about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Crispy Blackened Tofu.

One of the questions I hear most often from readers is wondering how to get their “meat and potatoes” boyfriend/husband/dad/whoever to start eating a more plant-based diet.   This, my friends, is your answer.

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Inspired by a dish at one of my favorite restaurants, I thought it would be fun to try making my own.  The spice coating gets a delicious and rich crunch from being cooked on high heat, and the smokiness exactly what you crave at a backyard barbecue. 

Crispy Blackened Tofu

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (2 servings)

    For the Tofu
    • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or other cooking oil)

    For the Spice Blend

    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon corn starch
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


    Start by pressing a block of tofu to drain out the excess water.  While the tofu drains, go ahead and make your spice mix.

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    The mixture is spicy, but not over the top.  If you can’t handle any heat, scale back on the cayenne and black pepper.  The paprika adds amazing richness and flavor to the blend!

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    Add all spices to a shallow bowl, and stir to thoroughly combine.

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    Once the tofu has drained, slice the block into four even rectangles – once through the width, and then cutting in half through the top (did that make sense?).

    Place tofu in a shallow dish and add soy sauce or liquid aminos – it doesn’t need to be much. Just enough to let it soak into the bottom a bit. After a few minutes, flip each piece to coat the other side.

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    In a sauté pan, heat sesame oil (or other oil of your choice) over medium high heat – you want your pan to really get hot! I prefer to use my non-stick pans for this, but you can try it in stainless as well.

    Take each piece of tofu and press it into the spice blend, ensuring to coat the whole bottom in a thick crust of spice.

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    Flip it over and repeat on the other side.

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    Then carefully place each piece into the hot pan – it should sizzle and pop, and you’ll see immediate color forming around the base of the tofu.

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    Add all four pieces to the pan and continue to cook over medium high heat. After only a minute or two, the bottom should be pretty dark in color – flip to the other side!

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    Cook for another minute or two on the other side, until both are crispy and blackened to perfection.  Slice and serve on a bed of rice or quinoa with a side of roasted greens!

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    Honestly, at first glance I’m not even sure you could tell this is tofu.  Before it is sliced, it looks more like a slab of salmon!

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    I often hear from vegans or vegetarians who are in a food rut, eating the same things over and over again.  There are only so many ways to marinate and bake tofu slices.  Blackening and crisping really transforms the tofu into something unexpected and deliciously different. 

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    And I truly believe that even hard core meat-eaters will enjoy this dish.  It’s the perfect solution for a cookout or dinner party that may include a variety of different diets.  If you thought you hated tofu, promise me you will give it one more chance.

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    122 Comments so far
    Leave a comment

    Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 12:20 pm

    I made this last night, and it’s pretty tasty! Eating it right now. Mine came out a little salty, though, so I will leave out the salt next time. I followed the recipe exactly.


    Ingunn     at 11:36 am

    I made this and it came out AMAZING. It is officially on our recipe rotation!


    Crispy Blackened Tofu | hippie itch     at 5:46 pm

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    What I’m Loving This Year | Hummusapien     at 12:35 pm

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    Jennifer     at 11:34 am

    Would I be able to omit the corn starch? I currently don’t have any, and not sure if they sell it here in bulk. At my local food co-op they sell blackened tofu, it’s expensive, so I’ve been wanting to make it myself!


    My Favorite Go-To Recipes - Hummusapien | Hummusapien     at 7:34 pm

    […] Blackened Tofu […]

    Megan     at 6:45 pm

    This recipe is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I’m not the cook in our family, but with my fiance in school, I’ve had to roll up my sleeves and dive in. Not only is this recipe extremely easy, but its delicious and has become a weekly staple in our house. Thanks for helping gain my cooking sea legs :)


    Rob Moore     at 8:27 am

    Tofu has always just been okay. We’ve made this twice now. Love it! The wife says it’s one of her favorites. We paired it with a spinach salad using Trader Joe’s Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette. The sweet and heat are really nice together. Thanks for the great recipes.


    Crispy blackened tofu | Amuse Your Bouche     at 10:31 am

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    Adam     at 10:36 am

    Fantastic. Though, your bbq comment got me thinking… So, I added a little brown sugar, cumin and tomato powder to make a kind of bbq crust. Served it with a cabbage/carrot lime/cilantro slaw and finished it off with berry cobbler. I live in NYC now, but lived in TX for many years. Please don’t tell them I’m making vegetarian bbq. I could get hanged!


    Lou     at 10:41 am

    omg, this looks fantastic. my only problem is the last time I made tofu, I ended up eating the whole block! it’s still better than eating a pound of french fries, but I hate being such a glutton! mmmmm… thanks for this gorgeous recipe.


    Chris     at 7:21 am

    Hi, this was a big hit for dinner last night. It was spicier than I usually make things, but that went really nicely with the simplicity (trying to think of another word for blandness) of the tofu itself. I used flour instead of corn starch, which seemed to work OK, and I used olive oil rather than sesame oil, which I chose so that it could really take the dish in a different direction from the Asian flavors I usually cook it with.

    I served it over couscous with a side of sauteed broccoli. I’ve been cooking tofu for years, so this was a really refreshing change. Thanks!


    Claire     at 4:12 pm

    This was absolutely one of the BEST tofu recipes I have ever used!!!! The taste is phenomenal and it is soooo easy to make….thank you!


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    Blackened Tofu, Stir Fried Kale & Quinoa - Simple Veganista     at 2:05 pm

    […] tofu inspired by this recipe at Daily Garnish….Great visual instructions as […]

    Recent eats | Allie's Life     at 4:38 am

    […] Crispy blackened tofu via Daily Garnish […]

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