Baked Tofu with Coconut Kale

By Alexandra Stafford
May 30, 2016
67 Comments


Author Notes: In an effort to introduce more tofu into my weekly rotation of meals, I turned to Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, in which I found a recipe for baked tofu, which the authors describe as "the most useful recipe in the book." I combined the recipe with a recipe for roasted kale and coconut from a favorite Food52 recipe, and the result is a near sheet-pan supper and a happy union of flavors and textures.

I like to serve this with the coconut rice from that same recipe, which is very simple: 1 cup each jasmine rice (rinsed), coconut milk, and water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, turn to low, cook 15 minutes, let stand 10 before fluffing with a fork and serving.

Note on the kale: The pictures show a different kind of kale, whose name I do not know: It's not lacinato, curly, red, or baby kale—I've been buying it at my co-op, and it's so delicious. The leaves are super soft and sweet.
Alexandra Stafford

Serves: 2 to 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 16 ounces firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 8 ounces lacinato kale or other, see notes above
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Coconut rice for serving, see notes above

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk together the oils, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes, and place them in the bowl. Gently toss the cubes to coat them in the dressing. Let sit until oven finishes preheating.
  2. Lightly oil a rimmed sheetpan with about a teaspoon of neutral oil. Arrange cubes of tofu on sheetpan, leaving excess dressing in bowl. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil into the reserved dressing. Coarsely chop the kale, discarding the tough ends. Add the kale to the bowl of dressing along with the coconut and toss to coat.
  3. Remove the sheetpan of tofu from the oven. Gently, push the cubes with a spatula to loosen. Nestle the kale and coconut around the tofu cubes. Return pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the kale has wilted considerably and is beginning to crisp and the coconut is golden brown. Remove pan from oven. Use a spatula to gently toss everything together. Serve over rice.

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Reviews (67) Questions (0)

67 Comments

LULULAND June 11, 2018
Great flavor, but not really enough sauce for rice, I think I would double the sauce, maybe less siracha, thanks for recipe.
 
Jess Z. March 7, 2018
this makes the BEST fried rice if you have any leftover during the week. All you need to do is chop up the tofu and kale into tiny pieces, heat in a pan, throw in cold rice (white or brown!), tiny cubed carrot, a touch more soy sauce, a squeeze of half a lemon, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sautee to your heart's content.
 
Rhonda35 January 3, 2018
As ALWAYS, Alexandra's recipe is spot-on delicious!!! I have yet to stumble upon a dud from her. #luckyus I changed nothing in this recipe, except I skipped the coconut flakes bc I didn't have any. Made the coconut rice as an accompaniment, as suggested. SO delicious! Thanks to all who commented with helpful hints below - much appreciated.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 5, 2018
Rhonda!! You are too kind. Thank you. SO happy you liked this one. I love that coconut rice. Such a good combo. Hope all is well!
 
Amelia November 6, 2017
Great recipe! Im pretty sure the kale in your pictures is Portugese kale by the way!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. November 6, 2017
Great to know — thanks!
 
Marcellene September 9, 2017
This is one of my "Sunday afternoon cookathon" lunch recipes for the week ahead. On top of brown rice, it is filling, delicious, and makes you feel good the rest of the day. Keeping it "vegan before 6"!
 
Carey L. July 3, 2017
I'm expecting collard greens in my CSA delivery tomorrow - think I'm going to give this recipe a try using them. I'll report back; anyone else tried collards in place of the kale by any chance?
 
Lori June 23, 2017
Made this last night. Easy and delicious! I can't stand sweetened coconut, I saw unsweetened at trader joes and this recipe was a perfect way to try it out.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 23, 2017
Happy to hear this!
 
Maura June 23, 2017
we love this recipe but wondering if you have a less spicy substitute for sriracha so our toddler will enjoy it as much as we do too :)
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 23, 2017
Hi Maura,<br /><br />I would either just leave out the Sriracha during the baking and squirt some over the finished dish, or, and this may sound gross: ketchup.
 
melissa April 11, 2017
do you cook the tofu for 20 mins, AND THEN add the kale and cook for 12-15 mins? (so the tofu cooks 32-35 mins total?) or do you add the kale at 5-8 mins?
 
Julia P. April 26, 2017
The tofu needs the 32-35 minutes total to get crispy! And the kale needs that time to marinade too; I like to bake the kale for the full 15 minutes so it gets closer to being a kale chip.
 
Jaime S. January 24, 2017
I just made this and its definitely good - but I feel like I would like it a lot better with something fresh to cut the sweetness/richness/saltiness. Anyone else feel this way and have any suggestions?
 
mer January 14, 2017
This recipe is amazing! I make it and the coconut rice again and again and again and again and.... we like it best with dino (lacinato) kale because it is strong enough to get crispy and add those delicious crispy,caramelized bits. I make this recipe with two changes 1) omit the grapeseed oil and cut back a teeny bit on the coconut oil) and 2) to cook the coconut separately on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then add it to the kale mixture just before serving. THe coconut I can source is cooked golden in less than 3 minutes. I find it rare to find vegetarian recipes with the kind of depth of flavour and umami that this dish has. Thanks so much for creating it!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 14, 2017
So happy to hear this! Thanks for sharing your adaptations, all of which sound great.
 
