Try Crispy Baked Tofu Bowls with sweet potatoes and kale for a hearty and satisfying vegan dinner.
What's the one meal you always go back to when you're not sure what else to make?
For me, it's grain bowls. I won't take just any ho-hum combination, though.
Lately, I've been filling my bowls with nutty farro (one of my favorite ancient whole grains), a batch of baked tofu, colorful fall vegetables, and a sprinkle of toasted nuts and dried fruit.
Then, I finish all of that off with a flavorful maple-turmeric sauce.
Yep. You could say this bowl has it all.
This Baked Tofu Bowl is the type of meal I could (and probably will) eat over and over again throughout the fall and winter seasons. It's warm, comforting, and still packed with nutrition.
With a balanced mix of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fats, this isn't one of those vegan meals that leave you hanging. Enough to fill you up and keep you going without giving up all the best of this season's flavors.
What's not to love?
For me, these Baked Tofu Bowls are just right for a comforting weeknight dinner. I make a version of this recipe whenever I need to use up veggies or leftovers. Grain bowls are also convenient to pack for lunch since you can prep all or parts of the recipe in advance. You can't go wrong with this one!
This vegan grain bowl has five main components:
- Farro for a hearty base
- One batch of baked tofu
- Sautéed sweet potatoes and kale (sub in squash or another seasonal veggie if you want)
- A drizzle of maple-turmeric vinaigrette sauce
- Toasted pecans and tart dried cherries for topping
How to Cook Farro
I like to cook pearled farro the same way I make pasta.
First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Add dry farro and reduce the heat to low-medium. Cook until the farro is tender but still has a little chewy bite. You should reach this point after about 20 minutes. Cook the farro longer if you want it to have a softer feel.
Once the farro is ready, drain out the excess water, fluff the grains with a fork, and set aside.
How to Make Baked Tofu
First, press the tofu and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk oil, vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Brush (or gently toss) the tofu pieces with the sauce. Once all of the tofu is evenly coated, spread the pieces on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven.
I usually bake tofu for about 30 minutes total, or until the edges are golden brown and slightly crispy.
Once the tofu is cooked, take it out of the oven and set aside while you make the rest of the bowl components.
Next, whisk the sauce.
Just whisk oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, turmeric, maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic powder and you're good to go.
Then, sauté the vegetables:
First, heat oil in a 12-inch fry pan that has a lid.
Stir in onion and ginger and cook 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Stir in sweet potatoes, cover the frypan with the lid, and cook 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes or so. Add additional oil and adjust the heat on the burner as needed to prevent the vegetables from burning or sticking to the pan.
After 10 minutes, or whenever the sweet potatoes are softened and beginning to brown on the edges, stir in kale and cook 5 more minutes.
In the end, the sweet potatoes should be tender and cooked all the way through, and the kale will be wilted and darker in color.
It'll look something like this:
Once the veggies are cooked, all the main components of these Baked Tofu Bowls are finished, but I also like to add a couple of optional toppings to seal the deal: toasted pecans and dried cherries.
How to Make Toasted Pecans:
I like to prep the toasted pecans ahead of time so they're already ready to go for bowls, oatmeal, and snacks. You can also toast the pecans right before you make the crispy tofu.
Just preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit first.
Then, spread pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 7 minutes, or until they have a strong, nutty aroma. Check the nuts often in the final minutes. They can burn easily.
How to Serve This Recipe
Now, each component of these Baked Tofu Harvest Bowls is ready to go and it's time to assemble.
Divide the cooked farro, sautéed sweet potatoes and kale, and tofu pieces between bowls. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with toasted pecans and dried cherries or cranberries if you want. (Trust me, you want.)
Assembling is where you can really let your creativity shine. Your bowl doesn't have to look exactly like mine.
Can you make this recipe gluten-free?
This recipe is already naturally vegan and dairy-free, but you can also make a couple of really simple substitutions so it's gluten-free, too.
Substitute brown rice (or your favorite gluten-free grain) for the farro. You could also omit the grain completely and add extra sweet potato to replace the missing carbs and fiber.
Instead of soy sauce (which usually contains wheat), use gluten-free tamari or liquid aminos. Tamari and liquid aminos have similar umami flavor to soy sauce, but in a pinch, you could also omit it altogether. Just add in a little extra salt.
Making This Recipe in Advance
I love these Baked Tofu Bowls for meal prep. You can cook the entire recipe in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
If you don't want to make the whole thing ahead of time, but still want to make this weeknight-friendly, prep some of the parts in advance. You can make the tofu, farro, sauce, and pecans up to a week ahead of time if you want.
Looking for more tofu recipes? Try these.
- Sheet Pan Tofu Bowls
- Pumpkin Curry with Crispy Tofu and Broccoli
- Roasted Chickpeas with Tofu Feta and Freekeh
- Chipotle Tofu Jerky
- Green Goddess Crunchy Tofu Wrap
- Crispy Tofu Nuggets with Lemon Chive Yogurt Ranch Dip
- Chimichurri Grilled Tofu Skewers
- Sofritas Tofu Burrito
Baked Tofu Harvest Bowls
- 12-inch fry pan with lid
- 1 block extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and sliced into 2-inch pieces (see note)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup dry pearled farro (see note)
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari/liquid aminos
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or as needed to coat pan
- ½ cup diced onion (¼ large)
- 1- inch piece ginger, grated
- 3 cups chopped sweet potatoes (about 2 medium chopped into 1-inch pieces)
- 1 pound kale, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Toasted pecans or walnuts
- Dried cherries or cranberries
Prepare baked tofu:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Whisk grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Brush the sauce onto the tofu pieces, reserving some sauce for serving if desired.
- Spread the tofu pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet. Transfer to the center rack of the oven and bake 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Add farro to a pot with 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
- In the meantime, whisk grapeseed oil, cider vinegar, cumin, turmeric, maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic powder. Set aside.
- Heat grapeseed oil in a 12-inch fry pan with a lid. Stir in onion and ginger and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Stir in sweet potatoes, cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional oil and adjust the heat as needed to prevent vegetables from burning or sticking to the pan.
- After 10 minutes, or once the sweet potatoes are softened, stir in kale and cook 5 additional minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and kale is wilted. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Divide baked tofu, cooked farro, vegetables, and sauce between bowls. Garnish with toasted pecans and dried cherries if desired.