Looking for a different way to use tofu? I’ve got you covered!
These tender tofu balls with an Asian twist come in a sweet, extra spicy, and full of umami sauce. An amazing alternative to Italian meatballs!
Did I mention this dish is also protein-packed (think 27g per serving) but also gluten-free and grain-free? Let’s do it!
The base for these meat-free balls is, you guessed it, tofu! We start by pressing the tofu through a nut milk bag to remove excess moisture, this step will help the balls hold together better.
Next, we have the seasonings which consist of onion, garlic, black mushrooms, maple syrup, soy sauce, and a lot of ground black pepper for some kick. I also added half a teaspoon of saté, it is not essential though, but it adds a subtle lemongrass flavor.
Simply mix everything together before shaping into balls! Next, bake for about 20 minutes and our tofuballs are ready! If you want them crispier on the outside, feel free to fry them in a skillet for a few minutes.
Next, we have the sauce, that is a key element of this recipe as it will coat the tofuballs, giving them an addicting sweet and spicy flavor.
To make the sauce, we fry minced chili for a couple of minutes, I used two small chilis as I like it spicy. If you are not used to spicy dishes, I recommend starting with one. Next add tomato purée, soy sauce, maple syrup, and five-spice for a subtle Asian flavor. Add the balls to the sauce and stir to coat!
If you are looking for a new way to use tofu, or simply want a protein-packed meal that is rich in flavor you should definitely try these! Serve on top of rice or noodles, with sautéed greens for a complete meal!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Tofu Balls with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
- 21 ounces of white firm tofu
- 1/2 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 dry wood ear mushroom soaked for at least 1 hour
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp saté optional
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 small chili finely chopped
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch diluted in 3 tbsp
- 3 tbsp chopped green onions
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the firm tofu in a nut milk bag and press it to drain excess water, depending on the tofu you should remove 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of water. This step is essential, otherwise the balls won't hold together if the tofu is too moist. Transfer the drained tofu to a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Very finely mince the onion, garlic, and dried mushroom. If you have a food processor, pulse a few times to get a fine mixture. Make sure the onion and mushrooms are finely minced otherwise the balls won't hold together well. Add the minced onion, garlic, and mushroom to the bowl.
- Next, add the seasonnings: maple syrup, soy sauce, ground black pepper, salt, and saté if using. Mix well unfil fully combined. You should have a soft mixture.
- Form 2 and 1/2 tbsp balls and roll gently between your hands. The balls will be quite soft but should hold together well. Place the tofu balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- Cut off the core of the tomatoes and place them in a blender with 1 tbsp of water. Blend until you get a smooth tomato purée.
- Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, fry the chili for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato purée. Bring back the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomato purée has turned into a deep red color.
- Pour in the soy sauce, maple syrup, and five-spice, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the diluted cornstarch and mix to combine. Add the tofu balls, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly to coat the balls with the sauce.
- Top with chopped green onions, and serve on top of rice, noodles, or with sautéed greens! Tofu balls are best served immediately but will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.