Blackberry Glazed Tofu with Black Pepper & Chili

5 from 7 votes

This crispy and sticky glazed tofu with blackberries, balsamic, black pepper, and ground chillies is flavourful, tangy, unique, and rich in plant-based protein. This recipe is ready in 30 minutes with 10 key ingredients.

An up close, overhead shot of a sauté pan filled with blackberry glazed tofu cubes. The glaze is deep fuchsia and the dish is garnished with fresh sage and thyme leaves.
An up close, 3/4 angle shot of a sauté pan filled with blackberry glazed tofu cubes. The glaze is deep fuchsia and the dish is garnished with fresh sage and thyme leaves.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a blackberry tofu recipe. All ingredients are on an etched wooden cutting board on a pink/tan stone background.
An overhead shot shows cubes of raw tofu on a wooden cutting board next to a chef's knife.

Berry season is still going strong here and the tart juicy-ness of blackberries is perfect for making a simple and sticky glazed tofu. We contrast the tart, slightly sweet quality with lots of black pepper, ground chillies, and a healthy drizzle of maple syrup. The first time I enjoyed some tempeh with a raspberry chipotle marinade, I was so skeptical, but it was delicious! This dish is made in the same vein, but with a tofu recipes twist.

What to serve with glazed tofu? I like to use it in a grain bowl setup or alongside some simple grilled/roasted veggies. It would be amazing with my Creamy Mustard Slaw or this Apple Kale Salad with Miso Mustard Dressing. I feel like it could also be great rolled up into a wrap with some slaw on top.

I’m presenting two possible cooking methods here. For both, the tofu is pressed and tossed with arrowroot starch and coconut aminos (you can sub Tamari or soy sauce). From there, you can either pan fry or air fry the tofu cubes (with air frying, you also toss the tofu with oil). I find air frying gets the tofu crispier and I enjoy that the process is mostly hands off. Pan frying is easier in terms of cleanup but will likely require a bit more oil in the process too. 

Pressing Tofu

  • I press firm/extra firm tofu before starting basically any tofu dish! The simple technique extracts excess water and it helps to achieve that crispy texture that I love.
  • I use a tofu press, but there are other great DIY methods with typical kitchen equipment.
  • This technique is mostly relevant for recipes where the tofu is going to be sautéed, marinated, fried, air fried, roasted, grilled etc.

Making the blackberry glaze is as simple as cooking down blackberries with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and spices until jammy. From here, we toss the jammy and rustic sauce with our crisped up tofu. A finishing sprinkle of herbs is nice for presentation :)

I know that blackberries + tofu sounds a bit weird, but I hope that you give this one a try! I really just want to open people’s minds with plants haha.

A 3/4 angle shot shows crispy and golden cubes of tofu inside of a dark air fryer basket.
An overhead shot shows a hand emptying spices from a white bowl into a sauté pan of whole fresh blackberries.
Image shows a hand using a wooden utensil to stir crispy cubes of tofu in a blackberry glaze.
An overhead shot of a sauté pan filled with blackberry glazed tofu cubes. The glaze is deep fuchsia and the dish is garnished with fresh sage and thyme leaves.

Blackberry Glazed Tofu with Black Pepper & Chili

This crispy and sticky glazed tofu with blackberries, balsamic, black pepper, and ground chillies is flavourful, unique, and rich in plant-based protein. Ready in 30 minutes with 10 key ingredients.
5 from 7 votes
An up close, overhead shot of a sauté pan filled with blackberry glazed tofu cubes. The glaze is deep fuchsia and the dish is garnished with fresh sage and thyme leaves.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings 2 -4

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 1 block (14 oz/397 grams) firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

Blackberry Glaze

  • 1 cup (heaped) fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes or ground chillies (I used Diaspora Co's ground Guntur Sannam chillies)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary

Equipment

  • Air Fryer (optional)

Notes

  • I press firm/extra firm tofu before starting basically any tofu dish! The simple technique extracts excess water and it helps to achieve that crispy texture that I love.
  • I use a tofu press, but there are other great DIY methods with typical kitchen equipment.
  • I have options for air frying and pan frying tofu in this recipe. I personally prefer air frying. It’s basically the only way I cook tofu now!
  • Ideally you’ll finish making the blackberry sauce/glaze right before the tofu is done cooking so that it’s nice and fluid.
  • You can substitute the arrowroot starch with cornstarch if you wish.
  • If you’re substituting Tamari for the coconut aminos, you can back up the amount to 1 ½ tablespoons.

Instructions

  • Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes to get out excess moisture. Towel it off to dry and then cut into 1-inch cubes.

To Air Fry Tofu:

  • In a medium bowl, toss the tofu cubes with the olive oil, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper. Once coated, sprinkle the arrowroot starch and keep tossing until you can't see any white, powdery bits anymore.
  • Transfer the coated cubes of tofu to your air fryer, arranging the pieces so that each cube has a bit of space. Set your air fryer to 375°F and the timer for 15 minutes. Give the air fryer basket a little shake every 5 minutes to evenly brown and crisp up the tofu pieces. The tofu is done when it's evenly golden brown and super crispy.

To Pan Fry Tofu:

  • In a medium bowl, toss the tofu cubes with the coconut aminos, salt, and pepper. Once coated, sprinkle the arrowroot starch and keep tossing until you can't see any white, powdery bits anymore.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Once it's good and hot, add the tofu to the pan. Avoid adding any excess liquid pooled at the bottom of the bowl. Let the tofu sit until one side is deep golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir and flip the pieces and keep cooking until all sides are golden brown and crisp. Drizzle more olive oil into the pan if you notice the tofu sticking a bit.

Make the Blackberry Glaze:

  • In a small-medium sauté pan over medium heat, combine the blackberries, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, black pepper, chili, ground ginger, and salt. Once the liquid starts simmering and the blackberries are softening, about 3-4 minutes, start smushing the berries down with a spatula.
  • Keep smushing and stirring until you have a rustic, jammy texture. Give the glaze a taste and see if you'd like more pepper, more chili etc. At this point the mixture should be fluid enough to coat the tofu cubes. If it isn't, simply add a couple tablespoons of water and stir.
  • Toss the crispy tofu cubes in the blackberry glaze and serve immediately. I like to garnish mine with some fresh herbs and extra black pepper.
A slight 3/4 angle shot of a sauté pan filled with blackberry glazed tofu cubes. The glaze is deep fuchsia and the dish is garnished with fresh sage and thyme leaves.
17/08/2022
Posted in: air fryer, autumn, gluten free, grain-free, main course, nut free, sauce, side dish, spring, summer, vegan, winter
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