want a delicious meal nevertheless.
It comes together in one pot, in about 30 minutes, and it tastes amazing on a bed of brown rice with nothing more than a scattering of scallions. And as decadent as it tastes, it's really good for you.
It's packed with proteins, fiber and vitamins, and it has very little added oil. And I make it easy for you by cooking the tofu on the stovetop instead of baking it in the oven, so that saves you an added step of preheating your oven and waiting for the tofu to bake up.
- Use super firm or high protein tofu. I really love the texture of super firm tofu and it's a really easy tofu to cook because it holds up better than other kinds. But if you can't find this, extra firm tofu would be a decent substitute. You don't have to press water out of super firm tofu, but with extra firm, be sure to swaddle in paper towels and place in a colander with a weight on top for about 30 minutes so you get all the water you can out of it.
- The first time you brown the tofu, cut it into bigger pieces, which just makes it easier to take it in and out of the saucepan. And there's less flipping and turning over than if you were to cut it into cubes off the bat.
- Use a good non-stick pan to brown the tofu. As much as I love my cast iron and steel pots and pans, I keep a non-stick skillet on hand precisely for dishes like these, where I want to brown foods without adding too much oil.
- You can make your sauce in the non-stick skillet, to make this a one-pot dish. But if you're a guy or gal who prefers to make their sauces in a saucepan (aren't you a stickler?) you can certainly do so, but you'll have two things to wash.
- There's lot of lemon in this recipe -- about six tablespoonfuls of juice -- and the zest of two lemons, but then you really want it to be lemony and tofu is like a flavor sponge, so don't skimp.
- The lemon goes in at two -- even three -- stages. You will marinate the tofu in lemon before it goes on the skillet, there's lemon in the sauce, and finally I just sprinkle on a wee bit of lemon zest on top while serving to give that final lemony hit.
All you really need to serve with this dish is rice -- brown or white are both perfectly fine. There's a decent amount of sauce in this recipe, and the rice will soak it up. Better still, the flavors of the sauce are robust enough to stand up to brown rice. Sprinkle on some scallions for a really nice flavor finish.
I'd probably also serve some steamed veggies on the side, like bok choy or chard or broccoli for a complete and decadent -- not to forget healthy -- meal.
- Super firm tofu (or high protein tofu)
- Vegetable oil
- Maple syrup
- Vegetable stock (water is fine as a substitute, but stock adds great flavor)
- Red pepper flakes
- Tapioca starch
- Toasted sesame seeds
More tasty vegan tofu recipes
- How to marinate and bake tofu for Indian dishes
- Easy Mango Chipotle Glazed Tofu
- Oven Blackened Tandoori Tofu
- Tofu Makhani
- Easy Tofu Curry
Glazed Lemon Tofu
- 16 oz super firm tofu (cut into 4 slices lengthwise, then each of those slices cut into 3 for a total of 12 pieces)
For the marinade:
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- Zest of two lemons (divided. Half for the marinade, other half for the sauce)
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon ginger (finely grated)
- 1 teaspoon garlic (about 1 clove, also finely grated or crushed)
- 2 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon tapioca starch (or corn starch)
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Place the skillet on medium heat. Place the slices of tofu on it and pour on the marinade, ingredients (with half the lemon zest). Dredge the tofu through the marinade using a fork or a pair of tongs to make sure each slice is coated on all sides. Continue browning the tofu over medium-high heat until each side turns golden-brown. Remove and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.
- In the same skillet, mix the lemon juice, the remaining half of the zest, ½ cup of vegetable stock, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, tamari and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Whisk the tapioca starch or cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup of vegetable stock and add it to the sauce, stirring rapidly as you mix. The sauce should thicken almost immediately. Let it come to a boil, then add the cubed tofu back to the pan and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes until the sticky sauce glazes the tofu but you still have enough sauce left over to spoon over your rice. Check if you need salt, stir in the sesame seeds and turn off the heat.
Made this tonight, but in the oven - cooked along with broccoli at the same time. Super good. Thank you
So happy to hear that, Kate! Thanks for letting me know.
Do leftovers freeze well? I'm a new plant-based diet convert for my kidney health and my husband is all carnivore. I'd love to make this, freeze leftovers and have a grab-and-go meal. All of your recipes sound amazing! Thanks!
Hi Becky, you can freeze it but the texture of tofu gets altered once frozen--it becomes rather chewy, which some people might like, but that's something to keep in mind.
Hello, when do you use the other half of the zest? Thanks!
With the marinade! I've clarified in the recipe. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes, Vaishali. I enjoy the spices and flavors so very much. These are the tastiest, and easiest vegan Indian recipes, I have found. I feel so healthy when I eat these and my friends enjoy these foods too. Namaste.
Margaret, that's so lovely to hear--thank you!!
Hi Vaishali, I’ve just managed to convert my tofu phobic husband by creating this amazing dish ising two camping stones while on hols in Cambodia. He absolutely loved the resulting meal despite his scepticism and I adored it too despite having to compromise on one or two ingredients. Can’t wait to try when home with extra firm tofu. Had to adjust using aqua fans instead of veg stock, with the addition of chopped bell peppers and some frozen peas to finish all served on a bed of quinoa - it was knockout on both flavour and texture!! Many thanks, you’re always my go to on hols if I’m struggling for inspiration with locally sourced ingredients!!
Hi Fiona, so happy to hear! And what an amazing story. Love it. 🙂