Crispy tofu and caramelized mushrooms swimming in a luscious creamy-without-the-cream sun-dried tomato sauce.
This tofu and mushroom recipe was the happy result of craving chicken when all we had in the refrigerator was tofu. And, I am aware that there are many who would not consider the tofu for chicken tradeoff a satisfying solution. But in this case people, it 100% worked.
Like jackfruit curry bowls or vegan tacos smothered in the absolute best and completely plant-based nacho cheese sauce, tofu and mushrooms is the kind of thing that tastes rich and decadent but is actually quite light and will absolutely not leave you feeling weighed down. Which is honestly how I like to eat most of the time.
Even better, most of the ingredients can be swapped out for something else, which makes this one of the easiest ways to accommodate picky eaters or use up some of those odds and ends hanging out in your refrigerator. 👏
I created this recipe on a night when I was really craving chicken in some kind of creamy mushroom sauce. Peering into my refrigerator I learned that we didn't have any chicken but we DID have some extra firm tofu. I used that instead and it worked exceptionally well.
Having said that, you could absolutely make this recipe with chicken instead of tofu. Either way, the combination of meaty mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and creamy sun-dried tomato sauce is delightful.
- Extra firm or super firm tofu. The main difference between silken, regular, firm, extra firm, and super firm tofu is the water content. Silken tofu has the highest water content and super firm has the lowest. Choose a tofu with low water content for best results in this recipe.
- Cornstarch. The little bit of cornstarch in this recipe helps crips up the tofu and adds a touch of thickening power to the sauce.
- Italian seasoning. I used McCormick Organic Italian Seasoning but any brand will do.
- Paprika. I used smoked paprika, but any kind of paprika works well in this recipe.
- Salt and ground black pepper.
- Extra virgin olive oil. You can also use vegetable or canola oil if you prefer.
- Mushrooms. I used cremini mushrooms, but you can use any kind of fresh mushrooms you like in this recipe.
- Garlic. This recipe uses a whole tablespoon of minced garlic. If that seems like a bit much for your tastes, just reduce it to whatever amount you like.
- Fresh thyme. Dried thyme is also fine to use, just don't use as much.
- Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. You can also use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Allow them to soak in warm water for 30 minutes, then chop and proceed with the recipe.
- Sugar. Just 1 teaspoon of sugar in the creamy sun-dried tomato sauce for the tofu and mushrooms brightens the flavor to a surprising degree.
- Unsweetened coconut milk. Full-fat coconut milk works better in this recipe than "light" coconut milk which tends to be watered down. I used Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk.
- Vegetable stock or Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base. I always have several jars of Better than Bouillon base in my refrigerator. It's such a convenient way to boost the flavor of any dish and the flavor is much better than most prepared vegetable stock.
- Shredded parmesan cheese. This is 100% optional. If you want to keep this dish vegetarian/ vegan, simply leave it out. Or, sprinkle in some nutritional yeast or vegan grated cashew cheese.
- To serve: I like to spoon tofu and mushrooms over cooked rice and top it with a bit more ground black pepper and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.
*See the recipe card below for precise quantities.
The process for making this tofu and mushroom recipe is easy and straight forward. Cook the tofu and mushrooms separately to maximize the flavor and texture of each then toss it all together in a creamy-without-the-cream sun-dried tomato sauce flavored with fresh thyme.
Even though we're using extra firm or super firm tofu in this recipe, you'll want to press out any excess water so the tofu browns and gets a bit crispy.
Chop it into bite-size pieces and place it between a couple layers of paper towels or clean kitchen cloths.
Place something heavy over the tofu to press the excess water out and leave it for about 10 minutes.
I used a heavy cast iron dutch oven, but anything with some weight to it will work great.
You can also use a tofu press if you have one.
Add some cornstarch, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper to a bowl and add the tofu. Toss the pieces around in the spices until they are coated on all sides.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet, add the tofu, and reserve any of the dried spice mixture that's left in the bowl. Cook until the tofu is beginning to get crispy.
Scoop the tofu out of the skillet, wipe it out, and add some more oil and the sliced mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms in the oil until they are golden brown, caramelized, and absolutely delicious.
Add some minced garlic plus any leftover spices from the tofu bowl to the mushrooms and stir everything around in the skillet for a minute or so.
Stir in the thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, and sugar.
Then stir in the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it thickens up a bit.
If you're using grated parmesan cheese or a vegan option like nutritional yeast or vegan grated cheese, add that now.
Stir in the tofu and you are ready to eat!
I like to serve tofu and mushrooms over rice and topped with some more black pepper and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. So good!
As I mentioned earlier, this dish can easily be prepared with chicken instead of tofu. But honestly, this is the kind of recipe for which you can swap out nearly everything for something else. Here are a few suggestions for how to make it your own!
- Instead of Tofu: Replace the tofu with bite-size pieces of boneless, skinless chicken, pork tenderloin, or even shrimp. Follow the recipe as written but adjust the cooking time accordingly. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Shrimp will cook much faster than tofu, chicken, or pork. Cook shrimp until it turns from translucent to opaque, which can be difficult to see because of the spices, but 2 minutes should suffice.
