This spiced up Southwestern Style Baked Tofu Steaks is the best because it’s assertive in the flavor department, hearty like meat – and easy to make for any home chef.
Southwestern Style Baked Tofu Steaks
It never ceases to amaze me what a wonderful unpainted canvas tofu can be. That blank slate allows me unlimited power in the kitchen as I can infuse any flavor to it, mild or strong.
It’s one of those rare ingredients that you can totally bend to your will (and your taste), which is why it’s so fun to cook with.
So – whether I’m making a comforting mapo tofu, creating something fun like these tofu edamame ‘fish’ cakes – or baking the Southwestern style baked tofu steaks I have for you in this post, cooking with tofu is anything but boring.
This is a favorite recipe of mine to share just how flavorful tofu can actually be!
Place these flavorful tofu steaks over a bowl of white or brown rice—whichever you prefer. While these tofu steaks are already fully spiced, feel free to add a little black pepper too, if you like a little extra heat.
What is Tofu?
A block of tofu is made from dried and ground soybeans. Water is added to produce soy milk. Then the milk is heated and a coagulant is added—which causes curds to form. These curds are pressed into blocks which form the tofu we find in the square containers at the grocery store. You’ll hear tofu referred to as bean curd pretty regularly—and considering the process in which it is made, that isn’t so surprising!
High in protein and calcium, tofu has been a long running staple in Asian recipes and diets. It has also become super prevalent in Western vegetarian and vegan diets over the past few decades as a delicious meat-free protein option.
The stuff at the store usually runs the gamut, texturally speaking, from silken to extra-firm tofu. Like the name implies, silken tofu is soft. Silken tofu is mostly used in soups like miso soup, added to stews like Korean spicy tofu stew (soondubu), or served cold like this traditional Japanese hiyayakko.
Firm and extra firm tofu, on the other hand, have a tougher texture because they have been pressed and (they contain less water). They are often marinated and served in bigger pieces like these baked tofu steaks, since they can hold their shape well. They are also used as salad toppings or rice bowl toppings, in stir fries, and can be deep fried.
But it doesn’t end there. Nope! There are also fermented tofus, smoked tofus – and even noodles you can make from tofu skin (yuba). The options are endless.
What does tofu taste like?
There’s an assumption that tofu is going to taste like whatever you cook it with. And, for the most part, that’s pretty accurate.
But high quality silken tofu, which can be found in traditional Japanese restaurants or specialized tofu shops across Japan, taste like the most beautiful soy milk you’ve ever had. They are exquisite, something to try at least once in your life because they are such a treat to have.
Unfortunately, most of the stuff sold in the US and Canada can be quite tasteless. Therefore, it’s best to infuse it with a marinade or dress it up with a sauce.
Ingredients for Baked Tofu Steaks
The flavor in question for this baked tofu recipe is due, in large part, to a spice blend. Loaded with cumin, chili powder, garlic and paprika (among others), this spice blend is mixed with a little olive oil and water and spread on the tofu steaks.
It’s not quite a marinade, and not quite a dry rub – although there are elements of both.
For this recipe you will need:
- Tofu: Look for a block of firm or extra firm tofu.
- Southwestern spice mix: A mixture of chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried oregano, ground coriander, salt, extra virgin olive oil, and water.
- Creamy lime dressing: A mixture of lime juice, mayonnaise (or vegenaise) red wine vinegar, maple syrup, cilantro, and jalapeno.
- Additional ingredients: To make it a tofu bowl (full meal), you will need cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, corn tortillas, cilantro, and a jalapeno.
How to Make Southwestern Baked Tofu Steaks
Scroll all the way down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF (205ºC).
- Drain the tofu and gently wrap it in a tea towel or in a couple of paper towels, to remove excess water. Very gently (be very careful not to break to tofu block) press down on the tofu block to let out some water and repeat 4 to 5 times.
- Slice the tofu horizontally in half and in half again widthwise. This will give you four even tofu slices.
- Cover a small cooking sheet with parchment paper and lay the tofu steaks on top.
- Use a small bowl to mix all the ingredients for the southwestern spice mix and spread it over each tofu steak using the back of a spoon. Flip the steaks over and cover the other side with the marinade.
- Let the tofu steaks sit for 45 minutes.
- Put the tofu steaks in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the steaks over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Cooking Tofu Steaks in a Pan
If you don’t have an oven, or simply prefer to cook your tofu steaks in a pan, here is how to do it:
- Use a large nonstick skillet and place it over medium heat (or medium-high heat if it’s not a gas stove top).
- Place the tofu steaks in the skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, making sure not to burn the spices. Keep an eye on your steaks at all times as the spice mixture can char easily. Turn the heat off and serve.
Tofu is loaded with protein and calcium. But it also delivers good amounts of iron, zinc and potassium as well.
