This post may contain affiliate links. Read my policy page for more information.

Learn how to make this vegan tofu adobo that tastes just like the traditional Filipino dish! This recipe uses tofu cubes baked to golden perfection and simmered in a sweet, salty, and tangy adobo sauce. It’s ready in around 35 minutes for a quick and healthy meal!

Tofu adobo served over a bed of rice and topped with sliced green onion.

Tofu is a versatile and nutritious protein source for those following a plant-based diet. Not only that, but it has the amazing ability to soak any flavors you add to it, making it the perfect choice for this vegan adobo.

The bold flavors of the sauce and the chewiness from the tofu make for a superior combination, resulting in a dish that will be loved by vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Once you try it, you’ll find yourself making this recipe time and time again, because it’s THAT good!

Looking for more tofu recipes? Check out my tofu stir fry, crispy tofu tacos, and tofu ground beef.

Jump to:

What is adobo?

Adobo is a method of marinating and cooking food in stock, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and spices like black peppercorns, bay leaf, and sometimes paprika or oregano.

It’s prepared in many different ways all over the world, but the most popular is Filipino adobo, usually made with chicken or pork. Sometimes you can find it with the name Adobong Manok, which translates to chicken adobo. Fun fact: Adobo is often referred to as the unofficial national dish of the Philippines .

The name adobo comes from the Spanish word “adobar,” meaning “marinade” or “seasoning.

My vegan version includes tofu as the main protein sauce but keeps the rest of the flavors the same. I’m using sugar for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness, white vinegar for tanginess, and of course, whole black peppercorns and bay leaves for flavor and aroma.

Ingredient notes

Gathered ingredients for making tofu adobo.

This tofu recipe is simple to make with easy-to-find ingredients! Here are the essential ingredients you’ll need:

  • Tofu: For best results, use extra firm or super firm tofu. These two types have a low moisture content, which allows them to crisp up and become chewy.
  • Soy sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce to avoid making your tofu adobo too salty. Dark soy sauce also works well since it tends to be less salty than other types of soy sauce. You can also use tamari if you want to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • White vinegar: Or rice vinegar, for adding acidity and tanginess to the sauce.
  • Onion and garlic: This recipe uses 6 garlic cloves for the best flavor, but you can always use less if desired. Any kind of onion is okay here, but I like to use red onion.
  • Vegetable broth: For giving body to the sauce. Low-sodium works best, but a buollion cube dissolved in warm water can be used in a pinch.
  • Coconut sugar: It adds a subtle sweetness and enhances the rest of the flavors. Brown sugar or white sugar can also work.
  • Spices: Using whole black peppercorns is essential in this recipe, as most pre-ground black pepper doesn’t have the same flavor. You’ll also need a few dry bay leaves.
  • Cornstarch: For thickening the adobo sauce you’ll need to mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water, also called a cornstarch slurry. You can use arrowroot powder as a substitute.

How to make tofu adobo

​Here’s the step-by-step process for making this tofu adobo recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card below for more details.

To start, drain and press tofu for 30 minutes. You can do that by either using a tofu press or wrapping the block in paper towels and placing something heavy on top. Or use super firm tofu to skip this step.

Preheat either an oven or air fryer to 400ºF (205ºC).

Then, slice the tofu into cubes and either bake on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for 25-30 minutes or air fry for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Baked tofu cubes on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes until translucent and fragrant.

Add a splash of vegetable broth or water to prevent them from sticking to the surface.

Then, add in the black peppercorn and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until toasted and aromatic.

Sauteing red onion and minced garlic in a cast-iron skillet.

Pour in the soy sauce, vinegar, vegetable broth, bay leaves, and coconut sugar. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cook for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar and allow the flavors to meld.

Adobo sauce cooking in a cast-iron skillet. A wooden spoon is placed in the skillet.

When the tofu is golden brown and crispy, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, or until it has absorbed most of the liquid.

Next, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch and cold water until dissolved.

Cooking baked tofu cubes in adobo sauce in a cast-iron skillet.

Pour the mixture over the tofu and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce is thickened and luscious.

Remove from the heat and serve over brown or white rice. Top with any garnish that you like such as green onion!

Tofu adobo cooking in a cast-iron skillet.

Expert Tips

  • Use extra-firm tofu. This type of tofu has less moisture, and when pressed and baked, it becomes chewy and mimics the texture of meat. Other types of tofu such as soft and silken tofu have a high water content and won’t work well in this recipe. If you don’t want to press tofu, or don’t have the time, use super firm tofu.
  • Adjust the sauce consistency as needed. You can add more vegetable broth if you want your tofu adobo to be saucier. On the other hand, if you like to have less sauce, you can cook it a few minutes further until the liquid evaporates.
  • Season to taste. Wait to add salt at the end, until after you’ve tasted everything. More often than not I find that the soy sauce alone is enough to salt the entire dish.
  • If you don’t like whole peppercorns in your tofu adobo, feel free to use freshly cracked black pepper instead.
  • Use a cast iron, ceramic, or stainless steel pan. Aluminum pans react with the vinegar in the adobo marinade, changing the flavor.

