Last December I shared a recipe for Tofu Banh Mi Bowls with Spicy Pickles and it quickly became one of our most popular posts. It also happens to be one of my personal favorite meals, which is why I decided to fuse it with my recent taco obsession to make tofu banh mi tacos!
I used a similar tofu recipe as the banh mi bowls, marinating some pressed extra firm tofu in a simple mixture of soy sauce, fresh lime juice, garlic, and toasted sesame oil. I’ve found that the key to getting extra flavorful, chewy, and crispy tofu is taking the time to press it until it’s about half of its original thickness so that it really soaks up the marinade (less water = more flavor). I use this tofu press because it makes life easy.
Another tip, and I know I’m super late to the game on this one, is to thoroughly warm your tortillas. For whatever reason I had been going through life not doing this, until a few months ago when Aaron randomly decided to use the neglected grill side of our stovetop to warm a few tortillas for burritos. No words. Since we moved here in 2014, the left side of our stove has gone almost entirely unused and I’ve been cursing the lack of burners (2 burners! why?!), but now I’m happily grilling tortillas pretty much daily because I love those barely burnt, crispy edges. Obviously, there are a million other ways to warm your tortillas—toaster oven, regular oven, stovetop, frying pan—the important thing is just that you do it because it’s surprisingly life-changing.
One last note: don’t be deterred by the longer than usual ingredient list for this recipe. Yes, these tofu banh mi tacos have a few components, but each is speedy and straightforward, and the end result will knock your socks off. We used some pre-prepped carrot sticks from Terra’s Kitchen in the pickled veggie mix (part of their new option to add fruit and vegetable sides to your meal kit delivery order). With each wonderful bite you get crispy and perfectly browned tofu pieces, spicy and vinegar-y pickles, chewy (warm!) corn tortillas, creamy avocado slices, fresh cilantro leaves, and crave-worthy sriracha mayo + lime juice dressing. Basically, this is the meal that makes us want to skip going out in favor of eating tacos at home.
- 1 small radish, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1 small cucumber, julienned
- 1 small jalapeño, sliced into thin rounds (adjust to your spiciness preference)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 package (16 ounces) extra firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes then cubed
- 8 small soft corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 scallions, sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup spicy vegan mayo (mix mayo with sriracha to taste)
- lime wedges, for serving
- Make the pickles: Add all of the pickle ingredients to a medium jar, close the lid tightly, and shake to combine. If the vegetables aren't completely submerged in the vinegar, add just enough water to cover them. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Prepare the tofu: In a shallow dish, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, and garlic. Add the tofu to the marinade, tossing to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add a small pour of sesame oil and cook the tofu, giving each piece a little space on all sides to brown. Cook the tofu for 2-4 minutes on each side, until browned and slightly crispy. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Assemble the tacos: For each taco, take one warm tortilla and lay tofu down the middle. Pack a small amount of pickled vegetables next to the tofu and a slice of avocado. Scatter some scallions and cilantro leaves on top. Finish the tacos with a drizzle of spicy mayo and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Enjoy immediately.
If you don't already own a tofu press, I highly recommend buying one because it will make pressing your tofu a breeze and the texture will be infinitely better too. We've been using this press several times a week for a handful of years and it's been one of my best kitchen purchases to date.
Thank you to Terra’s Kitchen for sponsoring this post! We love their wholesome, 30 minute (or less!), plant-based meal kits, plus their new option to add salads, smoothies, and pre-prepped fruit and vegetable sides to your order. You can read our full review of their meal-kit delivery service here, and enter PICKLES at checkout to take $35 off your first order!