Look for organic, non-GMO tofu
The general rule of thumb I follow when eating tofu is to stick to the stuff made from REAL soy. A few of non-GMO tofu producers I use are House Foods, Morinaga, and Nasoya. Always look at the list of ingredients on the packaging as many brands contain soy protein isolate or genetically engineered soybeans.
There is a ton of information out there about the possible health benefits – as well as the possible health detriments – of eating bean curd. This isn’t that article. I’m most certainly not a doctor or a nutritionist, so please take my words as those of a home chef.
When it comes to food I wholeheartedly advocate doing due diligence in the form of research – and then eating accordingly. The big hope is always that the information you find happens to line up with what your taste buds like!
How to Serve these Tofu Steaks
When I made this at home, I whipped up quinoa as a hearty, nutty base for my smoky baked tofu steaks. But feel free to use brown rice or any type of rice or grain you like. This will be the bed upon which you will layer all the delicious flavors for this dish.
Aside from the toppings and sauce listed above, I recommend adding a sliced avocado for extra creaminess.
Other Tofu Recipes You Might Like
Favorite Tofu Recipes From The Blog
Did you like this Southwestern Style Baked Tofu Steaks Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Southwestern Style Baked Tofu Steaks
A recipe for spiced tofu steak you can serve at your next tex mex dinner!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 70 minutes
- Yield: 4 steaks 1x
- Category: Vegan
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 1 package firm tofu
Southwestern spice mix:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
Creamy lime dressing (optional):
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or vegenaise
- 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon 100% pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno, finely chopped (use less or entirely omit it if you don’t like spicy)
Additional ingredients for baked tofu bowl (optional):
- black beans
- fresh cilantro leaves
- sliced jalapenos
- corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Drain and wrap tofu in a tea towel or paper towel to remove excess water. Very gently (be very careful not to break to tofu block) press to let out some water and repeat 4-5 times. Slice tofu horizontally in half and in half again widthwise. You should have 4 tofu steaks.
- Cover a small baking tray with parchment paper and lay tofu on top.
- In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the southwestern spice mix.
- Using the back of a spoon, spread southwestern spice mixture on both sides of tofu steaks and set aside for 30-45 minutes to marinade.
- Baked tofu in the oven for 15 minutes, flip the steaks and bake for another 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Store the leftover tofu steaks in an airtight storage container, for up to 2 days.
- Serving Size: 1 tofu steak
- Calories: 184
- Sugar: 0.5g
- Sodium: 353.6mg
- Fat: 15.3g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 4.3g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 9.3g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: recipe, bean curd, vegetarian, vegan, plant based, meatless, main
Made this yesterday- the day I got the email! It’s delicious! I used the spice blend on tofu steaks for me and sirloins steaks for the hubby and granddaughter. We all loved it! Made the bowls with the quinoa, beans, corn, and jalapeños just like you suggested. We’ll be having this again, many times! Yum!
Thank you so much Margie! 🙂
I had my doubts and I was wrong! I love this recipe. The spices really jazz up the tofu, and plus points for no frying, which I try to avoid. The creamy lime dressing is tasty and adds a refreshing zing to the tofu “steaks.” I served as steaks with roasted apsparagus and brown jasmine rice stir-fried with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, and parsley. I thought the lime dressing was a bit thin and I might be tempted to add a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt next time I make it.
This is the absolute favourite tofu dish. I have tried to enjoy tofu many different ways but this one is by far the best. I usually sautee up some mushrooms and onions with it instead of the lime sauce and serve with horseradish.
Thank you so much Debbie! 🙂
Loved the flavor of this dish. Tonight I served with quinoa, black beans and roasted veggies but you could also do a salad, sandwich, tacos, wraps, etc. And don’t skip the dressing! It’s simple and delicious. Great stuff. I will be making this again!
Thank you so much Lauren! 🙂
This is AMAZING!!!! I was so sad when my bowl was empty! The creamy lime sauce really made it pop! Can’t wait to make this again!
Thank you so much Sarah! 🙂
I’ve made these steaks many times now and it’s so good with the creamy lime dressing! I love making these when my non-vegan family has steak because I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all.
Thank you Celine! 🙂
This recipe is amazing!! I’m not a fan of cilantro, so I used parsley, and didn’t have red wine vinegar, so I used white wine vinegar. I served it over a bowl of wild rice and quinoa pilaf, and it was so so good!! This will be a definite part of my recipe rotation!
Also, this is the first time ever that I’ve been compelled to write a review…it’s that good.
I made this recipe this week and my husband and I loved it!
What an original and tasty way to eat tofu! Never thought of marinating tofu like this but it tasted so good!
Thank you again for another amazing recipe! LOVE your blog and recipes!! 🙂