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 are something hubby and I eat a lot! Why? Because they are so easy. Plus, we get to use some odds and ends in our fridge. Basically, you have:
- A grain, starch base or legume base
- Some protein
- Veggie or fruit add ins
- A delicious sauce
Best Tofu for Frying
There are lots of tofu varieties, each suited for different things.
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.
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 towels (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 the paper towels 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 towels, 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 frying pan over 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.
Full details are in the recipe card below.
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.
If you want to add more toppings, go for it! Some delicious options are:
- Sliced green onion or red onion
- Diced tomato
- Sliced chili pepper
- Nuts or seeds, like peanuts or sunflower seeds
- Try another base like couscous, rice or bulgar.
- Mix up the leafy green veg 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.
- For another sauce try hot sauce or a vinaigrette.
More Yummy Tofu Recipes
If you make this easy tofu recipe, be sure to leave a comment below.
Crispy Tofu Bowls With Yogurt Sauce
Garlicky Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, zest and 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 freshly ground black pepper
Tofu and Marinade for Tofu
- 1 pound firm tofu
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, or gluten-free or regular soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 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 according to package instructions (about ⅓ cup of quinoa before cooking)
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
- 1 chili pepper, sliced (or to taste)
- 1 cup baby arugula, or to taste
- ½ pomegranate arils, or to taste
Garlicky Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- In a bowl, whisk Greek yogurt, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt and black pepper until well combined. Note: Start with 1 clove of garlic and taste if it's enough for you. Add another if you like things really garlicky.
Press Tofu (Remove Some of the Moisture)
- Cut block of tofu in half. Wrap each half in paper towel a few times. Transfer tofu to a plate or board that has been covered in paper towels. Place something heavy on top of wrapped tofu, like a cast-iron pan or heavy can. Allow to dry out for 30 minutes (replacing the paper towel a couple of times). Alternatively, if you have, you can use a tofu press to remove any excess moisture from your tofu.
- After 30 minutes, unwrap tofu and discard the paper towels. In a shallow dish, whisk soy sauce, vegetable broth, maple syrup, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and lime juice until combined.
- 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.
- 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.
- To cook tofu, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
- Add half of the tofu. Cook until golden brown on all sides, moving the tofu cubes around to crisp all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer crispy tofu to a cooling rack, baking sheet or plate while cooking remaining tofu.
- Repeat process to cook remaining tofu.
Assemble Tofu Bowl
- Distribute cooked quinoa among four bowls. Top with tofu, avocado, chili pepper, baby arugula, and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with sauce. Serve and enjoy!
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!