20/06/2024

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Honey Garlic Tofu for One

Honey Garlic Tofu for One

Honey garlic tofu is an easy 20 minute weeknight dinner for one. The sweet honey garlic sauce thickens slightly to coat crispy edged tofu bites and it makes for a great sauce over rice and vegetables. Make Sticky Tofu with leftover tofu.

cut piece of honey garlic tofu on a spoon, on plate

Tofu is a great vehicle for tasty sauces as it’s got a mild flavor. Gently press out excess water, toss in cornstarch, crisp it up on the stove, and cook in a delicious, sweet honey garlic sauce for a quick dinner. I love this honey garlic tofu recipe for those reasons.

Since my last tofu recipe, I’ve learned that tossing tofu pieces in cornstarch really helps the edges crisp up. It’s not always necessary to press out the water for 30+ minutes. Pressing out the water before tossing in cornstarch is good enough for me.

You can always bake the tofu pieces in the oven, but it usually takes about 10 minutes longer and requires more energy and dishes to clean up since you’ll boil down the sauce anyways. Use the method that works best for you!

The ingredient proportions of this recipe are nice- the honey garlic sauce is sweet, a bit tangy, and is delicious over tofu and rice. If you like a bit of spice, this recipe is great with chili sauce or just red chili flakes added to the sauce. I like the chili flakes.

One thing you can do is double the sauce if you want to toss some vegetables in it. Just cook the vegetables with the tofu in a large skillet. This honey garlic tofu is great either way.

Ingredients

Scroll down to the honey garlic tofu recipe card for the amounts of each ingredient, but here’s a quick visual + description of what’s in this recipe.

honey garlic tofu ingredients, with labels
  • Extra Firm/Firm Tofu: Firm or extra firm tofu will break apart less than other types of tofu for your honey garlic tofu. RE: tofu piece size: I like smaller pieces, they’re easier to eat and have more sides to get nice and crispy. Cut to your preferred size.
  • Cornstarch: Tossing the tofu pieces in cornstarch really helps you get crispy edges. The cornstarch absorbs some of the liquid on the edges of the tofu-again for a crispier crust.
  • Salt, pepper: to season the tofu. I like this simple seasoning because it enhances the sauce flavors, but doesn’t compete with them.
  • Water: I usually add a splash of water to sauces I plan to boil down slightly, it gives me a bit of wiggle room so the sauce doesn’t thicken up too quickly.
  • b Sauce: Adds a nice salty, umami flavor. Plus it pairs well with the honey in this honey garlic tofu.
  • Honey: An easy sweetener that tastes good with soy sauce and the other ingredients, it’s a key ingredient in this honey garlic tofu.
  • Rice Vinegar: It adds a bit of acid to this sweet sauce. If you like foods more equally sweet and tangy, I’d recommend going with the 1 ½ teaspoons of rice vinegar in this recipe (what I like).
  • Garlic: Minced or sliced garlic is great in this recipe. It just depends on how much chopping you want to do, and if you’re ok eating bigger pieces of garlic. Or use jarred garlic, I usually do this because it’s so easy.
  • Sesame Oil: Just a bit of added deep sesame flavor, which is slightly nutty and sweet tastes great with the other ingredients in this honey garlic tofu.
  • Ginger: I used both ginger powder and grated (frozen) ginger in this recipe. Use whatever you have/prefer. Amounts are listed in the recipe card ingredients section

Instructions

Scroll down to the honey garlic tofu recipe card for more detailed instructions. Here’s a quick overview + photos to see how to make this recipe in general.

cubed tofu on blue cutting board

1. Start making your honey garlic tofu by slicing the tofu into about 1 inch cubes, or desired size.

tofu wrapped in towel

2. Wrap tofu pieces in a towel, gently press out water.

tofu pieces in container

3. Toss tofu with cornstarch, salt, and pepper.

cooked tofu and zucchini in pan

4. Pan fry with neutral oil, over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes each side, until golden brown. Cook on at least 2 sides.

honey and garlic sauce on cutting board

5. While tofu is cooking, mix together sauce ingredients.

tofu, zucchini with sauce in pan

6. After cooking crispy tofu, add honey garlic sauce, toss tofu in sauce to coat each side. Cook until sauce thickens to desired thickness.

7. Serve honey garlic tofu over rice or similar starch and with vegetables, if desired. Top with sesame seeds, green onion slices, etc.

Storage/Reheating Tips

Store leftover honey garlic tofu in an airtight container for 3-5 days or so, smell it, if it smells good, it’s likely safe to heat back up and eat. Quickly pan fry, bake, or use a toaster oven or air fryer to keep your tofu crispy.

