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crispy tofu and broccoli with peanut sauce

Crispy Tofu and Broccoli with Sesame-Peanut Pesto

  • Yield: 2


From Deb Perelman’s new book: Smitten Kitchen Every Day

Though I haven’t tried, I imagine this would double easily. With my kitchen under renovation, I am using quarter sheet pans that fit into my portable oven. One of these sheet pans fit the entire pound of broccoli and another fit the entire block of tofu. If you want to feed more than 2 people, I think you could easily roast 2 pounds of broccoli and 2 blocks of cubed tofu. Double the sauce, of course, too.


For the tofu and broccoli:

  • 1 block (12- to 15-oz) firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

for the pesto:

  • 1 tablespoon toasted (or not) sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, roasted (salted are fine)
  • 1.5 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or other sweetener

to finish:

  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • chili-garlic or other hot sauce


  1. Prepare the tofu: Drain the tofu, and place it on a few paper towels; place a few more towels over it. Place a heavy object—like a big frying pan—over the tofu, and let it rest for 10 minutes (and up to 30 , if you have the time) to press out the excess liquid. (I like to do this on a cooling rack set over a pan, see photos below).
  2. Heat the oven to 400ºF. Line one rimmed sheet pan with parchment (for the tofu); leave another one bare (for the broccoli).
  3. Prepare the broccoli: Trim and chop the broccoli into florets. Don’t discard the stems (they are so good!): peel off the tough outer skin and knots, then cut the stems into 1/2-inch rounds. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bare sheet pan, swirl it to coat, scatter the broccoli over top, drizzle with another tablespoon of oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with your hands. Spread into an even layer.
  4. Remove the tofu from the towels, and cut into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, gently toss the tofu with the remaining tablespoon of oil, the soy sauce, and the cornstarch until evenly coated. Spread out on the parchment-line sheet pan.
  5. Cook the tofu and broccoli: Place both sheet pans in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, then toss the pieces around for even coloring and roast another 10 minutes. At this point, the tofu is usually done, which is to say golden at the edges and lightly crisp. Remove the pan from the oven. If necessary, roast the broccoli for another 10 minutes to get an extra char on it.
  6. Meanwhile make the pesto: Pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor until ground. Adjust the flavors to taste. If the sauce is super thick, you can thin it with some water.
  7. To finish: In a large bowl, combine the broccoli and tofu, and toss with some of the sauce. Garnish with the scallions. Serve  extra sauce and hot sauce, if using, on the side.