Sesame Tofu Recipe — Crispy Tofu with a Sweet Sauce

This amazing Sesame Tofu recipe is easy to eat and delicious! Forget take-out, because this fried tofu with sesame sauce is the best ever! I tested this recipe several times to deliver to you an amazing crispy tofu with the perfectly sweet sauce!

Chopsticks hold a single bite over a bowl full of sesame tofu.

How to Make Vegan Sesame Tofu

It’s easy to make this healthy and budget-friendly Vegan Sesame Tofu!

Step One: Press the Tofu

Begin with removing tofu from its package and press it to drain out extra moisture. Either use a tofu press or wrap in a kitchen towel and place something heavy like a can of beans over the top for 30 minutes or more. Once pressed, cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.

Step Two: Prepare the Sesame Sauce

Add the sesame oil to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and simmer until fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour and stir the sauce into the saucepan with the garlic. Stir frequently because the sauce will thicken quickly. Reduce heat to low and keep warm while you prepare the tofu.

Are you surprised to see ketchup in my list of sauce ingredients? I know, it sounds strange, but it gives this sauce a little bit of tangy flavor AND the gorgeous red color without the spicy kick from a red chili garlic sauce. That said, if you like a little kick (like ME!), feel free to substitute the ketchup for a teaspoon or two of chili garlic sauce.

Step Three: For the Fried Tofu

Once the tofu is pressed, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Then pat dry with a paper towel.

Dredge tofu through the cornstarch. Be sure to make sure each piece is coated. 

Cubes of tofu are being fried in a skillet.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil then the tofu pieces (use tongs to prevent oil from splattering). Cook tofu until golden brown and then turn and cook on the other sides. 

Step Four: To Serve

To serve, arrange tofu on a platter and drizzle with sauce. If you’re like me, drizzle with lots and lots of sauce! Then, serve sesame tofu with rice, cauliflower rice, low carb noodles, steamed broccoli and your favorite vegetables. Of course, sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped green onions, and sriracha (if that’s your thing).

A closeup shot of a bowl of Asian tofu recipe with chopped green onions on top.

Save Money By Cooking at Home

Look, you can eat out and these days it’s very easy to find vegan options. That’s great! However,cooking at home is a great option, especially if you want to save money!

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. So, 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).

A bowl of tofu sits in front of a bowl of sauce and more tofu in the background.

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

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 honestly, I’ve 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!

Looking down on a bowl of tofu sitting next to sauce and chopsticks.

I will use these same offending ingredients 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 bowl of tofu with this text above it: Best Sesame Tofu.

Love Vegan Asian Recipes?

So, if you love vegan Asian recipes as much as we do, be sure to try these:

A chopstick holds a single bite over a bowl of sesame tofu.

Vegan Sesame Tofu

You’ll love this delicious Vegan Sesame Tofu served over rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles. It has a sticky sauce, but is a nice low-carb option for vegans!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Vegan Sesame Tofu
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 302kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Sesame Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce

Fried Tofu

  • 15 ounce package extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Serving

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Instructions

For the Sesame Sauce

  • Add the sesame oil to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and simmer until fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour and stir the sauce into the saucepan with the garlic. Stir frequently because the sauce will thicken quickly. Reduce heat to low and keep warm while you prepare te tofu.

For the Fried Tofu

  • Remove tofu from its package and press it to drain out extra moisture. Either use a tofu press or wrap in a kitchen towel and place something heavy like a can of beans over the top for 30 minutes or more. Once pressed, cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Dredge tofu through the cornstarch, making sure each piece is coated. 
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil then the tofu pieces (use tongs to prevent oil from splattering). Cook tofu until golden brown and then turn and cook on the other sides. 

To Serve

  • To serve, arrange tofu on a platter and drizzle with sauce. Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, low carb noodles, steamed broccoli and your favorite vegetables. Sprinkle with sesame seeds

Recommended Equipment

Notes

To keep this recipe low carb, serve over cauliflower rice and/or low carb noodles (such as zucchini noodles or bean noodles).
This recipe uses agar agar flakes to keep carbs low. If you are not worried about carbs, feel free to substitute agar agar flakes with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. 
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Sesame Tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Sodium 1199mg50%
Potassium 237mg7%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 194IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

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20 Responses to Sesame Tofu Recipe — Crispy Tofu with a Sweet Sauce

  1. I’m so with you on this Marly. The sesame tofu looks great! 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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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: http://su.pr/4JflOc

      Let me know how it goes!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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…:-)

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. Haven’t tried it yet but I’m sure it will be just as tasty as all the others
    I love the way you write and I can relate to a lot that you say (I also look at recipes as more of a suggestion lol, it drives my family crazy as I can never just tell them the recipe to follow)
    Anyway, just wanted to say thankyou and keep it up ☺️

    • Hi Kyla! Thanks for the note — I loved hearing from you! Yes, you and I are of the same cloth. I love adapting recipes — even my own! So glad to hear from you — sending hugs your way!

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