Comfort Food: Southern Style Vegan BBQ Tofu

June 11, 2015

It’s hot in Texas but that doesn’t mean much: barbecue season here is year-round. Rest assured I’m going to try out my pro vegan grilling tips this summer still, but this week I wanted to get the flavors of BBQ in my own apartment because, well, it’s been a long week. Here’s a vegan barbecue dinner you can make indoors (you may want to turn up the AC a bit since you’ll be using your oven!). This is a pretty easy weeknight dinner (plus next-day leftovers) idea if you make the sauce beforehand or over the weekend.

Since I’m no saucier, I used Isa’s Backyard BBQ Sauce Recipe from Veganomicon. One thing I learned from making this BBQ sauce is that it requires a bit of time and effort, but it’s so much more delicious than a store-bought sauce that it’s totally worth it! Do yourself a favor and try making your own sauce.

Southern Style Vegan BBQ Tofu - Peaceful Dumpling

I added extra sauce on top of my tofu after it was cooked. I like it chunky but you can puree yours!


Southern Style Vegan BBQ Tofu

Serves 2 with ample leftovers.


For the sauce:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

For the tofu:

2 blocks of extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil



Add some chili powder for extra kick and you won’t be disappointed.

For the sauce (make it first):

1. Sauté the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes and add the garlic, sautéing for another minute. 2. Add the other ingredients except for the liquid smoke and mustard and cook for 30-60 minutes (the longer the better). Lower heat if the sauce begins to splatter. 3. Give it a taste and see if anything needs to be added. I added a couple tablespoons of chili powder to mine because I like it hot! 4. Add the liquid smoke and mustard, cooking a few more minutes, then remove from heat and let cool. 5. After cooling you may want to use a hand blender or food processor to purée this.


Southern Style Vegan BBQ Tofu

fresh out of the oven, pre-sauce

For the tofu:

1. Depending on your preference you can cut the tofu blocks into 4 rectangular “steaks” each or into smaller pieces such as triangles or Jenga-shaped pieces (that’s my highly sophisticated cooking term). 2. Lay your tofu out in a baking dish (I used a glass casserole dish) and sprinkle the soy sauce on it and stir it around to coat the tofu. 3. Marinate the tofu for about 30 minutes in the fridge. 4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 5. Optional: To get a crispier skin on the tofu, pan fry it on each side for 3-5 minutes before baking. 6. Add some olive oil to your baking dish you used to marinate and spread the tofu out evenly in the pan. 7. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once. 8. Cover the tofu with your BBQ sauce and bake an additional 10 minutes. 


Roast your garlic with your veggies and add it to your mashed potatoes.

I made my tofu and added mashed potatoes with garlic & Earth Balance and roasted cauliflower & broccoli. Tip: Roast the garlic cloves (skin intact) along with your veggies and then use them in the mashed potatoes. It’s heavenly!


Also see: Cast Iron Vegan Chicken and Brussels Sprouts Pizza

Pro Vegan Grilling Tips

Vegan Blueberries and Peach Hand Pies

Summertime Vegan Shredded BBQ Sammies



Photo: Samantha Lester

Samantha is a vegan professional in the tech industry living in Austin, Texas with her boyfriend. Her background is in library & information science and classical studies. She loves cooking, biking, movies, reading, the science fiction & horror genres, crafting, thrifting, and the occasional video game. Check her out on Pinterest and Google+. You can also reach her at lestersn [at] gmail [dot] com.


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