These crispy tofu bowls have a fluffy quinoa base, crispy tofu and lots of garnish like sweet pomegranate, creamy avocado and vibrant arugula. Super satisfying for lunch or dinner!
Today I’m sharing a tofu quinoa bowl, but the toppings? Let your creative monster fly!
For any ‘bowl’ meal like this tofu bowl, start with a base, add some protein and then garnish to your little heart’s content.
You can totally customize to your taste so you can regularly mix things up.
Crispy Tofu Bowls
‘Bowl’ meals, or ‘buddha’ bowls, are something hubby and I eat a lot! Why? Because they are so dang easy. Plus, we get to use whatever odds and ends are floating around in our fridge. Waste not, want not right? Basically, you have:
- A grain, starch base or legume base
- Some protein
- Veggie or fruit add ins
- A delicious sauce
Best Tofu For Frying
Firm tofu is the best tofu for frying. Don’t use silken or regular tofu. Firm is what you want. It doesn’t have as much water content as, say, silken, and allows the tofu cubes to crisp up nice and golden brown. Ain’t nobody got time for floppy, soggy uncrispy tofu. This is a great guide to tofu.
How to Press Tofu Without a Press
As you may know, removing excess moisture from tofu is a key step in making crispy tofu. You can certainly buy a fancy tofu press, but if you don’t have one at home (like me), no worries! To press tofu:
- Cut block of (firm) tofu in half.
- Wrap each half of tofu in paper towel (multiple layers, like 4 to 5).
- Place something heavy on top, like a cast-iron pan or some heavy cans (like a canned tomatoes or the like). Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before unwrapping and proceeding with recipe.
Tip: If you want even more moisture removed, halfway through pressing, remove paper towel and replace with fresh stuff.
How to Marinate Tofu
How to make tofu taste good? It’s easy … marinate it! After you’ve pressed excess moisture from the tofu, I love to marinate to give extra flavour. Tofu by itself is not flavourful and pretty neutral tasting, which is not a bad thing! That just means it can take out whatever flavours you want it to!
So, to marinate tofu:
- Cut pressed tofu into strips.
- Cut strips into cubes.
- Place in marinade, stirring to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
How to Make Crispy Tofu
There are so many ways to cook tofu: simply pan fry it, scramble it, grill it or make crispy tofu (like I did for this quinoa bowl).
After the tofu has been pressed and marinated, now let’s make crispy tofu. Honestly, you guys, I could pop these little bite-sized pieces like candy.
- Remove tofu from marinade, shaking off excess. Dab a little dry with paper towel, if you like.
- Place half of the tofu into a food-safe plastic bag and sprinkle in 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, shaking to coat.
- Repeat with remaining tofu and cornstarch. Ensure excess cornstarch is shaken off (I like to put them in a sieve to remove excess).
- In a large non-stick pan on medium-low heat (working in about 2 batches), add half of olive oil (1 tablespoon) and add half of tofu.
- Cook tofu on all sides, turning as necessary, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and lay on a baking rack or plate while preparing second batch.
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Yogurt Sauce for Quinoa Bowls
For these easy quinoa bowls, I made a super simple yogurt sauce to drizzle over top. Honestly, for the photos, I went a little easy. After? I piled it on, LOL. It’s garlicky, lemony and simply delicious.
I used 1 cup of uncooked quinoa (which yields about 3 cups cooked). For me, it’s plenty for 4 servings. However, if you want things a little more substantial feel free to cook more.
Like mentioned above, coat the tofu in batches and ensure the excess cornstarch is shaken off. If not, the tofu will not get the best possible crispy exterior.
Variations & Topping Options for these Tofu Bowls
- Try another base like couscous, rice or bulgar.
- Mix up the greens with other options like baby spinach, kale or Swiss chard
- Try adding in some beans or lentils (like chickpeas, black beans, navy beans or green lentils) for extra oomph
- Green onion or sliced red onion
- Hot peppers
- Nuts or seeds
- For another sauce try hot sauce or a vinaigrette
More Yummy Tofu Recipes
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos
- Zucchini Noodle Curry Coconut Soup with Grilled Tofu
- Black Bean and Tofu Scramble Lettuce Wraps
Hope you love these tofu bowls as much as we do!
If you make this easy tofu recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Crispy Tofu Bowls with Quinoa (and Garlicky Lemon Yogurt Sauce)
Garlicky Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon , zest & juiced (about 3 tablespoons juice)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic , minced (depending on how much garlic flavour you want)
- pinch salt (or to taste)
- pinch black pepper
Tofu and Marinade for Tofu
- 1 pound firm tofu (about 454 grams)
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 1 lime , juiced
'Batter' for Tofu and To Fry Tofu
- 5 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch (or enough to coat the tofu)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Bowl Components and Toppings
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooked per package instructions)
- 1 avocado , peeled, pitted and sliced (to taste)
- 1 chili pepper , sliced (to taste)
- 1 cup baby arugula (or to taste)
- ½ pomegranate (or to taste)
Garlicky Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl until mixed. Note: Start with 1 clove of garlic and taste if it's enough for you. Add another if you like things really garlicky.
How to Press Tofu
- Cut block of tofu in half. Wrap each half in brown paper towel a few times. Lay on a plate or board that has been covered in paper towel. Place something heavy on top of wrapped tofu, like a cast-iron pan or heavy can. Alternatively, if you have, you can use a tofu press to remove any excess moisture from your tofu. Allow to dry out for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, unwrap tofu. Place all marinade ingredients in a baking dish and stir to combine.
- Cut tofu into strips and then dice into little cubes and place into marinade, moving around to coat.
- Allow to marinate for about 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To Fry Tofu
- Remove tofu from marinade. Shake off excess marinade and pat dry a little, if necessary.
- Place half of the tofu into a food-safe plastic bag and sprinkle half of the cornstarch over top (about 2 to 4 tablespoons). Shake to coat. Ensure excess cornstarch is shaken off by removing the cubes from the bag and placing the tofu in a sieve. Repeat with remaining tofu and cornstarch.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick pan (working in two batches) over medium-low heat.
- Add half of the tofu. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with next batch (adding another tablespoon of oil, if necessary, between batches).
- Place browned tofu on a rack, sheet or plate while cooking second batch.
To Assemble Tofu Bowl
- Distribute cooked quinoa among bowls. Top with tofu and toppings. Drizzle with sauce. Enjoy!
Nutrition (ESTIMATE ONLY)
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.