Recipe | Baked Italian Herb Tofu + How to Press Tofu Like a Champ

By Kiersten | Last Updated: March 23, 2014

Baked Italian Herb Tofu

Baked Italian Herb Tofu
I am going to confess something really shameful to you right now. When I decided to make this recipe, I realized that the dried rosemary in my pantry was 12 years old. Escandalo! If my rosemary were a person, she would have Justin Bieber posters in her room and be sass-mouthing me when I ask her to do her chores. Herbs! They grow up so fast! I think you’re supposed to keep dried herbs for a year, so this is pretty embarrassing. In my defense, I hardly ever use dried rosemary in my cooking. Which is good because when I opened it up, it smelled like dust and nothing instead of smelling like rosemary.

Whenever I post a tofu recipe, people ask me how to press it. There are some cooking techniques that I never know if I should take the time to explain because I’m not sure if people know about them already. I don’t want you guys to be like, “Duh, thanks, I knew that.” But I don’t want you to be confused either! So I thought I’d post another baked tofu recipe and explain how to press tofu. Then when I post a tofu recipe in the future, I can link back here.

How to Press Tofu Like a Champ
In my opinion, the best way to press tofu is with a tofu press (which you can read about here). But pressing tofu with a tofu press is self-explanatory and if you have a tofu press, odds are, you know how to use it. So if you don’t have a tofu press, all you need to do is:

1. Take two paper towels and fold them in half and in half again.

2. Place one of the folded towels on a cutting board. Make sure the cutting board is on a surface that can get wet, like your countertop.

3. Take the tofu out of the package, drain off the water, and put it on top of the first paper towel.

4. Put the second paper towel on top of the tofu.

5. Place something heavy on top–either a plate, another cutting board, or a skillet. I usually put additional weights on top of that too. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed or the plate/skillet/cutting board will fall off, usually smashing one side of your tofu in the process.

6. Let this sit for 30 minutes. You can change out the paper towels once or twice if needed.

Is this worth it? HECK YES IT IS WORTH IT. When you press out all that tofu water, the tofu can better absorb the flavors you add to it. Even if a recipe doesn’t call for me to press my tofu, I still press it. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

Baked Italian Herb TofuBaked Italian Herb Tofu Pita Pockets
So this gave me a good excuse to make Baked Italian Herb Tofu, which had been on my to-make list for a while. I used to buy it, but they stopped selling it locally, which was a bummer. This tofu is simple to make and it’s a delicious addition to pasta, sandwiches, and salads. You can bake the slices for 30 minutes, which results in tofu that’s soft and golden brown in color, or you can bake them for a full 40 minutes, which makes the tofu browned and chewy.

Go to Baked Italian Herb Tofu recipe

Baked Italian Herb Tofu

Prep Time:

30 minutes

Cook Time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

30 minutes

Yield:

4 servings

ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (I used coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • A dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes and cut into 8 slabs
  • Salt to taste
Print recipe

instructions:

  1. Whisk together the liquid aminos, oil, water, vinegar, garlic powder, herbs, and pepper in a small baking dish. Place the tofu slices in the baking dish and marinate for 30 minutes, turning the slices over after 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Transfer the tofu slices to a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Rub any remaining marinade onto the tofu and season with a few sprinkles of salt. For softer baked tofu, bake for 30 minutes; for chewier tofu, bake for 40 minutes. Flip the tofu over halfway through cooking time.

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Comments

Pressing tofu is must. I like to press my tofu for several hours, in a tea towel. I also like to marinate the pressed tofu for several hours. I usually press the tofu overnight, then, in the morning, make the marinade, add the tofu and let marinate all day. Then, I will bake the tofu for supper. Or I might press all day, marinate overnight and bake in the morning. Here is a link to my blog – tofu pressing instructions plus two recipes using tofu.

http://mostlyveganfun.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/recipe-updates/

As for rosemary, you should try growing some. Start a seedling in the spring, it will grow all summer then overwinter, continue to grow next season and before you know it you have a rosemary bush! Of course, I live in an area with mild winters (south-west coast of Canada) so this kind of outdoor growing is possible.

