This pan-seared tofu with tomatoes and white wine has Italian riviera vibes. Make it this summer!
On the rare occasion when I eat fish, my favorite preparation is a seared, mild white fish with juicy tomatoes, capers, a bright lemon-white wine sauce, and lots of herbs. There’s no breading and the simple ingredients let the flavor of the seafood shine through.
Since I don’t cook with fish anymore, I sometimes really miss this dish – particularly in the summer. So, I recreated it with tofu! Tofu has a mild flavor and springy texture, which makes it a great substitute for fish.
This Italian-inspired pan-seared tomato tofu may be simple to make (i.e. weeknight-friendly) but the big flavors feel like you’re on the Italian riviera.
What’s In This Dish
This beautiful dish consists of slabs of tofu that get seared in a skillet. Once the tofu is golden brown, you take it out of the pan and make the sauce. The sauce is blistered cherry tomatoes with white wine, garlic, capers, lemon juice, and parsley.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Tofu: Tofu is sold in varying levels of firmness. “Extra firm” mimics the texture of fish well.
- Cherry Tomatoes: are super sweet and perfect for this tangy sauce. If you already have large tomatoes, though, you can just cut them to a similar size.
- Flour: The sauce relies on a bit of flour to thicken it. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with an all-purpose GF flour, or 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch.
- White Wine: creates a funky, tangy sauce. If you don’t drink and won’t have use for the rest of the bottle, substitute with vegetable broth and compensate with an extra squeeze of lemon.
- Capers: If you’re a caper-hater, substitute with chopped kalamata olives.
- Parsley: You can use cilantro or basil instead.
How to Make Pan-Seared Tomato Tofu
- Drain and press the tofu (more details below). Cut into slabs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes per side. For proper browning, do not flip/move the tofu until it’s totally ready. Then remove from the skillet.
- Start the sauce. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until they collapse and start to release their juices, about 5 minutes.
- Finish the sauce. Stir a bit of flour in the tomatoes. Then add the wine and simmer for a few minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Finally, add the capers, parsley, and lemon juice.
- Serve the tomato tofu. Pour the sauce over the tofu and serve immediately.
Tips for the Best Pan-Seared Tofu
- Press the tofu. Pressing extra-firm tofu before cooking eliminates excess moisture, giving it a chewier texture and crispier crust. You can use a tofu press or follow the instrux in the recipe card below.
- Don’t skimp on oil. Pan-frying tofu in a generous layer of oil gives it those crispy edges.
- Don’t fuss with it! Resist the urge to move, push around, or flip the slabs until they’re totally ready. It’s prolonged contact with the hot oil that will make them perfectly brown. To check if they’re ready, lightly lift one piece and peek underneath.
How to Serve Italian-Style Tofu
This dish reheats well and will keep in an airtight container the fridge for up to 3 days.
More veganized Italian recipes…
If you try this recipe, please leave a rating and comment below. It really helps others decide whether they’d like to make it, too. And don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation!Print
- One 14-ounce block extra firm tofu
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil like avocado or refined coconut
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour* (see note below)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio*
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Place the tofu in a tofu press, or: place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board, and weigh it down with something heavy, like a couple of cans, to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for 15 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
- Cut the tofu into 8 slabs and arrange in an even layer on the cutting board. Season the top-facing side with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Arrange the tofu in the skillet seasoned side down, then season the top-facing side. Fry until golden on the bottom, 6 to 8 minutes. Then flip and cook the other side. (Resist the urge to move/flip more than necessary).
- Transfer the tofu to a serving platter and set aside.
- Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook until the tomatoes soften and release their juices, about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir to incorporate.
- Add the wine and simmer for about 3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.
- Lastly, stir in the capers, parsley, and lemon juice, and turn the heat off. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the tofu. Sprinkle with extra parsley if desired and serve immediately.
- If you’re gluten-free, substitute with an all-purpose GF flour, or 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch.
- If you don’t drink and won’t have use for the rest of the bottle, substitute wine with vegetable broth and compensate with an extra squeeze of lemon.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 160
- Sodium: 144 mg
- Fat: 11.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.2 g
- Fiber: 1.9 g
- Protein: 8.9 g
Keywords: seared, tomato, tofu, vegan