Chipotle Barbecued Tofu

by on September 14, 2009
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Chipotle Barbecued Tofu

I love barbecue, but I have to admit that I don’t always take the time to make my own sauce. The bottled stuff is so quick and easy, though I have yet to find a brand that I really like. I may stop using bottled barbecue sauce completely, however, after concocting this zesty new recipe. It has every flavor I look for in a bbq sauce: sweet, tangy, smoky, and spicy. And because the sauce is ketchup-based, it doesn’t take hours to make.

I used Annie’s Natural ketchup, which contains less sugar that regular brands, and added enough chipotle peppers to normally set my family’s mouths ablaze. But somehow during the simmering, the heat mellows out. It was right on the limit of my daughter’s spice-tolerance, but she still managed to eat two servings. If you are sensitive to spiciness, try starting with less of the chipotles–perhaps 2 teaspoons rather than tablespoons–and add more to your taste. Of course, if heat is your thing, feel free to add more. Also note that you can make the sauce in advance, making it easy enough to bake the tofu in less than an hour.

Chipotle Cubes I’ve found that the easiest way to handle canned chipotles in adobo sauce is to pour the whole can into the blender and puree it. Then, I measure out what I need for the recipe and freeze the rest. Sometimes I use an ice cube try for freezing, but other times I just measure it out by the tablespoon into small snack-sized plastic bags. I put all the plastic bags into one large freezer bag which I label with the date. Chipotles will last for months in the freezer, and having the portions pre-measured makes it easy to add smoky chipotle flavor to chilies, stews or other dishes.

I served this over some whole-wheat couscous that I flavored sort of randomly with saffron, fresh herbs, and minced pimento pepper.

Chipotle Barbecued Tofu

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A September 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm

wow… I've never made my own barbecue sauce…. yours looks wonderful!!!!!!!!!
-A

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2 Paul September 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I love this recipe, can't wait to prepare it!
P.S. I like the new layout of the "printer-friendly" version.

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3 Sina September 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Wow, how did you know I have an open can of chipotles that need to be used? Sounds good!

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4 Vegetarian Man September 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Wow I'm adding this delicious site to my rolodex of fantastic vegan food recipes

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5 fresh365 September 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm

This looks delish! And I love the idea of freezing the pureed chipoltes. I am making a mental note!

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6 DJ Karma September 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm

great tip with the freezing!

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7 Josiane September 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Freezing the pureed chipotles is a fabulous idea! I have yet to buy canned chipotles (in adobo sauce or otherwise) as they're not easily found around it, but I feel like this was the tip I was waiting for in order to get serious about looking for them.
Your BBQ sauce would be a great use for (part of) my first can of chipotle… It makes your barbecued tofu look beyond delicious!

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8 karlyn September 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I haven't been able to find canned chipotles without oil added. Have you found a brand without oil?

Thank you for the snack baggie tip inside a larger one to help freezer organization!

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9 Kym L September 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I also have an open can of chipotles and need a use for them! The freezer idea is great but as I am notorious for putting things in the freezer and never using them, finding ways to use them "fresh" is better. Can't wait to try this next!

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10 A_and_N September 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I love how it looks! Brilliant!

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11 Sondi September 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Wow, this looks mouth-watering. Must try this soon!!

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12 HayMarket8 September 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Wow! This looks fantastic! I love Bar b que!

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13 moonwatcher September 14, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Hi Susan,

You have made me a convert to barbecue sauce. . .first with your South Carolina one–the "yellow" one–can't remember what it's called–and now THIS one. When I read the recipe I knew I had a block of tofu I wanted to bake or stir fry into cubes tonight, and once I read this sauce, I decided to give it a try. Luckily, my veggie burgers in sandwiches eating son had left me about a 1/4 cup of organic catsup from when he was visiting earlier this summer, so I had all the ingredients for a half batch, which was perfect for one block of tofu. I must say, too, that the tip to puree the chipotle peppers is inspired. . .I've been freezing the whole thing in a plastic container, but I didn't think to puree it first, so this will make using small amounts a lot easier.

I can't do garlic right now, so subbed a little shallot and I did use celery seed, too. I also heated up the pan hotter than usual (forgot I had already turned it on) but this turned out to be the key to browning the onions successfully! Talk about happy accidents. :) Anyway, it smelled so good, and then tasted so good, I couldn't stop licking the spoon. I went light on the chipotles, maybe two teaspoons, but they lent enough of a punch for me.

