Vegan Butter Tofu ‘Chicken’ (gluten-free)
Vegan Butter Tofu- made with a creamy tomato sauce and baked tofu, this comforting meal provides 23g of complete protein per serving! (gluten-free)
This vegan butter tofu ‘chicken’ is comfort food at its finest. Warming, packed with flavor and satiating thanks to the high protein content. It’s the perfect meal to warm up with on a cold winter day.
I’ve definitely leaned in to eating more tofu now that I’m focusing on a high protein diet. Not only does it contain all of the amino acids (which can be rare for plant-based protein sources) but the firmer varieties pack a decent punch of protein for the amount of calories. Plus it’s a good source of iron and calcium. To sum it up, tofu and I are like besties now.
Vegan Butter Tofu Ingredients
For the Baked Tofu
- Extra Firm Tofu- Firm tofu is ideal for its texture in this recipe. I prefer a high protein tofu to increase the protein content. Trader Joes makes a very affordable high protein tofu that I love.
- Tamari- Whether you use tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), traditional soy sauce or coconut aminos, this ingredient is to provide salty umami flavor to the tofu. It is essential for the best flavor.
- Olive Oil- Just a little bit of oil keeps the tofu from burning while baking. Feel free to use whatever neutral flavored oil you prefer.
- Cornstarch- Cornstarch helps bind the marinade to the tofu and creates crispy edges. You can also substitute arrowroot powder if you choose.
- Nutritional Yeast- Nooch, as vegans like to call it, is a fermented byproduct that’s not only a good source of vitamins but it adds a delicious funky and cheesy flavor. If you’re skeptical, feel free to skip it but I personally recommend including it.
For the Sauce
- Vegan Butter- A quality dairy-free butter is key for a rich and flavorful sauce. Miyokos is my all-time favorite.
- Onion- Finely chopped onion creates a savory base for the sauce. You can also use shallot if you like.
- Garlic and Ginger- Because what meal isn’t better with fresh garlic and ginger? I always mince and grate mine fresh but you could also use prepared paste in a pinch.
- Ground chili powder, Cumin, Turmeric and Garam Masala- These spices add warming depth to the dish. I went with a combination to suite my personal preferences but you are welcome to adjust them to your liking.
- Crushed Tomatoes- Tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes. All will work here. Just depending on how much texture you prefer in your sauce. Be sure to include the juices when you add them to the pot!
- Coconut Milk- Full fat coconut milk is ideal for a rich and creamy sauce, but you can use light coconut milk if you need a lower fat option.
- Lemon Juice- This might seem weird but please don’t skip it! Lemon juice imparts a mild acidity that rounds out the flavors. A must, in my opinion!
How to Make Vegan Butter Tofu
- Prep the Tofu. Whisk together tamari, olive oil, cornstarch and nutritional yeast. Add cubed tofu and toss until evenly coated.
- Bake the Tofu. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
- Prep the Sauce. Sauté onion until translucent. Add spices, garlic and ginger. Cook for 3 minutes more. Pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
- Assemble and Serve! Add baked tofu to sauce and cook until heated through. Serve warm with cooked rice and garnish with cilantro.
Prep Ahead and Storage Tips
To make this a weeknight friendly meal, I recommend preparing the tofu in advance and storing in an airtight container. Then add to sauce as you would if preparing fresh.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. I haven’t tried freezing this recipe but please let me know how it turns out if you do.
Looking for more high-protein tofu recipes?
- Tofu ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup
- Easy Tofu Ground Beef Crumbles
- Fajita Tofu Kebabs
- Crispy Blackened Tofu Tacos
Vegan Butter Tofu Recipe
For the Tofu
For the Sauce
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free butter, Miyokos is my favorite
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 garlic cloves , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garam masala, or more, if preferred
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup coconut milk, I prefer full fat for an extra creamy sauce
- juice of 1 lemon
- cooked basmati rice, cilantro and flatbread for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, combine tamari, olive oil, cornstarch, nutritional yeast and salt. Stir to combine. To the bowl , add cubed tofu and toss until evenly coated. Arrange on baking sheet with space between each piece of tofu. Bake for 20 minutes.
- While the tofu bakes, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet or pot, warm butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes, until translucent.
- To the skillet, add the garlic, ginger, chili powder, cumin, turmeric and garam masala. Sauté for 3 minutes, until spices are lightly toasted. Pour in tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a low boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine.
- Lastly, add the baked tofu and lemon juice to the sauce. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through. Add salt & pepper, to taste. Serve warm with rice and cilantro to garnish, and enjoy!