Black Pepper Tofu & Cauliflower
For the Crispy Baked Tofu & Cauliflower
- 12-14 oz extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dried/pressed and cut into ¾” (2 cm) cubes
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (e.g, sunflower, avocado, etc)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp cracked pepper
- 30 oz Stahlbush Island Farms’ cauliflower florets (defrosted and drained)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. sunflower, avocado, etc)
For the Vegan Black Pepper Sauce
- ½ cup vegan beefless or mushroom broth (or water) (cold or room temperature)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari to make this gluten-free; sodium-reduced if desired)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 shallots, diced (or 1 medium onion, diced)
- 1 ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper (not pre-ground), more to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
- hot steamed rice, or grain of choice for serving
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin for serving
Baked Crispy Tofu and Cauliflower:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/gas mark 7. Line one extra large or two large baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. If you don’t have parchment paper or silicone liners, drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons (45-60 ml) of oil on each of the baking sheets and place them in the oven to get hot, about 5 minutes before you’ll be placing the tofu & cauliflower on them.
- Place the cubes of tofu in a medium bowl, and drizzle with the oil. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the cornstarch, salt, and pepper over the tofu, and toss again to coat evenly. Spread the tofu on a prepared baking sheet, ensuring none of the cubes are touching each other.
- Cut the cauliflower up into evenly sized florets (for even roasting.) Place in the bowl you tossed the tofu in. Drizzle the cauliflower with the 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of oil. Spread the cauliflower out on a prepared baking sheet, ensuring there’s space between each floret and the sheet is not overcrowded.
- Once the oven has preheated completely, place the tofu and cauliflower into the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, tossing once at around 20 minutes. If you’re using 2 baking sheets, place the cauliflower a rack or two lower than the tofu so the steam doesn’t hover over the tofu preventing it from crisping. Resist flipping the tofu earlier than 20 minutes so that the cornstarch has time to set up and crisp.
Vegan Black Pepper Sauce:
- While the tofu and cauliflower roasts, prepare the sauce. Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame oil. Once shimmering, add the shallots and fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Add the cracked black pepper, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper (if using), cooking for another 30 seconds until very fragrant. Whisk in the prepared sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Taste for heat, adding more cracked pepper, if desired. Remove from the heat.
- Just before serving, add the roasted tofu and cauliflower to the skillet and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Cooking longer will soften the crispy tofu. Serve over hot steamed rice, or your favorite cooked grain or rice/soba noodles. Serve topped with sliced green onions, and more black pepper or hot sauce, if desired.