FAQs

What does adobo taste like?

Filipino tofu adobo is salty, sweet, and a little tangy, with hints of onion and garlic, and aroma from the bay leaves. The whole peppercorns add a subtle kick, but in general, this recipe is not spicy.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, this recipe freezes well and can keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Store in a freezer-safe container and let thaw overnight before reheating and serving.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the sauce and bake the tofu 2-3 days ahead of time, then all you’ll have to do is simmer for 10-15 minutes before serving.

A white plate filled with tofu adobo served over a bed of rice. A lime wedge placed next to the tofu.

Variations

  • Without tofu: You can use tempeh, soy curls, or a mock meat like vegan chicken. If you want to avoid soy, use chickpea or lentil tempeh.
  • Add vegetables: You can add quick-cooking vegetables like spinach, bok choy, red bell peppers, or green beans in the last few minutes of cooking. Starchy vegetables like potatoes take longer to cook, so it’s best to cut them into very small pieces and add them at the beginning.
  • Make it spicy: Add 2-3 dried red chili peppers or 1-2 teaspoons of red chili flakes to the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Pair the bold flavors of this tofu adobo with potato rice or mashed potatoes to soak all of that delicious sauce! For a lighter side dish, try serving it alongside a simple side salad or roasted frozen vegetables.

You’ll also love pairing this recipe with crispy potsickers or air fryer spring rolls for that extra crunchy texture.

To keep it simple, serve over brown rice or jasmine rice. However you choose to serve it, this adobo tofu is sure to be a hit!

Tofu adobo served in a white plate over cooked rice and topped with scallions.

Storage

Let the tofu adobo cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 4-5 days.

To reheat, add to a skillet with a splash of vegetable broth. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until warmed through. You can also reheat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through.

More tofu recipes

  • Fill up with this high protein Easy Tofu Stir Fry!
  • Need an easy taco or burrito filling? Try this smoky Tofu Ground Beef.
  • For an egg-y breakfast without the eggs, this Silken Tofu Scramble is shockingly realistic and delicious!
  • Make these Crispy Vegan Tofu Tacos when you want something fun that the family can enjoy assembling their own tacos!
  • For fried tofu without all the oil, try this crispy Air Fryer Tofu that comes out golden and delicious every time!
Tofu adobo served over a bed of rice and topped with sliced green onion.

Easy Tofu Adobo (Filipino Adobong Tokwa)

5 from 4 votes
Author: Rachel
Learn how to make this vegan tofu adobo taste just like the traditional Filipino dish! This recipe uses tofu cubes baked to golden brown perfection and simmered in a sweet, salty, and tangy adobo sauce. It's ready in around 35 minutes for a quick and healthy meal!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3

Method

  • Stovetop
  • air fryer or Oven

Ingredients 
 

  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu 
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns or ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar or rice vinegar 
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth *see notes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Salt to taste, optional 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch  mixed with 2 teaspoons of cold water
  • Green onions sliced, for garnish

Instructions 

  • To start, drain and press tofu for 30 minutes. You can do that by either using a tofu press or wrapping the block in paper towels and placing something heavy on top.
    14 ounces extra firm tofu 
  • Preheat either an oven or air fryer to 400ºF (205ºC). Slice the tofu into cubes and either bake for 25-30 minutes or air fry for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Add a splash of vegetable broth or water to prevent them from sticking to the surface. Add in the black peppercorn and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until toasted and aromatic.
    1 small red onion, 5-6 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Pour in the soy sauce, vinegar, vegetable broth, and bay leaves, and coconut sugar. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar and allow the flavors to meld.
    ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce , ¼ cup white distilled vinegar, ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth, 3 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • When the tofu is golden brown and crispy, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, or until it has absorbed most of the liquid.
  • Next, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch and cold water until dissolved. Pour the mixture over the tofu and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce is thickened and luscious.
    1 teaspoon cornstarch 
  • Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more salt if desired. Serve over brown or white rice. Top with any garnish that you like, such as green onion!
    Salt, Green onions

Notes

*If you like your adobo saucier, you can add up to 1 cup of broth.
Storage
  • Fridge: Let tofu adobo cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Freezer: Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight before reheating and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 859mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Filipino, Southeast Asian
Want to eat healthier but don’t know where to start?Get a free customizable meal plan and stop the struggle!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating