Vegan Sesame Tofu

I recently made Vegan Sesame Tofu to prove a point. You see, some people have this notion that being vegan is an expensive way to eat. I’m out to prove otherwise.

Vegan Sesame Tofu is a delicious dish to make at home.

My sister recently went to a conference by financial guru Dave Ramsey and one of her favorite take-aways was the idea of saving money by eating out less. I’m sure Mr. Ramsey pointed to the obvious, eating out costs a lot of money. The same money could go toward a week’s worth of meals at home with multiple leftovers to boot (Note, I don’t actually recommend eating the boot).

It’s like most things in life, eating out is better done in moderation.

Vegans typically eat out less because restaurants can be particularly problematic. What are the usual downfalls? Many Mexican restaurants fry their tortillas or beans in lard. Italian restaurants may have eggs in their pasta or bread. Asian restaurants sometimes have fish in their sauce.

Even when we call ahead, we’re usually left with a nagging, unsettled feeling that either 1) the person we talked to didn’t know what in the world they were saying or 2) they may have just said what they thought I wanted to hear to get more people in the door. It’s not a completely unreasonable worry. Look at McDonald’s. They told customers that their french fries were fried in vegetable oil and flavored with “natural” ingredients. It was years before they confessed that those “natural ingredients” included beef extract.

We do enjoy eating out occasionally, but mostly, we “eat out” at home. I say “eat out at home” because we think the food we have at home is actually better than what we find in most restaurants. My latest “eating out at home” venture? Asian food. We love Chinese food and have been impressed with restaurants that accommodate us by substituting tofu in most sauces.

And that leads me to another thing I love about eating out at home. I’m picky. I want to feel good and I’m learning, more often than not, what I eat has a big impact on that. And sometimes after eating Chinese takeout, I just don’t feel that great. It could be the oil, MSG, salt, or sugar or all of them combined. Who knows!

Namely Marly offers Vegan Sesmae Tofu, a recipe to save money by eating at home.

I will use these same offending ingredients (except for the MSG) when cooking at home, but I can control how much of it I use. And I took this theory to task by making my own Vegan Sesame Tofu. Mama Mia, was it delicious! I thought it was better than what we get at restaurants and the entire meal provided more than four servings and cost about the same as what we would pay for one entree at a restaurant. The tofu was around $2.50 and the broccoli cost about $2.25. The rest of the ingredients were things we had in our cupboards, like brown rice, cornstarch, garlic and sugar.

If saving money is on your list of resolutions for 2011, think vegan. Not only is it healthy and delicious, I bet even Dave Ramsey would agree it can also be a financially rewarding way to eat!

A delicious new dish at Namely Marly, Vegan Sesame Tofu

Vegan Sesame Tofu

(Adapted from a recipe found in

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained


  • 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Amino (see link below)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine or dry sherry
  • 3 drops sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour (use brown rice flour to make this recipe gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil


  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ⅛ cup white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Amino (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, steamed broccoli and rice


  1. Press the tofu to drain out extra moisture and then cut it tofu into 1-inch cubes. Mix the marinade ingredients (the first 9 ingredients listed) and marinate the tofu for around 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce by mixing together all of the sauce ingredients (the LAST 9 ingredients beginning with water). Pour them into a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Turn the heat  to low and keep warm while you are frying the tofu.
  3. “Fry” the tofu pieces in a until golden brown. I used only a thin layer of oil to keep it to a minimum.
  4. Just before you are finished frying, raise the temperature on the sauce back so it’s ready to be served.
  5. Place the tofu on a large platter and pour the sauce over.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with steamed broccoli and rice.

Updated by Marly · Permalink

16 Responses to Vegan Sesame Tofu

  1. I’m so with you on this Marly. I am a picky eater too, my husband used to hate going out for dinner with me because he said very rarely was I ever happy with my meal. I really do prefer eating in, I know exactly what I’m putting into the meal, I can eat when I want to eat and if I want a little extra it’s right there for the taking. I do enjoy going out every once in a while but a great deal of the time I think it’s so expensive for what you are actually getting on the plate. It’s weird I usually am thinking to myself I am paying $35 for this 6-ounce filet when I can purchase 5 for that price, pretty sad I know.

  2. Hi Marly,
    You are so right, making your own meals, and even growing your own vegetables and protein is so much less of a strain on the pocket book and wallet. The cost of a weeks worth of groceries would not even cover the cost of a single meal at some restaurants.

    Bon appetit!

  3. Beautiful photos, very appetizing even to those of us who are a little lukewarm on tofu!

  4. I’m with you Marly, I can barely eat out because I am so salt sensitive. Too much salt and/or MSG in anything makes me swell, hurt in every joint, and miserable for a few days. There are only a few things I can eat at new places that I am not afraid of, so we stick to one or two family owned restaurants where I don’t swell so bad. It makes eating out really expensive when we go on vacation because we have to stick to higher priced places because they tend to season more with fresh herbs instead of salt

  5. Marly,
    I’m not a tofu man, but it does look pretty darn good.

  6. I’m often really picky about my food too…but hey, if I’m the one who’s going to eat it, then I should be able to decide what I want. 🙂
    This recipe looks delicious.

  7. awesome! Love this one

  8. What a great tofu recipe! (I am always looking for great tofu recipes!) Do you think that this might be as tasty with flax seeds? I have a massive bag of them sitting on my shelf.

    • Hi Erica. I’m not certain this recipe would taste the same with flax seed. I guess you could give it a try on a small serving to see what you think. But I have plenty of ideas of what you could do with those flax seeds – they great ground up and used in muffin recipes, pancakes, etc. Here’s a link to some of the recipes highlighted on Namely Marly that use flax seed:

      Let me know how it goes!

  9. I love Bragg’s! Just bought a new bottle yesterday. I rarely dine out for so many reasons including cost & wanting clean, healthy ingredients all the time. This tofu looks wonderful, such great photos too! xo

  10. As someone who grew up with two vegetarians, there was a lot of tofu and although I gave it a hard time, it can be very good with a little TLC.
    The pictures are great too Marly!

  11. Amen! I find that we don’t eat out very often because we can make so much more tastier food at home…and we don’t have to worry about having to stick to a boring salad. Thank you for sharing this delicious meal. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. Thanks for getting mine off to a tasty start!

  12. Hey Marly, this looks delicious! Love your bowl and chopsticks-those make me want to eat Asian almost as much as the yummy looking sesame tofu;) Oh, and I don’t like going out anymore either really except for a drink from time to time. I’m with you on that one-it’s too expensive and what you get is just a ‘lack of health’ on plate. Me no wants that…:-)

  13. I couldn’t agree more! Though I have some favorite restaurants (where I would eat every day if I could), most of the time when I order take-out or go out to a new restaurant, I often think ‘I could do it as good or even better’. And it’s not like I’m the worlds’ greatest cook. Sometimes it’s just too much money for what it’s worth. Plus, I’ve got the same thing as you, that I sometimes don’t feel too good after eating Chinese or Thai food. Very often it’s really greasy.

    Anyway, I really like that recipe and I’m gonna try it out soon!

  14. This is great, Marly! I love tofu. My mom cooked with it a lot while growing up. We’re Vietnamese. While I’m not vegan, I don’t eat pork which can be hard sometimes with a lot of it in Vietnam cooking. Thanks for this post!

  15. I’ve been craving a tofu dish just like this. I’m still a tofu novice, have only had it a couple of times, but I know I will love it just like this. Looks delicious!


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