- Instead of Italian seasoning, paprika, and thyme: Use any kind of seasoning you like. Tofu and mushrooms are a blank slate so there are no wrong answers here, but two flavor combinations that go particularly well with sun-dried tomatoes are Cajun (use a Cajun blend or combine paprika, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and cayenne) or Spanish (paprika, cumin, oregano, and coriander).
- Instead of sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes add acidity and brightness to the flavors in this recipe but there are other ingredients that will do the same thing. You could add fresh diced or even canned diced tomatoes. The extra water in the tomatoes will change the consistency of the sauce some, so you might need to let the sauce simmer longer, but the flavor will be fabulous. Another great alternative is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a jar of diced roasted red peppers. Olives make a great substitute for sun-dried tomatoes AND are also a delicious addition if you like the idea of including both. You can also stir some tomato paste into the sauce and leave the tomatoes out entirely.
If you like many of the flavors in this tofu and mushroom recipe, check out this recipe for Baked Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Risotto and spaghetti puttanesca which is super easy to make and equally delicious with canned or fresh tomatoes.
Also, sun dried tomato fans, this roasted tomato sauce is my FAVORITE thing to make in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. As the tomatoes roast, their flavor is concentrated into something reminiscent of a really great jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
The only thing you really need to make tofu and mushrooms is a 12-inch skillet and a sharp knife. I've had this Cuisinart 12-inch skillet for years and it's served me well. However, when the day comes to replace it, I'll probably swap it out for a pre-seasoned carbon steel pan. Carbon steel is lightweight and conducts heat more evenly than other materials. It's also more durable than stainless steel and non-stick pans.
I love my set of Mercer knives but the most important thing about the knife you use is that it's sharp. This Mercer Double Diamond sharpener is one of the hardest working tools in my kitchen and makes knife sharpening a 5 second task.
💭 Top tip
One thing to watch out for is burning the spices while cooking the tofu. Dried spices scorch easily. To prevent them from burning before the tofu is finished cooking, be sure to add enough oil to the skillet (at least a ¼ cup) and heat the skillet over medium heat. Turn the pieces of tofu in the pan as they cook and if it seems like the spices are starting to burn, reduce the heat.
🥗 Side dishes
This is one of those stand-alone recipes that doesn't really need a side dish to make it a complete meal. However, I do love to serve salad with most meals and also like to add some variety to the menu when cooking for a group. As such, these are my favorite side dishes to serve with tofu and mushrooms:
And, if you love tofu as much as we do, check out this recipe for gado gado. Say whaaa??? Gado gado Jakarta is a fabulous Indonesian salad with tofu and a spicy peanut sauce that's absolutely delicious!
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If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- 16 ounces (1 pound) extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound/ 16 ounces mushrooms, cut into ¼-inch slices, (about 6 cups sliced)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup) of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, removed from the oil and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable stock, or 1 teaspoon better than bullion vegetable base dissolved in ½ cup warm water
- Optional: ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- To Serve: spoon over cooked rice and top with more black pepper and chopped fresh parsley
- Press excess water out of the tofu: Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces, place it between paper towels, and set something heavy over it. (I used a cast iron Dutch oven; see photos above.) Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch, Italian seasoning, paprika, a teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper to a medium size bowl. Dump the tofu into the bowl and toss it around until all the pieces are coated with the spice mixture.
- Add ¼ cup oil to a 12-inch skillet and set it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, use tongs to add the tofu to the skillet; shake excess spices from the tofu as you add it to the skillet but reserve the extra spices left in the bowl.
- Cook the tofu, turning it every once in a while, until it’s starting to get crispy, about 8 minutes. About halfway through frying, taste one of the pieces of tofu and sprinkle with more salt if needed. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and rinse or wipe out the skillet.
- Add the remaining ¼ cup oil to a skillet and set it back over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring every once in a while, until the mushrooms are a deep golden brown. Sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Add the minced garlic and any leftover spices from the tofu bowl and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
- Add the thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, and sugar. Then pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring everything to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
- If using parmesan cheese, stir that in now. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the tofu back to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Serve the tofu and mushrooms over cooked rice. Top each serving with a bit of black pepper and chopped fresh parsley.
- To use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes: Use 4 ounces of dry-packed tomatoes. Add them to a bowl, cover them with warm water, and let them soak for 30 minutes before chopping and using in this recipe.
- To keep this dish 100% vegan/ vegetarian, leave out the parmesan cheese or sprinkle in some nutritional yeast or vegan grated cashew cheese.
- Nutrition information was calculated without parmesan cheese and rice.
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Simply Organic Smoked Paprika, 2.72 Ounce Bottle, Certified Organic, Vegan | Capsicum annuum
McCormick, Gourmet Organic Italian Seasoning, 0.55 Oz
Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base 8 oz (Pack of 4)
16 oz Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut in Olive Oil
Thai Kitchen Unsweetened Coconut Milk, 25.36 Fl Oz (Pack of 6)
Serving Size:¼th recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 639mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 16g