Sesame Crusted Tofu and Broccoli

This sesame crusted tofu and broccoli is the perfect recipe to get started with! It’s quick, easy, and flavorful, making it the perfect weeknight dinner. 

Unlike most American children, I grew up eating a lot of tofu. My mother cooked all my meals for me until the end of middle school, when I began learning to cook for myself. She usually made me traditional Japanese meals, which differ greatly from the typical American cuisine. For breakfast, I often had salmon, rice, and miso soup, sometimes with pickled cucumbers. Cereal was a rare treat reserved for vacations or sleepovers at a friend’s house. As for lunch, my mom would pack foods such as onigiri or tempura in Japanese bento boxes for me to take to school. After school, I always entered the house to find a home-cooked dinner being made, which my parents and I would eat sitting around the dining room table (never in front of the TV).

Dinner was usually tsukemono (pickled vegetables) with some sort of Japanese dish such as okonomiyaki or yakisoba. White rice was a must at every meal, and tofu was served at least twice a day. Whether it was silken tofu with soy sauce or cubed tofu in miso soup, the soy-based protein was always a part of my daily diet.

Because I grew up eating so much tofu, my taste buds became completely adapted to the flavor of it. It actually surprised me to learn that many Americans think it’s gross. However, when I ordered tofu on my salad at a healthy restaurant chain, I quickly realized why. I was expecting some sort of marinated and cooked tofu for my salad, but instead, I was served bland, unseasoned cubes of raw tofu. Yeah, not very appetizing.

Tofu is not a food that should be eaten straight out of the package. Like most types of meat, it tastes best when prepared properly. A simple marinade can do wonders for a block of tofu since it absorbs flavors like a sponge. If you’re short on time, a little dip in some cornstarch and a quick pan-fry is the way to go. My point is that tofu can be absolutely delicious, as long as it’s cooked correctly!

An easy way to make tofu is to simply cook it in a pan with some flavorful sauces and oils. One of my favorite flavors to pair with tofu is sesame! A drizzle of sesame oil and some sesame seeds goes a long way in adding flavor but requires very little effort. That’s why this sesame-crusted tofu recipe is one of my favorite weeknight dinners!

Any time I am required to cook dinner in a limited amount of time, I turn to this recipe. Although it is by no means a traditional Japanese dish, the flavors I used in this recipe were influenced by my years of eating Asian cuisine. If you’re looking to switch it up from the typical pasta or soup for dinner, I encourage you to give this tofu a try!

How To Make Sesame Crusted Tofu and Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1 block (1 lb) extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil plus more for drizzling
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 large head of broccoli cut into florets
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa for serving

Instructions

  1. Slice tofu in half lengthwise then cut each half into 4 squares. Place between two clean kitchen towels and place a weighted plate on top. Allow to drain for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and press all sides of each tofu piece into the sesame seeds to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat.
  4. Cook tofu pieces for approximately 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Pour in soy sauce and continue to cook for an additional minute, or until liquid has been absorbed, rotating the tofu to cover all sides.
  6. Remove tofu from the pan and set aside.
  7. Add broccoli, salt, pepper, and water to skillet. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Divide broccoli among 4 serving plates and top each with 2 pieces of tofu. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve alongside 1 cup cooked quinoa.

Additional Tips

  • Pressing Tofu for Crispiness: To achieve a crispy texture, ensure you press the tofu well before cooking. Use kitchen towels and a weighted plate to remove excess moisture, allowing the sesame crust to adhere better during cooking.
  • Even Sesame Coating: When coating the tofu with sesame seeds, press them firmly onto all sides of each tofu piece. This ensures an even and flavorful sesame crust for every bite.
  • Controlled Heat for Tofu: Maintain a medium-low heat when cooking the tofu. This helps achieve a golden-brown exterior without burning the sesame seeds or the tofu itself. Patience is key for the perfect crispiness.
  • Balanced Soy Sauce Drizzle: When adding soy sauce to the tofu, be mindful not to overdo it. A minute of cooking allows the tofu to absorb the flavor without becoming overly salty. This balance ensures the tofu complements the overall dish without being too salty.

FAQ

Can I use different types of tofu in this Sesame Crusted Tofu recipe?

  • Yes, you can opt for firm or extra-firm tofu, ensuring proper pressing to achieve a crispy texture.

Why is pressing the tofu important in this Recipe?

  • Pressing removes excess moisture, enhancing the tofu’s crispiness during cooking and aiding in better adherence to sesame seeds.

Can I replace quinoa with other grains or rice when serving Sesame Crusted Tofu and Broccoli?

  • Certainly! Feel free to pair the sesame-crusted tofu and broccoli with brown rice, jasmine rice, or your preferred grain.

Can I prepare the sesame-crusted tofu ahead of time?

  • While you can coat the tofu with sesame seeds in advance, it’s recommended to cook it just before serving to preserve its crispy quality.

Sesame Crusted Tofu and Broccoli

Recipe by Food by AyakaCourse: MainCuisine: American, ChineseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories

421.4

kcal

Take your tofu up a notch by adding a sesame crust around the outside! This Asian-inspired meal makes for an easy and flavorful weeknight dinner. 

Ingredients

  • 1 block (1 lb) extra firm tofu

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil plus more for drizzling

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 large head of broccoli cut into florets

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa for serving

Directions

  • Slice tofu in half lengthwise then cut each half into 4 squares. Place between two clean kitchen towels and place a weighted plate on top. Allow to drain for 5-10 minutes.
  • Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and press all sides of each tofu piece into the sesame seeds to coat.
  • Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat.
  • Cook tofu pieces for approximately 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp.
  • Pour in soy sauce and continue to cook for an additional minute, or until liquid has been absorbed, rotating the tofu to cover all sides.
  • Remove tofu from the pan and set aside.
  • Add broccoli, salt, pepper, and water to skillet. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Divide broccoli among 4 serving plates and top each with 2 pieces of tofu. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve alongside 1 cup cooked quinoa.
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