balsamic baked tofu with cumin-scented quinoa.

The test of a solid tofu recipe is when non-vegans actually enjoy it. Like, finish it and then Facebook you about it afterwards.

This was the case following a dinner with friends a few weeks ago and I was relieved that serving tofu to meateaters wasn’t a huge mistake. (It can go either way, especially if you tell folks in advance that’s what you’ve made. Tofu has such a brutal reputation.)

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(Granted, the finishing dinner and saying nice things on Facebook might also be the marker of really nice friends who care about your feelings, but I’m going to assume dinner actually turned out okay.)

And now, you can make it, too! It’s easier than it looks, I promise: it’s just a little time intensive because of the longer than usual cook time. (So worth it! I promise! The cooking time actually gives the tofu a beautiful crust, which was one of the best-received parts of dinner! Trust me on this one.)

balsamic tofu in oven

Please excuse these less-than-terrific photos. This was the camera's first voyage out of its case since our move: the lighting in our new place is totally different and I was already two glasses of wine into the night... apologies!

This is the ultimate Sunday dinner recipe: it’s reminiscent of eating a slab of meat, and I say that in the most appetizing way possible. The best part? It’s really super good for you!

balsamic tofu on foil

You’ll see in the recipe that the marinade has a few components. If you don’t have oregano or thyme, use poultry seasoning or Italian seasoning; if you don’t have tamari, use whatever soy sauce you prefer (I use tamari to avoid the wheat gluten added to other sauces). If you don’t have balsamic, that’s cool, too: just increase the soy sauce.

balsamic tofu plated

We served this with a veggie medley and cumin-scented quinoa (both are so simple to make, and in fact, things I’d recommend using as a base for other meals in your week: it’s an easy way to work in lots more vegetables AND can make a meal feel extra filling without adding tons of extra energy). The quinoa has become one of my favorites for quick lunches and sides. The sauce takes roughly 90 seconds to put together: stir saucy ingredients into a pot of cooked quinoa and you’re good to go!

If you’re planning to make the veggie medley and quinoa alongside your tofu, get started on these when your tofu is halfway done, ie. You've flipped it after 40 minutes of cooking. (See below for exact instructions.)

Use this tofu as a main, in sandwiches, on salads or to accompany stir-fries. It’s pretty darn delicious.


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Balsamic Baked Tofu, Cumin-Scented Quinoa and Winter Veggie Medley.
Serves 4
Crispy-chewy baked tofu, simple spiced quinoa and a hearty veggie medley to sit underneath it all: Sunday Dinner, solved.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
  1. **Marinated Tofu
  2. 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  3. 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 cup tamari or other gluten-free soy sauce
  5. 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  6. 2 tsp olive oil
  7. a pinch of dried thyme
  8. a pinch of dried oregano
  9. salt and pepper
  10. **Cumin- Scented Quinoa
  11. 1/2 cup tahini
  12. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  13. 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  14. 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  15. 2 tsp cumin
  16. a few pinches sea salt and pepper
  17. **Veggie Medley
  18. 4 medium carrots, peeled and quickly pulsed in the food processor
  19. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into round slices
  20. 2 large handfuls Swiss chard, with stems, coarsely chopped
  21. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  22. 2 tsp olive oil
  23. 2 tsp tamari or other gluten-free soy sauce
  1. 1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. 2. Slice tofu into 8 equal pieces, whatever shape you like. I like to cut the block in half, lengthwise, and then slice each half into four triangles. They're a little thinner this way, and cook more evenly.
  3. 3. Make a shallow cut in the top of each piece of tofu and insert a slice of garlic. If you're feeling extra adventurous, make to cuts and use two pieces of garlic.
  4. 4. Place tofu and marinade in a container with a lid (a wide, flat Tupperware container is great) and gently invert a few times to coat. Set tofu in the fridge to marinate at least one hour.
  5. 5. With about 10 minutes to go in your marinade time, preheat oven to 350F.
  6. 6. Transfer tofu to a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 70 minutes, flipping after about 40 minutes to ensure they cook evenly on both sides.
To make the quinoa
  1. 1. Cook 1/2 cup quinoa per package directions, about 15 minutes in 1 cup water.
  2. 2. In a small food processor, combine 1/2 cup tahini, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp cumin and a few pinches sea salt and pepper. Add water as needed to achieve a thick, pourable consistency
  3. 3. When quinoa is cooked, pour sauce directly into pot and stir to coat.
To make the veggies
  1. 1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Heat until glistening.
  2. 2. Add onions and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
  3. 3. Add carrots, chard stalks (only) and tamari, and stir to thoroughly mix with other ingredients. Cook about 5 minutes until veggies are just a little softened.
  4. 4. Stir in remaining chard leaves, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
  5. Serve tofu atop quinoa and veggies.
From The Ground Up Wellness
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