Barbecued Tofu, Tempeh, or Seitan

Here are some tips and recipes for preparing barbecued tofu, tempeh, and seitan on the grill. These basic recipes will work on any kind of grill—gas, charcoal, or electric. These recipes presume you’re comfortable with whatever type of barbecue you own. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for preparing and using the grill. Look for expanded tips and recipes in Vegan Holiday Kitchen.*

TOFU

High-protein tofu is an excellent candidate for the grill. Its spongy texture soaks up delicious marinades, and it needs only a short time to brown once it hits the grill. Because of its consistency, tofu tends to be delicate when exposed to such high temperatures. So in addition to choosing the firmest tofu possible, I strongly recommend pressing it first before marinating. This extracts excess water and gives it an even firmer texture.

To press tofu: Cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices in either direction. Arrange the slices on 1 or 2 layers of absorbent dish towels or several layers of paper towels. Cover with another towel or more paper towels, then with a cutting board. Place some weight, such as a heavy skillet, on the board. Allow to sit for minutes. Tofu to be used for kebabs may then be diced; otherwise grill the slabs just as they are, as suggested following:

SWEET AND SAVORY GRILLED TOFU: Use enough Quick Sweet and Savory Grilling Sauce to coat the bottom of the shallow container. Arrange tofu slices prepared as described above, then cover each with more sauce. Marinate for 30 minutes or so. Prepare grill. Grill the tofu slices on each side for 7 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let guests pass around additional sauce to put on the tofu.

GRILLED TOFU TERIYAKI: Prepare tofu as directed above. In a shallow container, marinate the tofu slices in Teriyaki Marinade for 30 minutes or so. Prepare grill. Grill tofu slices on each side for 7 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned, brushing them with additional marinade as they grill. Delicious with Red Onion Relish as an accompaniment.

See also Simple GrilledTofu and Potato Kebabs.

TEMPEH

If you like tempeh, you’ll love it grilled. Like tofu, tempeh is a practically ready-to-eat food and needs little preparation before being grill-ready.

GRILLED TEMPEH TERIYAKI: Cut tempeh into 1/2-inch thick slices crosswise. In a mixing bowl toss with enough Teriyaki Marinade to coat generously. Prepare grill. Place tempeh pieces in a grill basket or on a grill screen. Grill tempeh slices on each side for 7 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned, brushing them with additional marinade as they grill. Like Tofu Teriyaki, this is nice accompanied by Red Onion Relish.

SWEET AND SAVORY GRILLED TEMPEH: Cut tempeh into 1/2-inch thick slices crosswise. In a mixing bowl, toss with enough QuickSweet and Savory Grilling Sauce to coat generously. Prepare grill. Place tempeh pieces in a grill basket or on a grill screen. Grill tempeh slices on each side for 7 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned, brushing them with additional marinade as they grill. Let guests pass around additional sauce to put on the tempeh. These make a great sandwich, particularly on whole wheat rolls with shredded lettuce and rings of raw or grilled sweet red onion.

Seitan

On the grill, seitan becomes rather crisp on the outside and remains tender and moist on the inside. For those who need not avoid gluten—as that’s exactly what seitan is—it’s one of the closest approximations to a “meaty” experience from the grill.

GRILLED SEITAN TERIYAKI: Prepare grill. Cut seitan into large bite-size chunks. Combine with enough Teriyaki Marinade to coat generously. Use a grill basket or grill screen. Turn the seitan pieces every 2 minutes or so, for the total of 6 to 10 minutes, or until the outside is browned and crisp. Serve with Cucumber Raita if you’d like, for a nice flavor contrast.

SWEET AND SAVORY GRILLED SEITAN: Cut seitan into large bite-size pieces. In a mixing bowl, toss with enough Quick Sweet and Savory Grilling Sauce to coat generously. Prepare grill. Use a grill basket or grill screen. Turn the seitan pieces every 2 minutes or so, for the total of 6 to 10 minutes, or until the outside is browned and crisp. Like the preparation above, this is also good with Cucumber Raita.

SKEWERED SEITAN AND VEGETABLES TERIYAKI: Alternate chunks of seitan on skewers with vegetables of your choice. Use 3 or 4 of the following: broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, whole smallish mushrooms, eggplant (cut into large dice), zucchini or summer squash cut into large dice. Prepare grill. Brush the seitan and vegetables with Teriyaki Marinade. Grill, turning carefully, until touched with charred spots, about 10 minutes total.

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

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