Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu
Original recipe inspiration: Sticky Teriyaki Tofu by Vegan Travel Eats (https://vegantraveleats.com)
Additional ideas: Rather than making this a stir-fry, try grilling! You will still need to make the teriyaki glaze in a pan and bake the tofu to make sure it’s crispy, but don’t add in the solid pineapple or veggies. Instead, take a bamboo skewer and pop on the raw veggies, pineapple, and cooked tofu and brush the teriyaki glaze on. Then throw on the grill and cook until the veggies are done! You may need to add more corn starch or simmer longer to get it to thicken.
Optional shortcuts: Using canned pineapple and/or store bought sauce of choice.
Serving suggestions: Make with rice or nothing at all! Feel free to add any other veggies that make your heart sing.
- For the stir fry
- 1 pineapple (chopped, with juices kept in separate bowl for teriyaki sauce)
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- 1/4 cup corn starch (plus 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper) For the teriyaki sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp ginger (about a 1 inch piece)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil (can substitute any oil if you don’t have it)
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos or tamari)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp of cold water -Optional: if you like it sweet, add 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or agave syrup or maple syrup). The pineapple will naturally sweeten it up, so add sweetener to taste
- Optional: if you like a little heat, can add 1 tsp of chili garlic sauce or 1/2 tsp of red chili pepper flakes. Feel free to add much or as little heat as you like!
- For the Tofu:
To get the tofu nice and crisp, I HIGHLY recommend planning ahead and squeezing out the excess moisture. This is less important if you enjoy tofu, but extremely important if you have a meat eater around that is not on team tofu yet.
- Drain and Press the tofu: Open the package of tofu and drain any excess water. To press, take two dish towels and fold them up into nicely packed rectangles (fold in half about 3x). Place the tofu between the dish towels and “smoosh” between two plates. To make sure tofu is comes out as firm as possible, place in refrigerator for two hours. If tight on time, gently press on the top plate to get out as much water as possible, then leave in the fridge as long as you can while you prep the other ingredients.
- Once the tofu is ready, pre heat oven or air fryer to 400 degrees.
- While the oven is pre heating, take the tofu out of fridge and cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch in size).
- Toss the cubes in a medium sized bowl with the corn starch plus salt and pepper. Make sure the cubes are covered on all sides
- Spray down a baking sheet with an oil that can handle a high heat (avocado, canola, and grape seed oil all work). Place tofu cubes on sheet and spray a light coat of the same oil on top.
- If using an air fryer: bake for five minutes, flip, and then bake for another 5 minutes. The tofu will have a light golden brown appearance when finished. If using an oven: may take 7-10 minutes per side depending on your oven. Set aside on a plate when done.
While the tofu bakes, make your teriyaki sauce
1. Before you do anything else: cut your pineapple into 1 inch chunks, making sure to preserve the juices for your teriyaki sauce later.
(I found it easiest to take a chef’s knife and cut the entire pineapple in half vertically, then score hashmarks into the flesh of the pineapple vertically and horizontally, then spoon out the pieces into a bowl. This not only preserves the pineapple itself as a bowl for a beautiful presentation later, but it also helps to preserve the pineapple juices)
2. After you are done cutting the pineapple, strain out the bowl of pineapple into a second empty bowl so that you can collect the juices for your sauce. I ended up having about 1/3 cup of pineapple juice.
3. Mince the garlic and ginger before you start the sauce.
(If the ginger is fresh, I like to use a vegetable peeler to get the skin off, then use a grater for speed and also enhancing the disbursement of flavor throughout the dish)
3. Take a sauce pan, add the sesame oil, and turn to a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger, stirring for about 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant.
4. Add all other ingredients including soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar, chili garlic sauce (or chili pepper flakes), pineapple juice, and dissolved corn starch. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down low to simmer with the lid off for about 10 min, stirring frequently.
5. While the sauce is simmering, chop the onion and bell pepper.
6. After the sauce simmers for about 10 minutes, add the red onion, bell pepper, and half of the pineapple to the pan (save the rest for a snack later), stir frequently until the onion and pepper begin to soften (approx 5 min). If your sauce is too thick, cover the pan with lid. If too thin, take the lid off!
7. By now the tofu is most certainly done! Toss the crispy tofu into the pan and cover it with that teriyaki juicy goodness. Feel free to turn the heat off, you’re done!