Sheet Pan Sesame Tofu and Asparagus

4.63 from 8 votes

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This sesame tofu recipe is an easy sheet pan meal where cubes of tofu bake together with asparagus. You can simmer the sauce on the stove in minutes while you prep and cook everything else. Serve it with brown rice or quinoa for a vegan dinner.

If you’re looking for a simple sauce with lots of flavor, try this kung pao tofu too.

Sesame Tofu Asparagus

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

The tofu is baked, not fried or sautéed. Cooking tofu on a baking sheet in the oven is a hands-off, easy way to prep it. Also, it is healthier and does not involve lots of oil.

The sesame sauce has incredible flavor and is quick to make. Tahini makes it creamy and nutty. It also has ginger, garlic and soy sauce. I give it a touch of sweetness with maple syrup.

This recipe is a fantastic sheet pan dinner with tofu, veggies and rice. It’s very convenient that the tofu and asparagus cook together on the same pan. You can make the rice at the same time or cook it in advance and warm it when you are getting ready to serve the meal.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including asparagus, tofu, soy sauce, tahini, maple syrup, rice vinegar, scallions, garlic, ginger, oil and seasonings.

This is what you need for this sesame tofu recipe:

  • Tofu blocks are available in varieties from soft silken tofu to firm. Make sure to use extra-firm tofu because you want it to keep its shape.
  • Asparagus: When you are buying this spring vegetable, look for stalks that are firm, not wrinkled and have tops that are closed. Store asparagus with the bottoms in a little bit of water. You can substitute with green beans, broccoli and/or snow peas.
  • Soy sauce is the base of the sauce. It’s important to go for low-sodium soy sauce, so you can control the saltiness and seasonings of the dish.
  • Tahini: This sesame seed paste makes the sauce creamy and adds nutty flavor.
  • Maple syrup is a healthier way to give the sauce a little bit of sweetness instead of brown sugar. You can substitute with honey, but then the recipe will not be vegan.
  • Rice vinegar adds nice acidity and is made from fermented rice.
  • Toasted sesame oil adds flavor to go with the tahini.
  • Garlic & ginger: The sauce has a combination minced garlic and fresh ginger.
  • Red pepper flakes, salt & pepper season the sauce and give it a touch of heat.
  • Cornstarch and water create a slurry that thickens the sauce.
  • Scallions are crisp and fresh green onions. I add them after I stir the sauce with the baked tofu and asparagus.
  • Sesame seeds are a final garnish with the scallions.
  • Brown rice or quinoa are great options for a side dish. Or you can reach for another grain in your pantry.

How To Press Tofu

If you have never cooked with tofu before it’s important to know that you have to press out as much water as you can from the block. Getting rid of the excess liquid helps the tofu take on more of the sauce and crisp up at the edges. 

Once you take out the tofu from the packaging, pat it dry with paper towels.  Then place a heavy pot on top of it to push the water out. When you are finished pressing the tofu, cut it into 1-inch cubes.

I cook with tofu so often that I have a tofu press. It wasn’t a huge investment, and mine has a reservoir to hold the water, which is very convenient. 

How To Make This Sesame Tofu Recipe

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. There’s no need for parchment paper. You want the tofu and veggies to make direct contact with the pan.

Press the tofu. Wrap the block of tofu with a towel and put it on a plate with something heavy on top. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then cut the tofu into cubes.

1. Bake the tofu cubes for 10 minutes before flipping it to the other side.

2. Add the asparagus to the hot pan. Continue roasting until the tofu is light golden brown, and the asparagus is bright green, about 7-8 minutes. I always like to make sure that the asparagus still retains its crunch.

Tofu cubes on a sheet pan. Asparagus added to the pan.

3. Make the sauce. You can do this while everything is in the oven. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small pot and simmer them for a couple minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue simmering for 2 minutes to thicken it.

4. Spoon the sauce with the asparagus and tofu pieces on the pan. Don’t just pour all of it from the pot. Do a little at a time, tossing the ingredients around after each addition until you have it sauced to your taste. Sprinkle on the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

Sauce in a small pot. Roasted asparagus and tofu tossed in sesame sauce on a sheet pan.

Serving

This is a complete meal that’s great for a weeknight dinner with tofu, veggies and rice or quinoa as a side dish.  If you want a salad to go with it, try this cucumber carrot salad or napa cabbage salad, both with peanut dressing, or this Asian cabbage salad with red bell peppers and almond ginger vinaigrette.

Leftovers

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Keep extra sauce in a separate jar. Warm leftovers in the microwave. I do not recommend freezing leftovers.

Sesame Tofu Asparagus

Recipe Tips

Do not skip pressing the tofu. It is important to get rid of that excess moisture, so the tofu is firmer and drier. Then it will have a better consistency when you bake it.

Taste the sesame sauce as it simmers. Check the seasonings and remember that the sauce thickens and cooks pretty quickly.

You will likely have extra sauce. As mentioned, don’t just pour all of it from the pot onto the tofu and asparagus. Spoon it out a little at a time. It can be good to have some for leftovers.

Recipe FAQs

Is teriyaki sauce gluten-free?

Since soy sauce contains wheat, teriyaki is not gluten-free. Also made from soybeans, tamari is a good substitute to make it gluten-free. Of course always read the label make sure that brand of tamari does not have wheat.

Do you need to line the sheet pan with parchment paper?

No. You want the tofu and asparagus to make direct contact with the hot metal to encourage browning. Greasing the pan with non-stick cooking spray will prevent sticking.

More Tofu Recipes

Honey Garlic Tofu
Tofu Pumpkin Curry
Grilled Tofu Shawarma
Ginger Garlic Veggie Tofu Stir-Fry
Sheet Pan Sweet Potato Black Bean Tofu
Sheet Pan Teriyaki Tofu Broccolini

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Sheet Pan Sesame Tofu and Asparagus

4.63 from 8 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 33 minutes
Servings: 4
With a quick sauce made with tahini, ginger and garlic, this baked sesame tofu and asparagus is a simple dinner. Serve it with quinoa or brown rice.

Ingredients 

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1-14 ounce block extra firm tofu
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • Brown rice or quinoa for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • 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 15 minutes. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  • Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, turn over the tofu and add the asparagus.
  • Continue cooking until the tofu is lightly browned and the asparagus is tender and bright green but still crisp, about 7-8 minutes.
  • While the tofu and asparagus are in the oven, make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the soy sauce, tahini, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water and whisk into the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Spoon the sauce onto the sheet pan and toss around the tofu and asparagus, so they are coated. Serve extra sauce on the side.
  • Sprinkle on the scallions and sesame seeds.
  • Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

Notes

Use tamari instead of soy sauce if you want the recipe to be gluten-free.
You can make the brown rice or quinoa up to 2 days in advance and warm it before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Keep the sauce in a separate jar. You can warm leftovers in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1941mg | Potassium: 675mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 966IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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