Crispy sesame tofu with creamy tahini peanut sauce, served over steamed rice and broccoli – This easy vegan recipe is loaded with good carbs, protein and healthy fats, making it to the perfect lunch or dinner meal!
Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu Recipe
This sesame tofu recipe is so delicious and easy to make in the pan, air fryer or oven. It’s crusted in sesame seeds and served with a creamy tahini peanut sauce over steamed rice and broccoli. It comes together in under 30 minutes for a simple and healthy meal that is vegan and gluten-free!
How do you make sesame crusted tofu?
To make crispy tofu, it is very important to press the tofu very dry first. If the water content is low, the tofu can absorb the flavorful marinade even better. I recommend using frozen and then thawed tofu to get rid of most of the liquid. Then it’s marinated in an Asian flavored seasoning sauce and tossed with breadcrumbs and sesame seeds before it’s shallow-fried until crispy.
If you are in a time crunch, simply drain out a package of firm tofu and pat dry as best as you can using paper towels. Then cut and season with garlic powder, dried ginger and soy sauce as instructed in this recipe. Lastly, toss in a mixture of cornstarch, breadcrumbs and sesame seeds before pan-frying.
Cornstarch helps to absorb excess water so the tofu crisps up even more. Arrowroot should work just as well.
How does breading stick to tofu?
Usually eggs are used to make the breading stick better, but it also works without them. If the breading still doesn’t stick well, feel free to make a flaxseed-egg or a chickpea-egg mixture. Then coat the marinated tofu cubes first in cornstarch, then dip them in the vegan egg mixture, and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs with sesame seeds.
Ingredients for Sesame Tofu
- Firm or extra-firm tofu: The tofu does need to be pressed first. You can use a tofu press or simply use some paper towels and a few heavy books.
- Garlic & ginger: to add flavor to the marinade.
- Soy sauce: For gluten free, use gluten free tamari instead. For soy-free, use coconut aminos instead.
- Agave syrup: you can use maple syrup too.
- Chili powder: or sub Sriracha hot sauce to taste, depending on how spicy you like it.
- Sesame seeds: white or black ones.
- Breadcrumbs: you can also use Panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Oil: I suggest using peanut or sesame oil for the marinade and neutral oil like canola, sunflower or wok oil for frying.
- Tahini peanut sauce: if you don’t have tahini, you can also serve this dish with my best peanut sauce.
- Rice: white or brown for serving.
- Broccoli : optional for serving.
- To garnish: chopped green onions, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and lime wedges.
How to make Crispy Sesame Tofu
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions and the recipe video first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade. Add the pressed tofu cubes, toss to coat and marinate for at least 20 minutes (or up to overnight in the refrigerator).
- Place the sesame seeds and breadcrumbs on a plate. Remove each tofu cube from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off, then toss in the sesame breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan and pan-fry the sesame crusted tofu until golden-brown and crispy from all sides.
Can I bake the tofu instead?
Sure, you can if you prefer! After marinating, roll the tofu in the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds as instructed in the recipe. Then place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spray with a little oil and bake in the oven at 392 °F for about 25-30 minutes in the oven until the tofu is crispy.
Meanwhile, you can make the tahini peanut sauce, steam the rice and roast the broccoli. This method is actually way easier because you don’t have to cook so much on the stove at the same time.
Can I air-fry tofu?
Yes, of course! Once the tofu is coated spray or drizzle with some oil. Then place the tofu in the air fryer basket and air-fry like French fries for about 10 minutes. The cooking time varies depending on the size you cut the tofu. Be sure to check in between to see if you need to flip the tofu.
How to store leftovers
Place leftover sesame tofu in a covered container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Re-warm in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or in the oven for 8-10 minutes if you want the tofu to be crispy again!
To meal prep for lunches, divide rice, broccoli and tofu into containers. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and store in the refrigerator for quick grab and go meals! I recommend storing the tahini peanut sauce in a separate container or jar. If it gets to thick, warm it slightly or stir in some water to thin it out.
This crispy sesame tofu recipe is:
- Easy to make
- Perfect for make-ahead meals
- Great for lunch, einer or finger-food!
More delicious Tofu Recipes to try
- Tofu Satay Skewers
- Vegan Pad Thai
- Vegan Paella
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- General Tso’s Tofu
- Japanese Tofu Katsu
- Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce
- Thai Peanut Ramen Noodle Soup
- Asian Peanut Noodles
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Vegan Fish Nuggets
- Tofu Scramble
If you try this crispy sesame tofu recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking! 🙂
Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce (Vegan)Author:
- 14 oz (400 g) tofu
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup or sugar
- 2 cloves of garlic pressed or sub garlic powder)
- 1 small piece of ginger grated (or sub ginger powder)
- ¼ tsp chili powder or sriracha hot sauce to taste
- 3-4 tbsp sesame seeds
- 3-4 tbsp breadcrumbs gluten-free as needed
- 1 tbsp sesame oil or peanut oil
- 3 tbsp frying oil e.g. canola, sunflower or wok oil
Broccoli & Rice
- 14 oz (400 g) rice
- 1 broccoli cut into florets
- 1 tbsp sesame oil or peanut oil
Tahini Peanut Sauce
- sesame seeds
- green onions thinly sliced
*Note: Check out the recipe video + recipe tips above!
Crispy Sesame Tofu
- Drain the tofu, wrap in paper towels and press very dry. Then cut into cubes and pat dry again.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, agave syrup, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, garlic, ginger and chili powder. Add the tofu, toss to coat and marinate for at least 20 minutes (or up to overnight in the refrigerator).
- Place the sesame seeds and breadcrumbs on a deep plate and mix together. Remove each tofu cube from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off, then toss in the sesame breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat some frying oil in a pan and pan-fry the tofu until golden-brown and crispy from all sides (alternatively, cook in an air-fryer for 10 minutes or oven at 392 °F (200 °C) for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until crisp).
Broccoli & Rice
- Cook the rice in salted water according to the packaging instructions. Add the broccoli florets for the last 6-8 minutes and allow to steam.
- Heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a pan and sauté the precooked broccoli florets for about 3-5 minutes until slightly crisp. Then add the leftover tofu marinade and sauté for further 2-3 minutes or so. Carefully scrape off the browned crust from the bottom of the pan, so that after a while you have some delicious crunchy "crumbs".
Tahini Peanut Sauce
- Lastly, blend all ingredients for the tahini peanut sauce until smooth and creamy.
- Divide the cooked rice, broccoli plus crumbs and crispy tofu in bowls. Drizzle with tahini peanut sauce, and garnish with toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, green onions and fresh lime wedges on the side.
- You can also try my best peanut sauce!
- I recommend using frozen and then thawed tofu to get rid of most of the liquid.
- You can also add some cornstarch to the breading to make the tofu even crispier.
- If the breading doesn't stick well, feel free to make a flaxseed-egg or a chickpea-egg mixture. Coat the marinated tofu cubes first in cornstarch, then dip them in the vegan egg mixture, and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs with sesame seeds.
- More helpful tips and information about the recipe, such as meal prep, storing, freezing notes, are mentioned in the blog post above!
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