A vegan twist on the classic spam musubi, this tofu musubi will win over your heart! Make these over the weekend (without the seaweed since it will get soggy) and pack two a day for lunch or grab one as an afternoon snack.
Can you marinate tofu too long?
Marinate the tofu for a minimum of 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours. If you leave the tofu marinating in the fridge for longer than 24 hours the tofu has a tendency to break down. From a food safety standpoint, the tofu is ok to marinate for 48 hours.
How do you cook tofu after marinating it?
You can pan cook, bake, or grill tofu after marinating it. For a block of tofu cut into 8 strips:
- In a pan, cook for 3 minutes per side until lightly brown.
- In the oven, bake for 15 minutes per side at 400F until lightly brown.
- On the grill, cook for 5 minutes per side making sure to get some beautiful grill marks on the tofu.
How to prevent tofu from sticking in the pan
Use a heated non-stick pan and lightly oil the surface to prevent tofu from sticking in the pan. To be extra cautious, lightly pat dry the tofu before adding to the pan.
Can I bake the tofu instead?
Yes, you can bake the slices of tofu for 15 minutes per side at 400F. You can also grill the tofu slices for 5 minutes per side.
Tofu Musubi Recipe
First, cook your rice. It needs to come to room temperature before you can make the sushi.
First, top the tofu with a cutting board and then a book to press the tofu and drain out the water. Leave for at least 10 minutes. The longer you wait, the firmer the tofu will be.
Slice the block of tofu into 8 even strips, ~1/4 inch thick.
When you marinate the tofu, make sure the tofu is laying flat in the marinade (unlike the photo below). After 15 minutes, flip the tofu so both sides absorb the marinade.
Next, wipe off all the garlic, ginger, and scallions. These will burn in the pan if you leave them on the tofu.
Then, cook the tofu ~3 minutes per side in a lightly oiled non-stick pan until browned.
Split the rice into 8 equal parts. With wet hands, press each part into the sidewall of the tofu container (using it as a musubi mold) as shown in the photo. Pack it in firmly so it comes out as one piece. Repeat 7 more times.
Top each rice rectangle with one piece of the cooked tofu. Wrap each with one of the nori strips.
OPTIONAL: Top each piece of rice with a small pea-size amount of wasabi.
Dip in the soy sauce and enjoy!
Prep-ahead the tofu musubi:
You have many options for preparing the tofu musubi in advance:
- The tofu and rice can be made the up to 3 days in advance.
- You can even stack the tofu and rice in advance. The only thing you cannot do in advance is wrap the musubi in seaweed. The seaweed will get soggy and will taste rubbery. The best time to wrap the musubi in seaweed is just before eating.
Looking for more ways to use tofu?
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Tofu Musubi Recipe
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu save the container
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic minced
- 2 scallions finely sliced
- 1 cup sushi rice or short grain rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 sheets nori seaweed cut into 1.5″ strips (8 strips needed)
- 4 tbsp soy sauce for dipping
- wasabi optional
- Rinse your rice in water until it runs clear, ~3 times.
- Place the rice and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes, then remove from heat, and let stand for 10 more minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix until melted. You can use the microwave to help melt the sugar and salt by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
- When the rice is cooked, transfer to a bowl, add the vinegar mixture, and mix/fluff with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature before making your sushi.
- Slice your tofu into 8 even strips ~1/4 inch thick.
- Mix your marinated tofu ingredients (except the tofu) in bowl. Transfer to a flat dish that can fit all your slices of tofu laying flat. Add your tofu slices. Let marinade 15 minutes, then flip and marinade for another 15 minutes. Then, wipe off all the ginger, garlic, and scallions. If not, they will burn in the pan when you cook the tofu.
- Lightly oil a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the tofu on both sides until it begins to brown, ~3 minutes per side.
- Split your rice into 8 equal parts. With wet hands, press each part into the side wall of your tofu container as shown in the photo. Pack it in firmly so it comes out as one piece. Repeat 7 more times.
- OPTIONAL: Top each piece of rice with a small pea size amount of wasabi.
- Top each rice rectangle with one piece of the cooked tofu. Wrap each with one of the nori strips.
- Dip in the soy sauce and enjoy!
This post was originally published in April of 2019, but was republished with answers to tofu cooking questions in March of 2020.