This Coconut-Crusted Tofu Just Might Be the Perfect Plant-Based Meal

Take a break from meat with this delicious meal any day of the week.

Photo: Ashley Capp

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Tofu: It’s white, it’s spongy and for some, it’s completely unfamiliar. Plant-based proteins can be intimidating if you’re used to working with good ol’ meat. But they shouldn’t scare you away from making plant-forward meals part of your everyday diet. You just have to get familiar with them! And there’s no better way to start than with this quick and easy recipe.

Made out of coagulated soybean milk, tofu is one of the best plant-based proteins you can eat. It’s highly versatile and adaptable, able to take on the flavor of your favorite marinades and become spicy, sweet, warm and everything in between – the final flavor depends on how you season and cook it. Whether you opt for medium or extra-firm, tofu can be sliced or crumbled, served as a main, a taco filling, a burger or mixed into casseroles and salads. Never worked with tofu before? We’ll walk you through it. Our guide to working with tofu will help you master this meat alternative before you dive into our Coconut-Crusted Tofu below.

And it’s not just a plant-based alternative to meat. Tofu is good for the environment and you, thanks to its healthy nature. It’s naturally packed with protein and calcium, making it both filling and highly nutritious. Plus, if you sub tofu for meat just once or twice per week (or even have a little every day), you can potentially reap health benefits like improved heart health and lower cholesterol. Here, we’re combining both the benefits of tofu and vitamin-rich veggies. We’ve paired tofu with red bell peppers, which are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene. And the addition of bok choy delivers an extra dose of calcium, plus servings of iron, phosphorus and magnesium. It’s not just well-round in flavor; it’s also kind of the perfect plant-based meal.

Try tofu for yourself! Whether it’s your first time working with this plant protein or your 100th, this quick and easy recipe is handy to have in your arsenal. It’s convenient on busy weeknights, and you can marinade it over the weekend so your tofu is ready to cook with just a moment’s notice. Once you become an expert at making this Coconut-Crusted Tofu, you’ll find yourself returning to it over and over again (we definitely do!).

Coconut-Crusted Tofu with Sesame Orange Vegetables

Prep Time
25 min
35 min


  • 1 pkg (16 to 18 oz) Organic extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 16 triangles or rectangles
  • 11 oz unsweetened coconut water
  • ¾ cup 100% orange juice, divided
  • ½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 small red bell peppers, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups halved, trimmed snow peas
  • 1 bunch bok choy leaves and 3 inches of white bulb, chopped
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder


  1. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, place tofu in a single layer. In a small bowl, combine coconut water and ¼ cup orange juice. Pour mixture over tofu and refrigerate, turning once halfway, for 1 to 24 hours; wash bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange a heatproof wire cooling rack on a large baking sheet. On a large plate, spread shredded coconut and sesame seeds, tossing with your fingers to combine. Remove 1 piece tofu from marinade, letting excess liquid drip off. Transfer to coconut-sesame mixture, turning to coat both sides, then place on rack over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tofu. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add bell pepper and snow peas and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add white bok choy pieces and sauté until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bok choy leaves and sauté for 1 more minute, until leaves begin to wilt.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ½ cup orange juice, soy sauce and ginger. Add to skillet; wash bowl. Return bell pepper mixture to skillet and bring liquid to a simmer. In small bowl, whisk 2 tbsp cold water and arrowroot. Slowly add to skillet, stirring constantly until thickened, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Serve tofu warm with bell pepper mixture.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 3 oz tofu and ½ cup vegetables with sauce
  • Calories 209
  • Carbohydrate Content 15 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 12 g
  • Fiber Content 6 g
  • Protein Content 13 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 4.5 g
  • Sodium Content 375 mg
  • Sugar Content 5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 1 g