Nothing says summer like firing up the grill and these grilled tofu skewers, also known as tofu kebabs, are a great addition to any BBQ. Loaded with smoky marinated tofu and seasonal vegetables, these skewers are a plant-based protein-filled meal that is sure to please vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike.
While many people remain skeptical about tofu, it’s an incredibly versatile and relatively inexpensive ingredient that works well for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only is tofu a good source of vegetarian protein, but it’s also rich in fiber and healthy fats, and extra-firm tofu has a very sturdy texture making it an alternative to chicken, meat, or seafood in a skewer recipe. But how do you make tofu taste good? The key to making tasty tofu is to ensure that you prepare it the right way. While tofu has a lot of potential, when under-seasoned or poorly cooked it can end up rather bland and boring, so here are my top tofu tips.
Tips for Grilling Tofu
The key to good tofu skewers is texture and flavor. To ensure the best results for grilled tofu be sure to:
Press your tofu. The more water you can press out of your tofu the crispier your tofu will get once grilled. I recommend wrapping the tofu in a tea towel or paper towel, or both, placing a heavy object on top and allowing it to rest for at least 10 minutes to remove as much excess water as possible.
Cut the tofu evenly. To ensure that your tofu cooks evenly on the grill, cut it into equal-sized pieces. If you’re grilling tofu “steaks”, I suggest large deck-of-card-sized pieces, if you’re making tofu skewers, I suggest slicing the tofu into 1-inch cubes or as close as possible.
Marinate the tofu. While you can cook tofu as is or with a little salt and pepper, the flavor will be quite bland. For deeper flavor, and better texture, marinate your tofu for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, before grilling.
Make sure your grill is hot. To get those deep, dark char marks, make sure your grill is nice and hot before adding your tofu skewers. If you’re grilling tofu on the BBQ, preheat it to 425°F, if you’re grilling tofu in a grill pan, warm the pan to medium-high heat before adding your tofu to the grill.
How To Grill Tofu Skewers
- Prep your tofu. Press, evenly slice, and marinate your tofu before adding the pieces to the skewers.
- Prep your veggies. Wash and slice the vegetables before adding them to the skewers. While this recipe calls for zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, and mushrooms, you could also use white onion or shallots, cherry tomatoes, sliced corn, broccoli, or cauliflower.
- Preheat the grill. For perfectly grilled tofu, make sure your grill is nice and warm before adding your tofu skewers. You really want to hear a sizzle when the skewers hit the grill!
- Grill the skewers. Grill the tofu skewers for 4-5 minutes per side, or for a total of 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through, and the tofu pieces have dark char marks.
- Eat up! Serve your grilled tofu skewers with rice, roasted potatoes, and/or a simple green salad.
Although you’ll get the best results from grilling tofu skewers on a BBQ or in a grill pan, they can also be cooked in a cast-iron skillet or large frying pan if needed. If you are cooking them in a pan, do it in batches to ensure you don’t crowd the pan and you can also finish them in the oven under the broiler if you want to add a little extra crispness. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
Easy Marinade for Grilled Tofu
While you can certainly buy a pre-made marinade, you can easily create a smoky tofu marinade at home with a few pantry staples. I suggest using:
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
The contrast of salty and sweet along with the smoky flavors from the paprika infuse into the tofu and give it a deep BBQ-style flavor. For ultimate flavor, be sure to marinate your tofu for several hours to ensure the flavors really soak into the tofu.
How long can you keep grilled tofu?
Cooked or grilled tofu can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat grilled tofu skewers, return them to a grill for a couple of minutes per side, under the oven broiler for several minutes, or add a few drops of oil to a pan and cook them for a minute or so on all sides. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
More Tofu Recipes:
Grilled Tofu Skewers
These grilled tofu skewers are a great addition to any summer BBQ. For extra flavor, be sure to marinate your tofu for several hours and feel free to mix up the vegetables with any that you enjoy.
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 skewers 1x
- Category: Mains
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 (14 ounce) block tofu, extra-firm
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pint (8 oz.) cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Remove the tofu from the packaging and place it between two pieces of paper towel or wrap it in a tea towel and place it on a cutting board. Set something heavy on top, like a cast-iron skillet, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- While the tofu is resting, prepare the marinade. In a small bowl or jar, add the soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder and whisk to combine.
- Once the tofu has been pressed, cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes, and place the cubes in a medium baking dish. Cover the tofu with the marinade, turning the tofu to ensure it’s coated on all sides, and then transfer to the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- Once the tofu has marinated and you are ready to assemble your skewers, chop your vegetables. If using wooden skewers or bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water while you prepare the veggies, or for at least 5 minutes, to ensure they don’t burn on the grill.
- While you assemble the skewers, preheat a grill to 425°F.
- To assemble the skewers, thread marinated tofu pieces and vegetables onto the skewers in any order that you like, I like to alternate between a few different veggies and a piece of tofu. The assembled skewers can be returned to the baking dish with the marinade to soak up some extra flavor while you finish all of the skewers or until you head to the grill.
- Once the skewers are ready to go, lightly brush the grill with oil, then place the skewers on the grill and cook them for 4-5 minutes per side, or a total of 15-20 minutes until the veggies are tender and there are char marks on the tofu.
- Once cooked, the tofu skewers can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Gluten-Free Option: To make the marinade gluten-free simply swap the soy sauce for gluten-free soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
- Serving Size: 1 skewer
- Calories: 126 calories
- Sugar: 4 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
Keywords: grilled tofu, tofy skewers