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Sheet Pan Spicy Tofu And Roasted Vegetables

by | May 23, 2024

Yes, believe it or not, tofu can be easy and delicious at the same time. I know, I’ve blown your mind. Tofu can feel intimidating and also kind of boring at the same time. You want it crunchy, but you don’t always (or maybe ever) want to fry it. You might consider trying to make tofu sometimes, but then change your mind since you want to actually enjoy your dinner and the thought of soft, tasteless tofu is beyond boring.

I get it. It’s a slightly unknown food for most white people. But I was determined to figure it out since I’d had some amazing tofu out at restaurants.

Over time, I’ve narrowed my tofu dinner adventures to a couple of methods, and one of them is below. 

Why I Think You Should Eat Tofu

From my perspective as a dietitian and Intuitive Eating counselor, tofu is smart as hell. It’s affordable, super nutritious, eco-friendly, has the potential to be extremely satisfying, and is adaptable. Other good things about tofu:

  • Made from beans (soybeans) and therefore is high in both protein and fiber
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Adaptable – it takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with
  • One block is great for 2-3 meals, especially if you “beef” it up with a starch and a veg or two

Why People Are Afraid Of Soy

At some point in the last decade or two, some amount of unnecessary hysteria was created that the isoflavones in soy are bad for us because they mimic estrogen. While it’s true high estrogen isn’t great and can cause PMDD and other “period problems” like PCOS, weight gain, and is involved in some cancers, soy does not actually raise our estrogen levels. 

It has the opposite effect – it can ameliorate any problems associated with high estrogen. So – have no fear! Soy is bad couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, soy products like tofu, soybeans, tempeh, and miso are all extremely beneficial for health and are linked with lower rates of many chronic diseases including many cancers

How I Like To Eat Tofu: With Noodles and Vegetables, Always

Tofu is a staple in my kitchen these days, but that was certainly not always the case. It took some experimenting over the years. I always try and inspire my clients to come up with some kind of Asian recipe arsenal. Having a couple tricks, maybe a curry or two, a stir fry or two, and a couple other ideas can feel so exciting when you’re sick of what you’ve been making. 

And then you think…. Noodles! Noodles will always hit the spot. The thing I like about buckwheat soba noodles is their deeply earthy flavor. Don’t be afraid of the color – they’re awesome. A delicious bowl of noodles, tofu, and a couple roasted vegetables is literally the perfect meal. 

A couple notes on asian noodle bowls from a white girl and dietitian who helps folks learn to like cooking:

As you might imagine, I am not the authority on Asian cooking. That said, I love Asian food and cooking Asian food. I shop at Asian grocery stores a several times a year and stock up on sauces, coconut milk, and usually treat myself to some fun new produce and sweets. The variety of gai lan and it’s relatives is truly impressive. I absolutely love having a handful of techniques in my rotation. These are the 4 categories of Asian meals I like to make:

  • Something like this recipe of roasted vegetables and tofu – simple, sheet pan, noodles, add sauce on top
  • A cold Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with chicken (or tofu), peanut sauce, lots of herbs and thinly sliced raw veggies
  • Thai coconut curry with eggplant and other seasonal veggies
  • A Bibimbap, Korean-style rice bowl

There are countless ingredients that are worth having around to make all these come to fruition. My suggestion: go one recipe at a time. If you don’t have the ingredients in this one, buy them and then find other recipes that have these same ingredients. After you’ve made several, consider moving onto the next category.

This is the chili garlic sauce I’m talking about here. I buy about one bottle of this a year since I only use it once in a while and it lasts a long ass time.

This one!! It’s at most grocery stores.

bowl of roasted vegetables with tofu and chili sauce

The Easiest Spicy Tofu And Roasted Vegetables

Serves: 2-3
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • One block of extra firm tofu
  • 2-4 cups chopped vegetables I prefer green beans and red bell peppers, but other great options would be broccoli, carrots, asparagus, or onions
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger Optional but really nice
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup cilantro Again, optional but nice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil like canola or grape seed oil
  • 200 g Buckwheat soba noodles They come in these cute little packaged bundles – 200g is 2 bundles. But to be fair, you could also use rice or rice noodles.
  • 1 lime Sliced

Instructions
 

  • Remove the tofu from it’s package and dry on a towel. Cut the block of tofu in half down the center. Place each half on it’s side and slice into ½” mini-slabs.
  • Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, ginger, scallions, cilantro, and sweetener in a glass baking dish or large bowl big enough to fit all the tofu in. Whisk until combined.
  • Gently place the tofu into the bowl or dish and cover the tofu with the sauce. Let sit while you do the rest.
  • Slice your veggies into bite-size pieces, put in a bowl, and drizzle with oil and salt. Mix well.
  • Start the water boiling for your noodles.
  • Get out a baking sheet. Carefully remove the tofu from the dish and arrange on a single layer on the baking sheet. Then place the vegetables around the outer edge of the tofu.
  • Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are starting to brown.
  • While the tofu and veggies are cooking, cook your noodles according to package instructions. If you use buckwheat soba noodles (as I highly recommend), they take about 8 minutes to cook, then you rinse them under cold water and drain.
  • To serve, place your desired amount of noodles in your bowl, top with tofu and veggies, and drizzle the remaining sauce on top.

There you go! I hope you try out this super simple roasted vegetable and tofu meal and that it makes it into your monthly rotation.

About Emily

Emily Van Eck, MS, RDN specializes in intuitive eating, mindfulness-based eating practices, embodiment with food and movement, and healing from years of weight-bias and disordered eating. She helps all kinds of people find balance, consistency, and peace with their eating habits so they can feel confident to get outta their heads and into their bodies. Emily is a registered dietitian and certified Intuitive Eating counselor with a master’s degree in nutrition science. Read more about her here.

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Hey there, I´m Emily

A non-diet and weight-inclusive dietitian, intuitive eating coach, and body image healer. Here on the blog, I focuses on exploring intuitive eating, gentle nutrition, the complex arena of body image and feminism, anti-oppression, and all the ways these things intersect. I want us all to be free to own our appetites, and our desires, and eat really, really well. 

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