If you’re a tofu lover then you’ll love these grilled marinated tofu steaks with a simple cilantro chimichurri sauce. These grilled tofu steaks have so much flavor thanks to the savory marinade and the herby, tangy, and slightly spicy cilantro chimichurri. This recipe is fresh, filling yet light, making it the perfect dinner for a hot summer evening.
Why you’ll love this marinated grilled tofu with chimichurri
- light yet savory tofu steak: the tofu is marinated without soy sauce (although you could add some if you’d like) making the grilled tofu light enough for hot & humid summer days
- packed with flavor: the marinated tofu is salty, savory, and slightly sweet and the chimichurri is tangy, herby, with a touch of spice
- easy and simple recipe: no outdoor grill is required for these marinated tofu steaks and most of the prep time is passive
These tofu steaks are a light option for spring or summer days, but if you’re looking for more convincing vegan steak recipes, then you should try my Vegan Seitan Steak with Garlic ‘Butter’! It’s perfect for when the weather gets a little cooler and you’re craving some comfort food.
What is Chimichurri?
Chimichurri is a sauce used to top grilled meat in Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisines. It’s typically made with parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, and chilies. However, there are versions that substitute cilantro for parsley. This vegan chimichurri sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the savory grilled tofu in this recipe.
Today we’re using simple ingredients for both the tofu marinade and the cilantro chimichurri.
For the Tofu and the Marinade:
- Super-firm or Extra-firm Tofu: the firmer the better- you don’t want to use soft or silken tofu for this recipe
- Olive Oil: flavorful fat to keep the tofu moist and to help it crisp up
- Garlic Cloves: aromatics for flavor
- Maple Syrup: for much needed sweetness
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce: for a complex savory flavor
- Apple Cider Vinegar: for some acid
For the Simple Cilantro Chimichurri:
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Red Pepper Flakes or Chili Flakes
Substitutions & Add-ins:
- Soy Sauce: for a more savory flavor, add 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce to the tofu marinade
- Sesame Oil: sub olive oil for sesame oil in the tofu marinade for a more Asian-inspired flavor
- Brown Sugar: feel free to use brown sugar, coconut sugar, or one of these substitutes instead of the maple syrup in the marinade
- Garlic Cloves: if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can sub in 1 tsp of garlic powder
- Balsamic Vinegar: you can sub balsamic vinegar for the apple cider vinegar for a slightly different flavor
- Tofu Press: this is optional, but if you have one on hand, feel free to use it to press the tofu!
- Grill Pan or Grill: you could also use a normal cast iron frying pan
- Baking Pan or Sheet Pan: this is optional if you’d like to bake your tofu prior to grilling it
*Video tutorial is in the recipe card below!*
To Prep the Tofu
STEP 1: Drain and press the tofu to remove as much excess water as possible. You can gently press the block of tofu with a tofu press or with paper towels (or clean kitchen towels) to remove the excess moisture.
Cut the tofu lengthwise into rectangular pieces that are at least 1/2 an inch thick.
📌 TIP: You don’t want thin slices for this recipe, since they will break easily when grilled.
STEP 2: Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place the tofu pieces in a single layer in a baking dish and pour the marinade on top of the tofu. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.
📌 TIP: Like most tofu recipes, the longer the tofu marinates, the more flavor the dish will have.
STEP 3: While the tofu marinates, make the cilantro chimichurri. Add the chimichurri ingredients to a food processor and blend until the ingredients are combined. The sauce should be uniform, but still somewhat chunky.
To Cook the Tofu
STEP 4: Optional- preheat the oven and bake the tofu for 25-30 minutes. This helps firm up the tofu so it’s easier to grill. This step is optional, but recommended for a more meat-like texture.
STEP 5: When the tofu is done baking, heat the grill or grill pan to medium heat. Baste the front and back of the tofu with 1-2 tbsp of vegan Worcestershire sauce.
STEP 6: Brush the grill with olive oil. Place the tofu slabs on the grill and grill each side for 2-3 minutes until charred.
📌 TIP: If you don’t have a grill, follow the same steps but place the tofu on a hot skillet. If you’d like a darker grill or char, heat the grill/pan to medium-high heat.
How to Serve the Tofu Steaks
To serve the grilled chimichurri tofu, plate it and spoon 1-2 tbsp of the cilantro chimichurri on top.
I love serving this dish alongside some crispy, baked, garlic potatoes.
You could also serve the tofu with this Mango Habanero Salsa or along with a side salad.
Store the leftover tofu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can store the chimichurri in the same container or separately.
To reheat the tofu, you can grill each side for 2-3 minutes again, or you can fry them in a normal skillet.
Pro Tips for the Best Results
- Marinate the tofu slices for at least 30 minutes: the longer the better to get a great flavor
- Press the tofu: remove any extra water and moisture for the best firm, meat-like texture
- Bake the tofu prior to grilling: this is the best way to help firm up the tofu so it’s easier to grill, and so it’s less likely to break apart when flipping.
Marinated Tofu FAQ
Grill the tofu steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side until charred.
The longer tofu is marinated, the better it will taste. For these tofu steaks, I recommend marinating the tofu for at least 30 minutes, but if you have time for an hour, even better.
The best type of tofu for grilling is super-firm or extra-firm tofu. Keep in mind, different brands have different textures of tofu, even though they’re all labeled ‘extra-firm’. Target’s in-house brand Good and Gather, and Nasoya have the firmest, extra-firm tofu that I’ve tried.
Looking for more Easy tofu recipes?
- Sticky Sesame Tofu
- Vegan Orange Chicken Tofu
- Crispy Air Fried Tofu Nuggets
- Pan-fried Garlic Lime Tofu
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