These Grilled Tofu Steaks are a perfect way to get some vegan protein during BBQ season! The tofu is marinated and then grilled to your liking for a low-carb, protein-packed, plant-based meal that will pair well with all of your favorite grill-out sides.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
No need to fret about being a vegan going to a BBQ or cookout anymore -these Grilled Tofu Steaks are entirely plant-based and tasty enough to eat all summer long.
This recipe is:
- Wholesome and healthy. Made with just extra-firm tofu, a few spices, some vinegar, veggie broth, and a touch of savory sesame oil, these grilled tofu steaks are 100% swimsuit season approved.
- Super easy. Aside from pressing tofu and whisking together a marinade, this recipe is pretty hands-off. In fact, you only need to spend about 10 minutes of active time to get it on the table!
- Versatile. Tofu has a tendency to soak up whatever flavors you throw at it, so check out some other marinade ideas in the Variations section below!
You can take the marinated tofu steaks to any grilling gathering and have them ready in no time. You can even bring them pre-grilled - they're tasty cold as well!
Ingredients & Subsitutions
These grilled tofu steaks are easy to make and use typical ingredients that most people have in their pantry. You will need:
- Extra Firm Tofu - you need it firm so it doesn't get floppy and stick to the grill. I like the kind that is not packed in water to eliminate the step of pressing it, but you can use water-packed tofu so long as you do press it.
- Sesame Oil - if you don't use oil, you can skip it. That said, I've found that the oil helps the marinade stick to the tofu better, and I also love the toasty, savory flavor it imparts. Feel free to swap in olive oil if needed.
- Tamari (low-sodium if needed) - you can substitute soy sauce if you don't need it to be gluten-free. If soy is off the table, try using coconut aminos (also gluten-free) or Bragg's liquid aminos (not gluten-free).
- Garlic Cloves - if you don't have fresh cloves, you can substitute ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Onion Powder - no peeling and no tears, but lots of yummy flavor!
- Apple Cider Vinegar - the acidity adds a punch of flavor that takes these grilled tofu steaks over the top. You can sub rice vinegar if you don't have ACV.
- Vegetable Broth - veggie broth adds lots of savory depth to the marinade. If you don't have any on hand, vegetable bouillon or plain water will also work.
- Mustard Powder - dried mustard powder is a huge flavor booster that doesn't take up much room in the spice cabinet. If you don't have it, swap in prepared yellow or spicy brown mustard.
How to Make
You're going to love this simple vegan BBQ recipe! Here's how it's done:
Step 1: Press Tofu. If you can only find tofu packed in water, you'll want to press it for at least 30 minutes. Feel free to use a tofu press (ADD AFFILIATE), or simply use a clean kitchen towel, a sheet pan, and a heavy can.
Step 2: Make Marinade. Mix all the marinade ingredients (except tofu) in a bowl.
Step 3: Marinate! Cut tofu into 4 slabs and place into an 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch casserole dish (or another dish with a lid). Pour marinade on top of the tofu and let it marinate for at least an hour (overnight gives it even more flavor).
Step 4: Grill & Enjoy. When tofu is done marinating, grill it on medium-high for 4-5 minutes on each side (or to your liking). Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Grill Cleaning Tip: let the grill run for 4-5 minutes to burn off any remnants, then clean it. I like to use a bristle-free barbecue brush for cleaning the grill.
Here at V Nutrition and Wellness, I like to make sure that my clients get to eat the foods that they truly love. As such, I love offering suggestions for ways to customize my recipes to meet your needs. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make it spicy! Add some chili pepper flakes, cayenne, sriracha, sambal oelek, or hot sauce to your marinade.
- Brush with sauce! When your grilled tofu steaks are just about done, lightly brush them with your favorite vegan barbecue sauce. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce has caramelized and thickened for best results.
- Make it oil free! I love the flavor of sesame oil, and do like how it helps the marinade stick to the tofu. However, if you are on an oil-free diet, simply omit it!
- Switch up the seasonings! Don't love onion powder? Try swapping in fennel seeds for more of a sausage flavor. Have a spice blend you love? Use that instead! There are no rules here - marinate to your heart's content.
Tips & Tricks
While this recipe is very easy, I've found a few things work really well.
- First, make sure that ALL of the water is pressed out of the extra firm tofu. I know I've mentioned this before, but the less water in the tofu the better it will hold together on the grill. Removing the excess water also helps to achieve those gorgeous grill marks.
- Second, make sure you marinate! Tofu itself does not have that much flavor, that's why it's always best to season and marinate it. By marinating the tofu, you'll have a vegan steak with lots of flavor. Let the tofu marinate in an 8x8 glass casserole dish for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. If you want even more flavor, over the dish and let it marinate overnight.
- Finally, preheat the grill! Tofu will have less of a tendency to stick if your grates are nice and hot before grilling.
I always use extra-firm tofu for grilling because it's hearty enough to stand up to the grill. (For more information on tofu, check out my Tofu Nutrition post)
When making these steaks it's very important to have all the water pressed out of the tofu. If I can get it, I use Trader Joe's high-protein tofu which has the water already pressed out.
When I can't get my hands on the TJ's tofu, I get regular extra firm tofu in water and press the water out for at least 30 minutes (sometimes more).
If you're using an indoor grill machine with non-stick slats, firm tofu will work as well.
You sure can! They'll keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. They also taste great either hot or chilled, so feel free to use these as part of your summer meal prep strategy.
Depending on the thickness of your steaks, I'd say anywhere from 4-7 minutes per side.
No problem! Simply use a cast iron grill pan on your stovetop. Get it searing hot, then proceed as normal.
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Grilled Tofu Steaks
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (can sub olive oil)
- ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce (low sodium versions if needed)
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp vegetable broth (or water)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced (or ½ teaspoon of garlic powder)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- 14 oz extra firm tofu*
- Mix all the marinade ingredients (except tofu) in a bowl.
- Cut tofu into 4 slabs and place into an 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch casserole dish (or other dish with a lid).
- Pour marinade on top of tofu and let it marinate for at least an hour (overnight gives it even more flavor).
- When tofu is done marinating, grill it on medium-high for 4-5 minutes on each side (or to you liking).
- Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel clear and confident about what is uniquely nourishing to them. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition information have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.