A one-pot dinner always sounds like a good idea. And when it contains chewy, satisfying tofu, a flavorful sauce, AND perfectly cooked broccoli? Sign me up! This Sticky Sesame Tofu With Broccoli has become a go-to weeknight meal in our house. I love the meaty texture that broiling under high heat gives the tofu (without any oil). I'm also a sucker for nutty, barely fork-tender broccoli, and this recipe has both! Let's talk briefly about tofu....
In the post for Savory Tofu Pancakes, I talked a bit about the different types of firm tofu and how their water content can really impact a recipe. For the high-heat cooking method I'm sharing today, if you're using a typical extra-firm tofu that comes packed in water, you'll get the best results if you press the tofu for about 20 to 30 minutes before cooking.
However, if you have access to a SUPER-firm tofu, such as the shrink-wrapped type available at Trader Joe's, all you need to do is pat it dry. That particular tofu is dense, firm, and contains very little water. It's ideal for recipes like this one because it not only saves time (since you don't have to press it first), but also because it's really sturdy and holds up well during flipping and stirring.
- "regular" extra-firm tofu ---> press it first (here are awesome instructions for pressing tofu - video)
- super-firm tofu with low water content ---> no need to press!
Tips for serving Sticky Sesame Tofu
- The sauce in this recipe is flavorful, so a little goes a long way. Since the inside of the tofu isn't seasoned, we want the saucy exterior to be bold enough to carry flavor through every bite. But if you're expecting a large amount of sauce, enough that can be drizzled over noodles, you might be disappointed. As the recipe is written, there's plenty of sauce for eating the tofu and broccoli alone or with a small bowl of rice. But if you want enough sauce to coat a pot-full of noodles, you may want to double or triple the batch.
- Want to stretch the recipe farther to feed more people or have leftovers? Add two cups of cooked garbanzo beans to the pot once the broccoli is done. Then, cover and let the beans heat through. It's a delicious combination!
- As an alternative to broccoli, try it with baby spinach or chopped kale.
I hope you enjoy this easy, one-pot Sticky Sesame Tofu as much as we do. Oh, and if you're looking for an incredibly useful, all-purpose, large sauté pan (pictured above), I can't recommend this Cuisinart 5.5 quart saute pan highly enough. I use mine constantly! It's affordable, durable, safe for the oven, and easy to clean. With proper pre-heating (see the tip in the recipe below), it's an infinitely better non-stick surface than any non-stick pan I've ever used, and it caramelizes foods in a way non-stick pans can't.
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Sticky Sesame Tofu With Broccoli
- 16 ounces super firm tofu (patted dry) or extra firm tofu (pressed), cut into 12 equal-sized rectangles
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup soy sauce (sub tamari for gluten-free)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, zested or finely minced
- 1 tsp zested or finely minced ginger root
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (for oil-free, omit or sub 1 Tbsp tahini)
- red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 Tbsp corn starch or arrowroot dissolved in ⅓ cup water
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
- green onion, sliced
- Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, sesame oil (or tahini), and pepper flakes in a small bowl. In a separate bowl or mug, dissolve the starch in water. Don't add the starch slurry to the sauce just yet. Set aside.
- Preheat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Position the top oven rack about 6 inches from heat source and set broiler to 500 degrees.
- Wet your fingers and flick a bit of water into the pan. If the water beads and dances across the surface, the pan is ready and the tofu won't stick. Place each piece of tofu in the pan, careful not to move them once placed. They may pop and sputter but don't worry! There's no oil to burn you. Turn off the eye and transfer the pan to the oven. Broil until the tops are golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove pan from oven and flip the tofu. Return pan to oven and broil for another 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to the stove top and turn the eye on medium-low. REMEMBER, the handle is HOT. For safety, slide an oven mitt onto the handle as a reminder.
- Mix the starch slurry into the sauce and pour over the tofu. Add the broccoli to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the tofu and broccoli with sauce. Once the sauce has thickened and the broccoli can be pierced with a fork, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds and serve.