Substitutions/Tips

  • You can place a heavy object on top of the tofu to press out more water, but honestly pressing it out with your hands, then tossing it in cornstarch works well enough for me. Check out my friend Stephanie’s tips to cooking great tofu.
  • Substitute garlic and ginger for garlic powder or garlic flakes and/or ginger powder if needed. Use just about ⅛ teaspoon of either (except for garlic flakes-use 1 teaspoon of those).
  • You can pour this sauce over chicken or fish instead of tofu.
  • Make extra sauce to serve as a salad dressing or to add vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, zucchini, etc) to your tofu too.
  • Use fresh or dried garlic and ginger. Whatever you have.
  • Other great toppings: toasted sesame seeds, or make spicy honey garlic tofu by adding chili crisp, Thai style chili garlic sauce, red pepper flakes, or sriracha are all great on honey garlic tofu.

FAQ

Why is tofu good for you?

Tofu is a great source of protein (it has all 9 essential amino acids), and is a good source of fiber, iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. It’s also a versatile ingredient to incorporate into your meals.

yellow plate with honey garlic tofu, zucchini, rice

Other good vegetarian recipes:

  • (Instant Pot) Pinto Beans and Rice
  • Cheesy White Bean and Tomato bake
  • Refried Bean Tacos
  • Protein Mac & Cheese

What to do with leftover ingredients

When you’re cooking for one, you often have leftover produce, cans of whatever ingredient, etc. Here are a couple ideas on how to use up the leftover ingredients. It’ll help you save money by wasting fewer ingredients.

  • Tofu: Sticky Tofu for One
  • Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Vinegar: Coleslaw with Soy Sauce, Beef and Broccoli, Thai Inspired Beef and Spinach Bowl.
  • Honey: Honey Almond Butter, Peanut Butter Yogurt/Dip, Chocolate PB Granola

Did you make this honey garlic tofu? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!

tofu, scallions, zucchini, rice on yellow plate

Print

Honey Garlic Tofu for One

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Honey garlic tofu is an easy 20 minute weeknight dinner for one. The sweet honey garlic sauce thickens slightly to coat crispy edged tofu bites and it makes for a great sauce over rice and vegetables. Make Sticky Tofu with leftover tofu.
Course dinner, main, Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 person
Author Rebecca Clyde MS, RDN

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • clean towel or paper towel
  • container, with lid (preferred)
  • non-stick skillet
  • small mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • tongs

Ingredients

Tofu

  • ¼ package extra firm (or firm) tofu 3-4 ounces
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons neutral oil canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc

Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½-1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger or 1/16 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 3 cloves

Serve With

  • rice, noodles, and/or vegetables

Topping options

  • sliced green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, sriracha, chili garlic sauce, chili crisp

Instructions

  • Prepare rice or noodles if desired.

Tofu

  • Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tablespoons neutral oil.
  • Slice tofu into bite sized pieces, about 1 inch cubes. Or desired thickness.
  • Place in clean towel, gently press water our of tofu pieces.
  • Transfer tofu to container, with lid. Add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cover with lid, gently shake until tofu is coated in cornstarch.
  • Once oil is shimmering, place tofu pieces in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Cook at least 2-3 sides of tofu.

    You can cook vegetables with tofu, if you’d like. Cook in a large enough pan for both.

Prepare Sauce

  • While tofu is cooking, prepare sauce. Add 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce, 1 ½ Tablespoon rice vinegar, ½-1 Tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons minced garlic to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together.

Assemble

  • Once tofu is cooked, pour sauce into pan. Coat tofu pieces in sauce, cook until thickened to desired thickness. I like it reduced by about ⅓-1/2. Add more water, if needed.
  • Serve over rice or noodles, vegetables if desired. Top with sliced green onion, sesame seeds, and/or something spicy (red chili flakes, chili sauce/crisp, sriracha)

Notes

  • You can press your tofu block for 30-60 minutes prior to preparing by wrapping tofu in a clean towel/paper towel, then placing a heavy object like a cast iron skillet on top of it. 
  • Toss tofu with cornstarch in a bowl if you don’t have/want to use a container with a lid. 
  • Bake tofu, cook in air fryer or toaster oven, or on the stove. I like the stove because I’ll want to reduce the sauce and I can do it all in one pan. 
  • It can get smoky when cooking this tofu, open windows, turn on a fan if necessary.
  • Double the sauce recipe if you’d like to coat vegetables in it, or have lots of sauce over your rice, etc.

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Recipes are great, but you’ll need a simple 3 step process to create a meal plan that make cooking easy & helps you stop wasting food. Check out this expertly developed meal planning guide to get started. 

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