Domanique A. January 11, 2017
I made this the other night for a group of 8 people. I doubled the recipe, and instead of measuring out the kale, I just used a whole bag of prewashed, precut kale from Trader Joes. <br /><br />The only thing was that I thought it was a little too oily for me. The rice helped to sop up a bunch of it. But for the next round, I'll probably cut the amount of oil used, like some of the other commenters have mentioned. <br /><br />Also, my friends ranged from rabid meat eaters to very picky eaters, and everyone had seconds. :) It was a hit, I'll make it again.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 11, 2017
So great to hear all of this — love the range of eaters :)<br /><br />And yes, you're not alone regarding the oiliness — several commenters have had success cutting it back, so you should be good next time around. Thanks for writing in!
 
Cheryl January 4, 2017
So, so delicious! Like others, I roasted cubed sweet potatoes per the recipe referenced above. I had a really large amount of kale and I used it all. I just put the tofu to one side of the baking sheet (I lined it with parchment paper) and put the kale on the other. It was kind of piled high, so I stirred it a couple of times during the baking. I already had plain cooked quinoa, so served over that; I'm sure the coconut rice would have been good, but rich. I can see how toasted nuts would be good with it, but not necessary. Would have loved to eaten the entire batch in one sitting but I restrained myself.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 4, 2017
Nice! So happy to hear all of this, Cheryl! Quinoa sounds really nice with this.
 
Skiingstella September 26, 2016
Loved this! However mine turned out too oily and too salty for my taste. I'm going to make it next time with 1/2 Tbsp grapeseed oil, 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and take the soy sauce down to just 1 Tbsp. Love the idea below of adding sweet potato and mushrooms... I also think some toasted cashews or pumpkin seeds might taste nice in lieu of the coconut flakes.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 29, 2016
Nice! Let me know how it goes with the changes. Nuts and seeds sound so good!
 
rosellagm September 4, 2016
Would tempeh work instead of tofu?
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 4, 2016
I've only baked tempeh once, and it called for a longish marinade, so consider that first, and it baked for only 15 minutes or so, so you might be able to get away with baking it all on one sheetpan right from the start, or baking it for 5 minutes first, then adding the kale. Good luck!
 
Laura M. August 25, 2016
I have made this several times and it never fails to impress. Last night I added cubed, crispy, baked sweet potatoes and sauteed mushrooms and served it over coconut farro, instead of rice.<br /><br />It was simply amazing. The dish itself is a little one note, since you use the same sauce to dress the kale and the tofu but adding the sweet potatoes gives a crisp, sweet note and the mushrooms add a mild earthy flavor that really compliments the dish. I used farro because my husband prefers it to rice because of the chewy texture.<br /><br />Thanks for this recipe. It's made meatless Monday something we really look forward to!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 4, 2016
So happy to hear this, Laura! Love the idea of adding sweet potatoes and mushrooms — will try that this fall! Love the idea of farro, too.
 
Leo S. December 14, 2016
+1 for sweet potatoes and mushrooms! I let the mushrooms soak up some extra sauce and bake with the tofu -- they came out slightly crispy and a bit smoky. Really good.
 
Jaime S. January 24, 2017
how does one go about making coconut farro! sounds amazing<br />
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. January 24, 2017
Jaime — you can simmer the farro with half coconut milk and half water. I've never done this with farro, but I've made rice this way, and it's so good. There are instructions in this recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/26046-crispy-coconut-kale-with-roasted-salmon-and-coconut-rice
 
Austin June 10, 2016
So when I mix the sauce initially, it says to combine oils, does that include the coconut oil? I am assuming not because later on it says to add the coconut oil, but I wanted to be sure!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 10, 2016
Correct! I should fix that. Don't mix in the coconut oil initially.
 
melissa January 18, 2017
i added the coconut oil in step one, to my chagrin. :( forgot to read the recipe the whole way through first!
 
Ellie I. June 8, 2016
This was some of the best tofu I've had. It is definitely best right out of the oven but I've had leftovers for lunch three days this week (at room temp, not reheated) and its still terrific. I didn't have enough kale so I threw in some cabbage. The cabbage was perfectly cooked and holds up better as leftovers.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 8, 2016
So happy to hear this, Ellie! And great to know about the cabbage — will try this soon!
 
Austin June 7, 2016
Should I press the tofu prior?
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 7, 2016
No need to!
 
Austin June 7, 2016
Thanks!<br />
 
Used 2/3 cup of coconut flakes and that was sufficient. Used Lacinato kale. Delicious!
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. June 7, 2016
Yay! Makes me so happy :) :)