This easy sesame tofu with broccoli comes together in 30 minutes and tastes better than take-out! I'll show you how to get the meaty texture you crave in tofu but without oil. From tofu-lovers to tofu-skeptics, this healthy sesame tofu with broccoli is always a hit! Gluten-free and no refined sugar.
This recipe was originally published January 2019 and has been updated for content and new photos.
Why this Recipe Works
A one-pot dinner is always welcome. And when it contains chewy, satisfying tofu, flavorful sesame sauce, AND perfectly cooked broccoli? So much to love!
This Sticky Sesame Tofu With Broccoli is omnivore-approved and a go-to weeknight meal in our house. You'll love the meaty texture that high-heat broiling gives the tofu (without any oil).
Sticky sesame tofu couldn't be easier to make. You'll have this dish on the table in less time than it would take to order take-out!
- Tofu - see details below on different types of tofu and how they affect this recipe. My favorite for this preparation is super firm tofu.
- Broccoli - fresh broccoli is best here; you'll need about 4 cups of florets.
And for the sauce:
- Soy sauce or tamari - look for certified gluten-free tamari if needed.
- Maple syrup - this is the "sticky" part of our sauce.
- Rice vinegar - either plain or seasoned rice vinegar are fine.
- Ginger - select a fresh-looking, thumb-size piece of ginger root.
- Toasted sesame oil - adds great flavor to the sauce; for oil-free diets, you may replace this with tahini (ground sesame seeds).
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
Tips for Selecting and Preparing the 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, like the vacuum-packed one available at Trader Joe's, all you need to do is pat it dry. That particular tofu is much more dense and contains very little water.
Super-firm tofu ideal for recipes like this because it not only saves time (since you don't have to press it first), but also because it's 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!
Step By Step Process
- First, dissolve the corn starch in water. In a separate bowl whisk together the other sauce ingredients. Set both aside Preheat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, and preheat the oven broiler. Wet your fingers and flick a bit of water into the pan. If the water beads and dances across the surface, the pan is fully preheated. Place each piece of tofu in the pan, turn off the eye, and transfer the pan to the oven. Broil until the tops are golden, about 8 minutes. Flip the tofu and broil for another 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to the stove top and turn the eye on medium-low. Slide an oven mitt onto the hot handle so that no one accidentally grabs it! Add the broccoli to the pan.
- Combine the corn starch slurry with the sauce, and pour over the tofu and broccoli. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the broccoli is crisp-tender. Garnish and serve.
Tips for serving Sticky Sesame Tofu
The sauce in this recipe is flavorful, so a little goes a long way. Because the inside of the tofu isn't seasoned, we want the saucy exterior to be bold enough to carry flavor through every bite.
Here's the catch, 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 a LOT of sauce, enough to coat a pot-full of noodles, you'll want to double or triple the amount of sauce.
Want to stretch the recipe farther to feed more people or have leftovers? Add two cups of cooked garbanzo beans to the pot when the broccoli is almost done. Then, cover and let the beans heat through. It's a delicious combination!
As an alternative to broccoli, serve sesame tofu with baby spinach, bok choy or kale.
Store leftover sesame tofu in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The recipe makes a small amount so I doubt you'll need to freeze it! But just in case, it is freezer-friendly.
You'll need a large, heavy-bottom, oven-safe pan for this recipe. If you're in need of one, I can recommend this Cuisinart 5.5 quart saute pan. I've been using mine daily for several years. It's surprisingly durable, versatile, and easy to clean.
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I hope you enjoy this easy, one-pot Sticky Sesame Tofu as much as we do. If you try the recipe I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, zested or finely minced
- 1 teaspoon zested or minced ginger root
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil - for oil-free, omit or sub 1 Tablespoon tahini.
- red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot dissolved in ⅓ cup water
- 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, sesame oil (or tahini), and red 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 fully preheated 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 a bit. 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.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Is this a sweet sauce? My local Chinese restaurant makes a sesame bean curd with broccoli that has a sauce on the sweet side and it's awesome. I'd love to be able to make something similar.
Hi Diane, yes it does have a nice amount of sweetness thanks to the maple syrup. I hope you enjoy it!
I just made this and we absolutely loved it! Thank you! It’s definitely going to be a go to meal for my family!
Would love to try this recipe! Sodium per serving: 910mg.... That's twice as much as I want per meal. Even low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce are very high in sodium. Do you have any suggestions on how to lower sodium content without losing flavor? Thank you.
Hi Carol, not specifically, other than trying some other savory flavor additions, like nutritional yeast or miso (which also has sodium but some people feel differently/better about it) and simply reducing the amount of soy sauce. Many of us have very different preferences when it comes to saltiness, so you may find you like it just fine with much less soy sauce. I hope that helps!
That sounds great! I was looking on what to do with brocoli and tofu and will try this tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!
That's great! Hope you enjoy it, Natalie.