Recipe: BBQ Tofu Salad

If you don’t like tofu, this tofu may convert you. If you don’t like salad, well, then just skip this one.

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The best thing about this recipe is the tofu procedure, to be honest. It makes tofu that is flavorful and has a great crispy-chewy texture. It’s my favorite way to make tofu lately.

Tofu Prep:

Freeze the block of tofu overnight and thaw in the morning by placing it in a bowl of hot water in the sink. If you don’t have time for this step, you can skip it, but don’t blame the sub-par tofu texture & flavor on me. Freezing it causes all the water in the tofu to expand, making little holes throughout the block, essentially turning it into a sponge after you drain it — all the better to soak up your marinade. It also creates a chewier texture in the end, making the tofu better in all ways that matter.

Squeeze the block of tofu between two cutting boards or just between your two flat palms. Be gentle enough not to break or crumble it, but firm enough that you see A LOT of water draining out. The more water you get out, the better. You’re going to replace this water with delicious flavor.

Cut into small cubes (or triangles, if you feel fancy)

Tofu marinade:

  • 1-2 T oil (olive or vegetable)
  • splash liquid smoke (this shit is key)
  • splash hot sauce (your fave – I used Cholula today)

Bake the Tofu:

Toss tofu in marinade. It should immediately soak up all the liquid because you’ve made it into a sponge.

Spread out pieces on a baking sheet (lightly prayed with non-stick spray if you like)

Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are getting browned and slightly crisp.

While the tofu is baking, skip down and make the salad & dressing but don’t forget to come back up here and glaze!

Glaze the Tofu:

Put pieces of baked tofu into a non-stick pan over medium-low heat with about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. I use some from a bottle and I have no shame about this. Our favorite is from a local restaurant, but if we don’t have the time to go there, we’ll grab a bottle of Stubb’s Sweet Heat at the grocery store.

Stir occasionally. When the glaze is reduced and sticky, you’re ready to go. It should take about 5 minutes.


  • shredded kale from a bag (pick out and discard the stems, I beg you)
  • shredded red cabbage
  • corn (use grilled corn if it’s summer and you have some; canned or frozen otherwise)
  • 1/2 avocado

Salad Dressing:

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 part oil (olive or vegetable)
  • celery seed to taste
  • grainy mustard to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make the Dressing:

Heat apple cider vinegar and sugar over low heat, stirring just until sugar is dissolved. Add oil and seasonings. Let cool.

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Toss kale in dressing, “massaging” (I’m sorry) the kale until it’s wilted a bit. Then add cabbage and toss again. You don’t need to “massage” the cabbage.

Top with corn, sliced avocado, and sticky glazed tofu.

Take this to the next level with some pickled red onions. (I’ll share that recipe another day!)


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