Thanks for sharing a multitude of great veggie recipes and tofu. Im always looking for new nd healthy veggie and tofu recipes….im sharing ur recipes, too…much appreciated! Thanks, Irene

Oriental grocery stores sell already pressed tofu: it is usually brown on the outside and white in the middle. Comes in a variety of pre-cut shapes and sizes..

I always wondered where PeiWei got their great tofu and this is it. No pressing or weighting or draining necessary. Usually vacuum packed in the dairy (cool foods) section but not frozen. Keeps a very long time in the fridge. I can actually almost never get to one of these stores (40 miles away) but when I do I stock up!

Kiersten. Hi am wondering if you have a tofu recipe made from scratch. I have recently returned from Manila in the Philippines and dined frequently at the SEventh Day Adventist Hospital where they made their own Tofu and soya milk? Thnx in advance.

Baked tofu “steaks” flavored with turmeric and with roasted veggies is my favorite easy weeknight dinner. I like to serve them with marinara sauce. I’ll have to try Italian herbs next time!

How long will this keep do ya think? Wondering if I could make this and if it would last the week to use in my lunchtime salads.

Been a vegetarian/ pescatarian for 3 years and just now deciding to step up my tofu game. This is the best recipe I’ve tried! I added a tsp of dried parsely, used Bragg’s aminos, and fresh rosemary. So good and baking is so much healthier than frying. Even my tofu-hating husband thought it was good!

I’ve never cooked tofu before, just beans and rice dishes when I’m doing vegetarian main dishes. This recipe does look yummy, though, and I’m going to try it — why fear tofu? But I came across a tip on Good Housekeeping’s website, of all places, that says oil should not be used in marinades for tofu and they gave an explanation that sort of made sense. (http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipes/healthy/easy-tofu-cooking-tips-47012001?click=main_sr)
Is this some old wives’ tale or do you think there might be something to it? You seem to be an experienced tofu chef — have you noticed any difference in absorption of marinades with vs. without oil? Do you think it would affect the taste or outcome much if I left the oil out of the marinade? (I prefer to use as little oil as possible for main dishes and veggies as I ingest way over the quota in the dessert course!) Thanks for any advice.

Interesting! I’ve never noticed marinades not absorbing, but I’d imagine if a marinade is completely oil-based, it might be more of an issue. You could probably skip the oil – I can’t say for sure how the taste will be without having tried it first, but I think it should be just fine.

Made this last night and it was very good! I did however marinade the tofu for about 6 hrs, only because I like my tofu well seasoned and for the easiness of popping it in the oven while finishing up my other dishes. I also did not have liquid amino so I substituted soy sauce, I guess you could also use Tamari. Definitely will make this again. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!

Just found your site, LOVE it. Just wanted to say something about using paper towels for drying tofu. I’m sure other people have mentioned it, but paper towel production creates lots of nasty chemicals.

I use old (but clean!) hand towels for drying tofu. When I first starting cooking vegetarian I used paper towels, but I like my tofu super dry and it took 10-15 paper towels, which seemed terribly wasteful. I use white hand towels, dry them on the line when I am done, and throw them in with a our whites with a tiny amount of bleach.

Mmm, I need to try this recipe once summer is over!

I’ve always pressed my tofu using an absorbant kitchen towel, cutting board and canned goods. Slice extra firm tofu in half, wrap in a towel, place a cutting board on top and place the canned goods on top as weights.

I made this last week with Israeli couscous and roasted broccoli. I subbed the red wine vinegar with an Italian-herb infused white vinegar. We LOVED it! Next time I will certainly make two blocks of tofu rather than one. YUM!

I get much better results pressing tofu between my hands/palms than the passive pressing techniques. The tofu must be extra firm and must be frozen then defrosted. Wash hands thoroughly. Cut 1 lb brick in half. Hold one half between hands, with one palm off 90 degrees from the other. Hold over sink while pressing with hand/palms and at the same time use fingers wrapped around the edges to keep your tofu brick together (it mostly wants to stay together — this prevents bulges that might break off). When you think you’ve absolutely got all the liquid out, press a few more times. You’re not done until no liquid comes out when you press. This technique only takes a few minutes and leaves tofu ready to absorb all the flavors in your cooking. Can be sliced into thin slabs then grilled with oil and your favorite spices for use on sandwiches instead of cold cuts (can also be cubed as usual in your favorite recipes).

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