Tofu is coated in sugar-free barbecue sauce and then quick-cooked on a waffle iron for the chewiest, most flavorful tofu in under 10 minutes.
Welcome to tofu of the month! Just kidding, mostly, but since my second-to-last post was Air Fried Tofu Italian Style, you may start to think that I eat nothing but tofu.
The truth is, I saw people posting in a Weight Watchers Facebook group about cooking tofu in their waffle irons, and I just had to give it a try. The idea has been out there for a while, but it’s really caught on among vegan Weight Watchers because under the new Freestyle program, tofu is zero points (as long as you don’t add oil or sugar or flour to it.)
I honestly didn’t think anything would supplant my love for air-fried tofu, but this Ridiculously Easy waffle iron tofu is definitely giving it a run for its money. Here’s why:
When you cook tofu in a waffle iron, the hot weight of the iron presses out the water in the tofu, creating pockets of super-thin, super-chewy tofu. It has a dense texture that I really haven’t found with other cooking techniques. It’s hard to describe, so forgive me if I keep repeating “chewy,” “dense,” and “firm.”
The one caveat I can think of is if you start with tofu that is too thin or cook it too long, you might then have tofu I would describe as “tough.” But as long as you shoot for slices of tofu that are about 1/2-inch thick, I don’t think you’ll have that problem.
Much of the waffle iron tofu I’ve seen on the internet looks rather plain, as though people were planning to eat it like waffles or as a low-carb substitute for bread. I wasn’t interested in either of those options. I wanted barbecued waffle iron tofu for sandwiches, but I also wanted to avoid the sugar in traditional barbecue sauce, so I wound up making my own from a bottle of unsweetened ketchup I’m trying to use up.
I’m struggling to use this ketchup up not because I like it but because I don’t. It turns out that I really don’t like ketchup unless its sweetened, and I was very sad when I put this stuff on a burger. Ick. Turns out I’d rather have no ketchup that unsweetened.
But because I bought it and because it’s basically tomato sauce, I’ve been trying to use it up. Recently, I received a box of seasonings from Penzeys (not because I’m a blogger–they sent one free to anyone who requested and paid shipping) and it included their Galena Street Rib and Chicken Rub. One of their hints for using it was to mix it into tomato sauce to make a barbecue sauce, and that’s basically what I did. This trick should work with any meat rub (just check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan.)
I’ve made this twice now, and I’m amazed at how easy it is to make tofu that tastes like it’s been pressed and marinated for hours. I do give it a short press with my hands between paper towels before coating with sauce, but it marinates only for the few minutes it takes to heat up my George Forman grill with waffle iron plates installed.
Best of all, you can use any sauce you want. Right after I made the batch you see pictured here, my daughter decided to make her own version. She used bottled barbecue sauce mixed with peanut butter, soy sauce, and sesame oil. She let me have a bite, and it was amazing. As long as what you’re coating the tofu with isn’t super-sticky, it should work well.
Want more to waffle?
Try my Waffle Iron Hash Browns.
Barbecued Waffle Iron Tofu
- Drain the tofu and cut it into 3-4 equally thick pieces lengthwise. Place it on paper towels or a clean tea towel, cover it with the same, and press gently with your hands to remove some of the water.
- On a shallow plate, mix the ketchup or tomato sauce with the barbecue rub, soy sauce, and mustard. Combine well and add stevia or other sweetener a tiny pinch at a time until you like the sweetness. Drag each piece of tofu through the sauce until it's coated on all sides.
- Preheat your waffle iron on its highest setting. Once it is hot, place the tofu on the iron, distributing it equally. (Save the extra sauce to serve with the tofu.) Gently close the waffle iron and set a timer for 4-5 minutes.
- Keep the waffle iron closed for at least 4 minutes (unless you smell something burning--waffle irons vary, and you may need to make this recipe once before you know how quickly yours cooks.) Slowly lift the lid to check on the progress of the tofu. If it is not uniformly browned or still seems wet, gently close the lid and give it more time. Check it in 1-2 minutes intervals until it is firm and done. (Some pieces may cook more quickly than others, so remove them as they get done.)
- Brush with extra barbecue sauce and serve alone or on sandwiches.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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If you give it a try, please leave me a note in the comments telling me what seasoning you liked best.
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