August 15, 2019

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

Sprinkling a dried seasoning mix on these grilled barbecue tofu veggie skewers before they hit the grill adds savory flavor that balances the sweet sauce.

Sprinkling a dried seasoning mix on these grilled barbecue tofu veggie skewers before they hit the grill adds savory flavor that balances the sweet sauce.

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

It’s my brother’s fault that my son is obsessed with barbecue sauce. 

He was the first person to introduce it to my five-year-old, who is now a big fan of the stuff.

On Sunday nights we’ve gotten in the habit of grilled or baked chicken breasts slathered with sweet sauce.

I skip that part of the meal and toss together a big garbage salad made up of all sorts of leftovers from a weekend of recipe testing.

As a food blogger, you develop great affection for turning odds and ends into a meal. It’s a very satisfying sense of accomplishment to repurpose things instead of letting them go to waste.

One of my experiments this weekend was homemade barbecue sauce. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the balance of sweet and tangy just right.  

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with store-bought barbecue sauce. Just read the ingredients. Skip the brands with high fructose corn syrup or ingredients that you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce.

Go local! There are so many wonderful restaurants serving barbecue. Often you will find that they sell bottles of their secret sauce.

Chicken was on the menu for my husband and son, and I wanted something complementary that I could cook along with it. 

Pantry Spices + Barbecue Sauce = Flavor!

I made barbecue tofu veggie skewers, however, I didn’t rely completely on our favorite bottled sauce for flavor.

Liquid marinades can be tricky because they have a tendency to slide off. I much prefer dry seasoning mixes. 

In my pantry I keep a jar with a spice blend that I use for a dry-rub turkey recipe. I put it on chicken and veggies, too.

Before I threaded the tofu onto the skewers, I sprinkled the kebabs with a mixture of cumin, hot smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

The Ingredients

This is what you need for the skewers:

  • Tofu: It’s important to use extra firm tofu because it easily threads onto the skewers and it holds its shape as it grills.
  • Seasoning Mix: This is my go-to seasoning blend for everything from chicken to turkey to veggies. It’s a combination of cumin, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Vegetables: Zucchini, yellow squash and bell peppers are my summer grilling vegetable trio because they are great lightly grilled when these still retain their bite. I also add red onions.
  • Barbecue sauce: If you can, try barbecue sauce from a local restaurant. Here in Chicago I see local brands on grocery store shelves. Avoid ones with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Parsley: Just a sprinkle on the finished kebabs is all you need to add a touch of herby flavor.

How To Make Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

I alternated the barbecue tofu veggie skewers with zucchini, peppers, squash and onions. 

Once the kabobs were almost finished on the grill, I brushed them with barbecue sauce in their last couple minutes of cooking.

Because of its sugar content, barbecue sauce has a tendency to burn, so it’s best to wait to slather it on until the end. 

Seasoning the tofu before grilling gave it a good savory spice to balance out the sweetness of the barbecue sauce.

I didn’t eat all the grilled barbecue tofu veggie skewers, so the next day I added what was left to a bowl of chopped salad greens.

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

Barbecue Tofu Veggie Skewers

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 8 skewers 1x

Sprinkling a dried seasoning mix on these grilled barbecue tofu veggie skewers before they hit the grill adds savory flavor that balances out the sweet sauce.


  • 114 ounce package extra firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Skewers, soaked in water if wood
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • Chopped parsley for serving


  1. Pat the tofu with a paper towel. Wrap with a dry paper towel and place a cast iron pan or cutting board on top to remove more liquid. Let stand for 30 minutes. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mix on the tofu.
  3. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat. (You can also use a grill pan on the stove).
  4. Thread the tofu and vegetables onto 8 skewers.
  5. Grill until the tofu and veggies have grill marks and are charred at the edges, about 2 minutes per side. In the last few minutes of grilling, brush the skewers with barbecue sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.


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  1. Oh, thanks for the tip! I was going to go sweet chilli barbecue skewers at the weekend and I’d still not figured out how to pack some extra flavour in what with adding the sauce right at the end so it did not burn.