These baked up nicely on parchment paper, and now I have slices for dinners and blue corn tortilla roll ups for the next few days. I had mine with some grilled lavender colored Japanese eggplant, rice and parsley, and steamed kale with walnut sauce. A scrumptious dinner!

Thanks so much. I know I will make this barbecue sauce again and again. Now I've got to go get some more organic catsup so i can!

xo

moonwatcher

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14 Susan September 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm

This looks mouth watering! This is just the thought of thing that my mother would go crazy for, I can't wait to make it!

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15 Jessica September 14, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Hi Susan,

What could I use in place of chipotles in adobo sauce? I live in the Netherlands and haven't been able to find them here.

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16 SusanV September 14, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Moonwatcher, I'm impressed that you've already made this! I'm so glad you liked it!

Jessica, I would substitute anything hot and spicy–any kind of chile sauce or hot sauce. If you've got something smoky that you could add, like smoked paprika, that would also help imitate the flavor of chipotles.

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17 The Voracious Vegan September 15, 2009 at 7:53 am

WHOA! That picture is gorgeous, I can just taste the awesomeness of this dish. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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18 Charlotte September 15, 2009 at 9:06 am

I actually use an incredibly simple recipe I found on your recipe database/ forum… I think it's called "Simple Barbeque Sauce" or something, and someone else (not you, obv) submitted it. It's cool because you just add the ingredients to a jar and shake it up. It's pretty great! Yours looks delicious, and I think my boyfriend would prefer that heat… I'll have to try it when I plan ahead!

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19 Bill Medifast September 15, 2009 at 11:34 am

Mmmm Chipotle! This is one thing I would have never thought to include with my tofu and it sounds so delicious. Going to have to try this before summer is out and really give my barbecue one last good go.

- Bill

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20 Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries September 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I'm literally drooling! I might try this out for Rosh Hashana dinner this weekend!

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21 M. September 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

Jessica: There's an "Amazon" brand of chipotle sauce that's very good and should work well here. I can't remember if you get them in Netherlands, but I'd guess you do, as we have them in many large grocery stores in Finland (no adobo chipotles here either). It's a fairly small thin bottle with a picture of a parrot. Costs about two euros here.

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22 Kiersten September 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Sounds delicious! I love anything with chipotle, it has such a great flavor! I am defintely giving this a try the next time I want BBQ.

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23 Mihl September 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

This is a fantastic recipe! I made it today and both my boyfriend and I liked it very much. I'll definitely make this again. Thank you.

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24 Rita September 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm

that sauce looks great! I've never made BBQ sauce before and I don't eat it much, but you've inspired me to try it.

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25 Helen September 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I made this tonight for supper and it was amazing. Thanks.

Just one question that I wonder if anyone can help with. I'm in the UK and we can't get canned Chipotles but I can get dried, plus the local supermarket does little jars of Chipotle paste (which is what I used tonight). Would I just need to soak the dried Chipotles in boiling water and then blend up to make a paste?

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26 Kay September 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm

That looks too yummy!

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27 KathyinMD September 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm

This looks fabulous! Thanks for the alternatives to the chipotles (can't find them often) and for the print format.

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28 Chef Edwin September 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I made this tonight at it was delicious! My BBQ sauce came out really thick however; not what I would call a sauce. Did I do something wrong; perhaps overcook? I'd love to add a healthy BBQ sauce in my repertoire.

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29 Michele September 18, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Oh-Ma-Gawd. I love all things BBQ (being a good southern girl) but I also love chipotle and tofu….so when I saw the title to your post I was excited. And your recipe and photo did not let down! I can't wait to try this! Thanks for posting!

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30 Lovliebutterfly September 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm

This sounds really tasty! I'm always looking for new marinade sauces for tofu. This will be great for a packed lunch!

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31 Mary September 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Oh man, would that hit the spot right now. Thanks for posting, I'll have to try this soon. I've been hankerin' for BBQ.

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32 Mrs Shew September 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm

oh my gawd this is fabulous! I made it for dinner tonight and while I am sweating like crazy from the heat, this is possibly the best prep for tofu that I've had in ages. HIGHLY recommend freezing the tofu first, then thawing and pressing to remove all liquid. Made half with a block from the freezer and half pressed from the fridge and there is a night and day difference. It took it from wow to gawd!

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33 Hiring Girl September 23, 2009 at 8:45 am

This is very good food. I just love barbeque especially tofu. And with this sauce, wow! I can't ask for more. Thanks.

