Elegant Salt & Pepper Tofu with Cilantro Pesto and Red Pepper Coulis

So my brother and his good friend flew in from Canada yesterday and in all the excitement of showing them around the city and watching the rugby world cup games, I forgot to post my first entry for the Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MoFo for short. MoFo say what? Well, in a nutshell, bloggers register their websites beforehand and then all the participants aim to blog about vegan food as much as possible all month. It’s like a vegan food orgy. And then if you’re really lucky, your entry gets featured on the Vegan MoFo website for the daily roundup. Even people who don’t normally  blog the rest of the year blog during Vegan MoFo. Yup, it’s that cool! I’m honored to be part of the action again this year and I’m aiming to post at least 5 times a week. That’s right, baby! Anyway, regardless of whether you’re participating or not,  if you love vegan food, check out the Vegan MoFo website – because from there, you can get a list and RSS feed of all the participating blogs. It’s like Christmas for vegan foodies!

Vegan Elegant Salt & Pepper Tofu with Cilantro Pesto and Red Pepper Coulis

So for my first contribution, I thought I’d play with one of my favorite recipes. Earlier this week, I was craving my usual salt and pepper tofu, and it occurred to me that I had everything on hand in the fridge to pull it together. But I was also in the mood for something a bit “fancy” so I decided to try a different take on it.

Rather than serving up the tofu over a bed of fresh coriander (cilantro) and stir-fried onions and red bell peppers (capsicum) like I normally do, I decided to serve it with a red pepper coulis and cilantro pesto.

Vegan Elegant Salt & Pepper Tofu with Cilantro Pesto and Red Pepper Coulis

Elegant Salt & Pepper Tofu with Cilantro Pesto and Red Pepper Coulis
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This fancy vegan tofu appetizer can also be . To serve it as a main, yit with steamed green veggies for a
Recipe type: Main, Starter, Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian, Thai, Fusion
Serves: 2
Salt & Pepper Tofu Ingredients
  • 1 pound firm silken tofu, sliced in 4 thick pieces
  • 1 prepared liquid vegan “egg” (like Ener-G Egg Replacer)
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Cilantro Pesto Ingredients
  • ½ cup cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nuts
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
Red Pepper Coulis Ingredients
  • ½ red bell pepper (capsicum)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
To make the pesto
  1. Combine the pesto ingredients in a food process and process until fully combined.
To make the coulis
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  2. Cut the bell pepper in two, and remove the stem. Scrape-out all seeds and all the stringy white flesh.
  3. Place face-down onto a baking sheet and roast until the skin is charred/burned, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, peel off the skin and any black pieces.
  5. Blend with olive oil in a food processor, season with salt and pepper as needed.
To make the salt & pepper tofu
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In another bowl, mix the vegan egg and juice of ½ the lemon. Set aside.
  2. Dip the tofu in the egg mixture and then into the cornstarch mixture, to coat. In another frying pan, cover the base with enough oil to fry the bottom of the tofu. Place each piece in the oil and fry until golden brown – turn and repeat on the other side.
  3. Drizzle the coulis on two plates, top with tofu and pesto. Serve with lemon slices.
It’s really important to use the right kind of tofu for this recipe. You want it to be “silken” and “extra-firm” (simply “firm” is too flimsy). It usually comes in a molded plastic container.

Vegan Elegant Salt & Pepper Tofu with Cilantro Pesto and Red Pepper Coulis

Vegan Month of Food 2011


  1. This looks and sounds fantastic! I need to get more creative with my tofu seasonings.

    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Heather :)

  2. Helen says:

    What lovely presentation! Mmm… I love fried tofu, and I bet all of these flavors blend so well together.

    • vegangela says:

      Thanks very much Helen!

  3. Such a pretty looking dish and I bet it tastes as good as it looks.
    Happy MoFo’ing

    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Jeni! My brother is in town and I don’t think I’ll be able to blog much this week so my Vegan MoFo will be a slow start. I just checked out your blog and your recipes look awesome – I will be following your posts for sure!

  4. Vanessa says:

    Oh man! That IS some elegant tofu! Must try this. Well done.=)

    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much Vanessa – let me know if you try it :)

  5. Oh my, this looks as if it should be in a high end restaraunt. Gorgeous! Hubby is a tofu hound, so I’m thinking this would make a special dinner for him next month. Thanks!

    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much, what an honor! Let me know what you both think of it :)

  6. Johann Dirry says:

    is that degrees celsius or degrees farenheit?

    • vegangela says:

      All recipes are in Fahrenheit unless otherwise indicated.

  7. christie says:

    I just heard about Mark Bittman, who eats vegan before 6 pm, and I’m just starting to try it. One of my biggest problems is that I don’t have a basic knowledge of vegan cooking, so your fancy salt and pepper tofu made a good dish for me to make, make mistakes, and learn. I found myself missing the Parmesan cheese in the pesto. Do you think nutritional yeast would be a good substitute?
    So glad I found your website. It sounds like you just grab whatever you have, make dinner, and then tell us how to do it. I’m sure it’ll be a long time before I can make vegan meals so easily!

    • vegangela says:

      Glad you liked this dish! Yes, try adding some nutritional yeast to the pesto, or adding more nuts to it. Let me know what else you try on the site and let me know if you have any questions at all :)

  8. Olivia says:

    This recipe is fantastic! I didn’t have time to make the sauces, so I just made the tofu. It is one of the best tofu recipes I’ve tried.
    Next time I’ll plan ahead and make the sauces as well. Thank you for sharing!

  9. mandi says:

    Under the notes section regarding the tofu it says “You want it to be “silken” and “extra-firm” (simply “firm” is too flimsy).” Which one should I use? Silken or extra firm? Or is either one okay? Thanks!

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