I have a confession to make. I love tofu. So much so that I would say I eat it 4-5 times a month at least.
My love for tofu blossomed when I began dating my boyfriend, a vegetarian, and has never faded. The problem we run into with tofu is how to marinate it, since we try to maintain a low-sodium diet. Many popular marinades rely on soy sauce, which isn’t a good option for us for a myriad of reason. Enter my new discovery: umami sauce.
While searching the Internet for low-sodium marinades, I discovered Jessica Goldman Foung’s post on Living Without in which she shared a soy sauce replacement recipe from Sodium Girl. Her umami sauce is built on the basic flavors of Asian cooking, and is delightful. The entire one-cup recipe also has less than thirty calories and nearly negligible sodium.
So, naturally, I used Sodium Girl’s umami sauce to make a delightful plate of marinated baked tofu and vegetable medley. Both dishes were simple, and delicious paired with some rice from Trader Joe’s. I’ve shared the easy-as-pie recipes below — happy cooking!
Sodium Girl’s Umami Sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cooked unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- ½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes one cup.
Baked Umami Tofu
- One recipe umami sauce (above)
- One package extra firm tofu, preferably organic
- Begin by pressing as much liquid from your tofu as possible. I recommend the freeze/thaw/squeeze technique.
- Cut your tofu into either “slabs” or cubes. Cubes will absorb more marinade.
- Place your cut tofu in a closed container with umami marinade. Allow to marinade for at least an hour, longer if possible, turning or jostling the tofu periodically. The longer it marinates, the better!
- When your tofu is marinated, preheat your oven to 425 and cover a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat. Place cut tofu on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn pieces, and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve alongside any sides you like.
Note: Do not discard any leftover marinade if making umami vegetables.
- Fresh produce, sliced into uniform pieces — I used garlic, onion, carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini, and portobello mushrooms.
- One tablespoon olive oil
- Leftover umami sauce, or another batch of the marinade
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add vegetables one type at a time, allowing to cook some between each addition. Begin with aromatics like garlic and onion, then add hearty vegetables like carrots. Add delicate vegetables like mushrooms last.
- When vegetables are beginning to soften and browning begins to occur in pan, add umami sauce. Allow to cook with vegetables uncovered until liquid is absorbed/evaporated and vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.