Finally, a Grilled Tofu Recipe That Doesn’t Suck

Grilled tofu with the tomato-shallot chutney
Grilled tofu with the tomato-shallot chutney Courtesy of Café Spice

Chances are, you’re underestimating tofu.

No, it doesn’t taste all that grand haphazardly thrown, sans seasoning, into your lunch salad or on a bed of quinoa. Yes, it’s inherently bland.

But that’s why it’s perfect on the grill: Acting as a blank canvas, tofu soaks up all that charred, smoky flavor; and, with the help of an accoutrement or two—say, pickled onions or a shoyu glaze—really shines.



Here, New York’s Café Spice Culinary Director Hari Nayak makes magic of your flavorless friend on the grill, and finishes it with a piquant chutney.

“This is a great meat-free entrée,” says Nayak. “Sandwich the tofu on a bun with chutney, add a dollop of mayo, and you have the perfect vegetarian sandwich.”

We agree, and you very well may win over a few carnivores, too.

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Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

10 min.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, minced
  • 6 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium hot green chili, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves
  • 14 ounces firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Make the chutney: In a small pan put oil over medium heat and add cumin seeds. Add the shallots and chili, then cook for one-minute. Add tomatoes, garam masala, and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about three minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the lemon juice and coriander leaves. Set aside.
Cut the tofu in half diagonally to make two large triangles. Cut each large triangle in half to make four smaller triangles. Place the triangles, long-side down, on a cutting board and carefully cut each into three slices. Brush the tofu triangles on each side with the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the tofu for two minutes on each side. Carefully transfer the tofu to a serving platter. Spoon the chutney over the tofu and serve, or place between two pieces of bread, if desired.