5 ingredient tofu steaks with charred shishito salsa make for a wildly flavorful plant-based main that comes together in just 30 minutes. Vegetarian and omnivore-approved!We’ve made it to day 4 of 5 Ingredient Recipe Week! What have you made so far?! Hopefully some pasta followed up by crispy rice treats. Maybe even a little date night salmon? (The “date” in date night could represent your roommate, dog, or even a Tupperware container, FYI.) My “date nights” have included all of the above lately.
I know I’ve said this before, but this is another GREAT gateway recipe for folks new to cooking/eating tofu. Getting a nice sear and deep char marks on the “steaks” infuse them with smoky, grill-like flavor, comparable to that of actual grilled meat. It also helps the outside get crispy, and trust me, tofu could use any and all help in the texture department.Shishito peppers make up the bulk of this bright and zippy salsa. Shishitos are pleasantly bitter with mild to medium heat. Blistering the outermost layer of the pepper over high heat makes for a bolder flavor and adds a smoky nuance. I typically buy mine from Trader Joe’s—they come in 6-oz. packs, prefect for using as a party appetizer or, coincidently, in this recipe!
They also come with a little secret that many may not know—about one in eight has a surprising kick of heat. So if you’re heat-averse, you could substitute the shishitos for mini bell peppers.The charred peppers add sweetness and smoky, bitter notes to the salsa, while a jolt of red wine vinegar and flurry of fresh cilantro add a bright finish. If you wish to dial up the heat, feel free to sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes.
I love serving this tofu over rice with some kind of creamy element—a dollop of whole-milk Greek yogurt, hummus, or whipped feta. The extra body and mouthfeel of a creamy counterpart can even further elevate the bracing salsa. 5 ingredients (not including oil and salt—don’t forget the rules here, now!)
Vegan and gluten-free
Tofu has never deserved more of a chance than right now.
And on that note, I will see you Saturday for the final 5-ingredient recipe! (Hint: it includes pumpkin. And cheese. Wait, what?)
- 2 (14-oz.) pkgs extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 6 oz. shishito peppers
- ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
- Press tofu with paper towels until very dry. Slice each block in half diagonally. Stand each half on cut side, and split each into thirds, creating 12 equal triangles. Season evenly with ½ tsp. of the salt.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a grill pan over medium-high. Cook tofu steaks in single-layer batches until deep char marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet (preferably a cast iron) over high heat. Once oil starts to smoke, add peppers. Cook, tossing occasionally, until charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let sit until cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop peppers and discard stems; place in a small bowl. Stir in remaining ½ cup olive oil, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, and remaining ½ tsp. salt.
- Place 2 tofu steaks on each of 6 plates. Spoon shishito salsa evenly overtop.