Grilled Tofu Kebabs with Peanut Sauce
Marinades are a grilling secret weapon. There’s nothing wrong with prepping your protein with a basic salt, pepper, and oil combo, of course! But marinades will give whatever you’re grilling — steak, chicken, fish — a little more depth and nuance. Our favorite vehicle for marinades? Tofu. It soaks up spices, aromatics, and whatnot like a sponge, and its neutral flavor lets everything in the marinade shine. (Bonus: tofu typically gets Platonic ideal-level grill marks.)
We marinate the tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, garlic powder, and ginger. It takes about an hour for the squishy tofu cubes to absorb all that sweet, salty, spicy goodness, but it’s mostly hands-off time (hello, afternoon nap), and all the flavor it adds is well worth the wait. After their bath, we slide them onto skewers with summer squash, baby bella mushrooms, and red onion. Right before the skewers hit the grill, we brush them with even more of the marinade — the coconut sugar helps the tofu and veggies caramelize and char on the hot, hot grate.
These tofu kebabs are incredible on their own. But here, we serve them with a homemade peanut sauce because, well, we would probably eat a pencil if it was coated in peanut sauce. Plus, it’s super easy to whip up. We stir up peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and coconut milk with a lot of the same spices and aromatics as the marinade. Read: It’s as creamy as it is full of spicy-sweet flavor. We love how much depth and richness it brings to the light, summery kebabs — it’s a healthy meal that tastes like a treat.
We’d make these kebabs for a weekend barbecue in the backyard with friends — the single serving skewer is the “It Snack” for post-pandemic parties. Plus, it’s a great option for the plant-based people in your life. That said, we’d also make the full batch for Monday night dinner, and then save the rest for a few days’ worth of rice bowls. A heaping pile of chewy rice, charred tofu, crunchy veggies, and creamy peanut sauce will be about as far from sad-desk lunch as you can get!
Our tip: If you’re feeling wine with these tofu kebabs, we’d reach for a bottle of viognier. Its aromatic, fruit-forward notes and dry mouthfeel will balance out the spicy Sriracha in the marinade and peanut sauce quite nicely.
Yield: 4 kebabs
For the tofu kebabs and marinade:
1 14-oz package extra-firm tofu
⅓ cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
½ tsp Gelson’s garlic powder
½ tsp Gelson’s ginger powder
8 oz whole baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
1 summer squash, cut into ½” rounds
1 small red onion, quartered
For the peanut sauce:
⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup chopped peanuts
3 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
½ Tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tsp coconut sugar
¼ tsp Gelson’s garlic powder
¼ tsp Gelson’s ginger powder
Gelson’s organic fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
On a large cutting board, pat the tofu dry with a paper towel, removing as much excess moisture as possible. Slice the tofu into 12 equal pieces and press another paper towel over them to continue drying them out. Place the tofu chunks into a large mixing bowl.
To make the marinade: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Pour two-thirds of the marinade over the tofu, reserving the remaining marinade for later. Let the tofu marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, soak 4 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
To make the peanut sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the creamy peanut butter, chopped peanuts, coconut milk, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, coconut sugar, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Set aside.
To make the kebabs: Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Thread the marinated tofu, baby bella mushrooms, summer squash, and red onions onto the skewers. Brush the vegetables with the reserved marinade so they’re coated.
Grill the skewers 3 to 5 minutes per side, brushing with the remaining marinade while turning to cook evenly.
Remove from the heat and place on a serving tray. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges, and serve hot with the peanut sauce.
Recipe source: Crowded Kitchen