This easy grilled tofu with chimichurri recipe with only 5 main ingredients is perfect for weeknight dinners and cookouts alike! You will use the techniques from this post for as long as you grill tofu.
🌿 Why This Recipe Works
If seven years of being vegan taught me anything, it's how to cook tofu. I now enjoy it in pretty much every way possible: baked, sautéd, braised, fried, pan-fried, and... grilled.
More specifically, grilled tofu, soft and juicy in the middle with a flavorful, crisp crust.
Some people find grilled tofu to be bland, but if there's a cookout, we're definitely bringing firm tofu in a bowl of chimichurri to prove them wrong. By the end, we usually get comments like "I don't really like tofu but this is really good" from standard grill lovers getting a second helping!
Western palates are still getting used to tofu—which is absolutely delicious even when plain—so the trick is to make them taste a bit more like traditional proteins. This firm, juicy, herbaceous, zingy dish can be the gateway to enjoying tofu!
Let's go over a few tips to get it right every time.
🔥 Tofu Grilling Tips
Making grilled tofu flavorful is really easy! Unfortunately, making it bland and mushy can be just as easy. All you need to do for a dish that's worth your time is pay attention to a few details!
These apply not just to chimichurri but to pretty much any marinade or basting sauce for tofu:
- Type of tofu - Use firm or extra-firm, non-silken kinds.
- Thick slices - If you cut the tofu too thin, the slices end up more like yuba (tofu skin) by the end, not to mention how difficult they are to handle. Serious Eats recommends ⅓-inch-thick slices.
- Grill/broil temperature - For perfectly grilled tofu, cook it low & slow. Too many recipes instruct a high-heat sear to make it crisp on the outside. This only creates thin, browned skin with a soggy center. Instead, you want to slowly dry out the exterior on low heat.
- Season well - Undersalting is often cited as the #1 cooking mistake committed by home cooks. With tofu, seasoning is especially important as it doesn't come prepackaged with high amounts of sodium like many animal-based proteins do.
- Leftover marinade - Use the leftover marinade after cooking as you're serving the tofu. The heat destroys some of the volatile flavor compounds, so make sure to reintroduce the marinade as a sauce.
- Firm Tofu - Firm or extra-firm tofu works best for grilling. Make sure not to use any silken varieties.
- Parsley - Use flat-leaf (also called Italian) parsley and make sure to chop it very finely. You can include the stems.
- Cilantro - I know, I know... cilantro isn't an authentic ingredient in chimichurri. But I love it! It adds more depth to the flavor and makes the sauce taste a bit citrusy. You can certainly substitute it with more parsley.
- Garlic - If you like less of a punch from garlic, mince it with a sharp knife and not a garlic press. You can also mix it with lemon juice for a few minutes prior to adding everything else.
- Lemon Juice - This condiment really needs acidity, and lemon juice works great. If you have red wine vinegar (more authentic), I suggest substituting half of the lemon juice with that.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - Use the best one you've got! Always look for a bottled date on the container and choose the freshest available.
- Dried Oregano - You may substitute it with fresh oregano by roughly tripling the volume. Just make sure to discard the woody stems.
- Chile Pepper Flakes - I always use Aleppo pepper flakes for more depth of flavor, but any type of chile flakes will do. You may also use minced & deseeded fresh chile.
- Salt & Black Pepper - Adjust seasonings as you wish.
Mix all marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and adjust seasonings if necessary.
I don’t usually press tofu, but you can if you like the cooked pieces to be even firmer. Cut the tofu block into ⅓-inch slices.
Gently press a clean dish towel or paper towel onto the slices to dry them further.
Layer the marinade and tofu slices in an airtight container and gently shake to cover all pieces. Let tofu marinate for at least an hour for the best flavor.
Grill tofu on medium-low heat until golden brown, about 15-25 minutes.
Serve with rice or make it into a pita sandwich and use the leftover marinade as a topping. Enjoy!
- Make-Ahead - You may prepare the tofu in the marinade and save it in an airtight container in the fridge one day ahead.
- Scale - This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for large gatherings.
- Save - Chimichurri is best when consumed within 24 hours, but you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
- Marinade vs Sauce - You can easily make this a weeknight dish by skipping the marinating process altogether! To cut down on time, simply use the chimichurri as a sauce on cooked tofu.
- Broiler - If cooking indoors under a broiler, place the pieces of tofu on a well-oiled wire cooling rack. Place the cooling rack into a rimmed baking pan lined with aluminum foil and broil until golden brown.
- Pan-Fry - If you want to try this recipe but don't want to bother with grilling or broiling, you may simply pan-fry the tofu on medium-low heat. I usually use a non-stick frying pan for this.
Choose firm or extra-firm, non-silken tofu for grilling.
For perfectly grilled tofu, cook it low & slow, for about 15-25 minutes until golden brown.
In order to avoid sticking, make sure to oil the grilling racks very well.
Tofu is a great substitute for more traditional grilling proteins! For best results, cut firm tofu into ⅓-inch slices and grill on low heat until golden brown to slowly dry out the exterior skin.
Tofu doesn't need to be marinated to taste good. With most tofu recipes, you can simply use the marinade as a sauce to get almost identical results to marinated tofu.
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Did you make this grilled tofu with chimichurri recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a star🌟 rating below. This helps me run Aegean Delight and I always appreciate it 🙂Print