Unless you’re a big devotee of vegetarian cooking, tofu isn’t a food that most people associate with grilling. That’s a shame, however, because tofu is an awesome grill food once you get familiar with it and start exploring the possibilities! Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or a curious omnivore looking for a healthy grilled treat, we’ve got seven key tips for grilling tofu up ahead.
There are a lot of different types of tofu, and you want to make sure to buy a type that stands up to grilling. Softer tofu, especially the “silken” kind, is good for soups and desserts but can easily fall apart on the grill. Instead, go for firm or extra-firm non-silken tofu, which is easier to handle and more versatile for grilling.
One of tofu’s most important properties is its ability to take on other flavors easily. Thus, marinating your tofu before grilling it is a key part of the process. Even BBQ sauce by itself makes an excellent marinade, especially since the sugar in the sauce helps caramelize it. However, don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to pre-made marinades. Coming up with your own can be tons of fun, especially if you’ve got specific flavor profiles in mind like spicy or sweet-and-sour. Plus, remember you can always add more sauce or marinade during and after cooking!
Depending on how you like your tofu, the freezer could be the secret to getting it just right. If you’re looking for tofu that absorbs seasonings extremely well and has a firm, meaty texture, stick it in the freezer for a few hours, then thaw in the fridge when you’re ready to grill it up. The freezing and thawing process removes the water from the tofu and leaves it spongier than before, giving it a great mouthfeel and allowing it to marinate extremely quickly.
Tofu comes packed in water, and a lot of that water will still be inside it if you cook it straight out of the package. This can make it difficult to get the crispy texture that most people want, and it also increases cooking time. Thus, one of the first things you should do is remove the excess water. Remove the tofu from its packaging, and then place paper towels on top of it and under it and press it down with a heavy object such as a cutting board or heavy pan for 15 to 30 minutes. After this, the water should be mostly removed.
Tofu can easily be ruined if it sticks to the grill, so you’ll need to do a little prep to keep that from happening. Before you put your tofu on the grill, get your grill grates scrubbed off with a grill brush and lubricate them with a thin coat of olive oil. This helps prevent stickiness, as well as removes any gunk on your grill grates that could affect the taste of your tofu. In fact, cleaning and lubricating your grill grates is a smart idea before you cook anything!
Need a quick dinner and don’t have time to marinate your tofu? Most grocery stores — and Asian markets, in particular — sell pre-marinated tofu that’s already bursting with flavor. This takes care of the most time-consuming part of cooking tofu, so all you’ll need to do is throw it on your pellet grill for a few minutes. Voila — a fast, healthy and, most importantly, tasty entree!
Tofu often shines the brightest when it’s paired up with other savory grilled veggies. Try some of our other vegetarian grill recipes like smoked baby carrots, brussels sprouts or fall ratatouille with your grilled tofu. You’ll love the smorgasbord of crispy, crunchy textures and fresh flavors that these vegetarian combos bring to your table.
Source: Sergii Koval/Shutterstock
At Grilla Grills, we pride ourselves on bringing good eating to every table through our state-of-the-art selection of WiFi pellet grills and our passion for outdoor cooking. Check out Grilla Grills’ full archive of pellet grill recipes for tons of easy and tasty dishes, from meat to veggies to desserts and beyond!