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34 NYCrochet September 25, 2009 at 11:59 am

I made this the other night and it was so, so good that I now have to go buy more of the ingredients to do it all again. Awesomeness.

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35 Anonymous September 26, 2009 at 6:29 pm

This was sooo good, I will make it again tomorrow night! Thank You Susan! Deb

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36 KathyinMD September 27, 2009 at 7:50 am

Susan, what is whole-grain mustard? Do you mean prepared mustard or whole mustard seed?

I used half of each and it turned out fine.

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37 SusanV September 27, 2009 at 9:09 am

Kathy, I used Grey Poupon Whole Grain prepared mustard (I love the stuff!) It contains whole seeds that softly burst when you eat it. I think your idea to use half prepared and half seeds is a good alternative.

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38 Kim September 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

I made this for our soccer club tailgate this past Sunday (we support our local MLS team in DC and usually have 300 people at our tgate). I sextupled the recipe (fortunately I have a lot of pans!) I cooked in slices but ended up cubing for easier reheating and serving. Our hardcore meat eaters even thought it was good! Only bad thing is that chipotle chili in adobe gets on everything so need to find home remedy I've used before to freshen cookware (I had to toss baking mat).

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39 alexandra October 11, 2009 at 6:53 am

I made it with my first time homemade tofu. A little too hot for me, but I think it was my wanton disregard for the amount of pepper used and seeding of same. The leftovers were good as I was careful with the peppers I ate.

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40 DeAnna October 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

This is currently in the oven for dinner — right now my biggest problem with the barbecue sauce is keeping myself from licking the pan. YUM! I'm a southern girl, so barbecue sauce is pretty much a staple. :) I had a similar recipe from the Candle Cafe Cookbook, but I like yours better – theirs had molasses and tomato paste and basil, I think I like the ease of using prepared ketchup better and the touch of cinnamon.

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41 Laina March 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Susan, that BBQ looks so tasty. Can you use frozen tofu? I usually freeze mine because I don't want it to spoil before I get to use it.

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42 SusanV March 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Sure, Laina. If you like the texture of frozen tofu, you'll love it like this.

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43 san diego screen printing March 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Yum! I loved Tofu. Thanks for the recipe.

Best Regards,
san diego screen printing

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44 derek o'neill July 13, 2010 at 7:49 am

made this last weekend for a bbq and it was delicious, I had to tweak it as it’s impossible to find chipotles in adobe sauce here in Ireland but I had some dried chipotle’s and soaked them and added a tin of tomatoes.

everyone loved this including the death munchers who put it on their ribs.

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45 Pamela September 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

This is a great way to cook tofu. My family and I are always trying out new ways. Going to have to give this one a shot!

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46 Anke October 18, 2010 at 8:59 pm

absolutely delicious

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47 caterina November 26, 2010 at 7:44 am

Can I use chipotle chili powder instead of chipotle chiles in adobo ( which I cannot find anywhere in Italy)? If so, how much of it should I use?

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48 SusanV November 26, 2010 at 10:03 am

Just start with a small amount and taste the sauce. Keep adding until it is the right spiciness for you. It will be a little less spicy after cooking, so don’t panic if you add a little too much.

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49 Keely March 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Mmmm this was so good! I was disappointed that we only had firm tofu to use, but the BBQ sauce was really great. I live in Texas and I’ve had plenty of them; I should know! :) The amount of chipotle was perfect for me, my husband could have used a bit more, and my daughter a bit less. I’d love to experiment with the sauce on some tempeh.

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50 Get Skinny, Go Vegan. March 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

The colors in this are amazing!

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51 Michelle May 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I am one week into a vegan diet and decided to make this recipe for dinner tonight. I can not tell you about the finished product but I LOVE the sauce! I need to stop eating it so I can put it on the tofu :) I only did 1 tbsp chipotle sauce, but for my daughter it will be perfect and it is still spicy enough for my dh and I.
Thanks for all the great recipes! I look forward to trying more!

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52 Marian Hamilton September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hi, Susan! :)

LOVE the idea about pureeing the chipotles in adobo sauce – super idea!! Can’t wait to try this one too….. :) :) :)

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53 Marianne February 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

We tried your chipotle tofu recipe and it was delicious, I just added peppers, mushrooms and some spices to the couscous. Love your site we are newly vegan only 5 months and I have used several of your recipes, thanks so much.

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