Spicy Southwest Tofu Marinade

Looking to add some spice to your regular tofu rotation? This Spicy Southwest Tofu Marinade will do just the trick. A great way to use up fresh garden tomatoes and peppers!

Perfect served alongside yellow rice, refried beans, salsa, and warm corn tortillas. It also makes a great filling for tacos or burritos.

It’s nearing the end of the summer season. If you’ve got a vegetable garden and you’re anything like me, you planted way more than you needed to this year and now you’re practically swimming in tomatoes and peppers. This recipe came about from a need for new ways to utilize that extra produce.

This recipe is versatile and easily customizable for what you have on hand.

I’ve tested out this marinade with a variety of tomatoes: roma, beefsteak, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, heirloom varieties like cherokee purple, green zebra, and golden queen. All produced a slightly different but equally delicious result.

If you don’t like the spiciness of serrano peppers, swap them out with jalapeños or just omit altogether.

Plan on marinating your tofu for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best for the most flavorful results.

What’s the best cooking method for this marinated tofu?

This marinated tofu can work with a great number of cooking methods. You’ll want to keep in mind to cut your tofu to appropriate sized pieces for each cooking method. For instance, if cooking on the grill you’ll want to cut tofu into bigger slabs that are easier to handle and won’t fall through grill grates.

  • For the Grill: Brush oil onto grill grates and grill 5-7 minutes per side.
  • For the Oven: Bake on a parchment lined sheet pan at 400℉ for 30 minutes. Flip halfway through.
  • Pan Fry: Cook over medium-high heat, flipping occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.
  • Broil: Place tofu on sheet pan and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes per side.

Do I need to use Extra-Firm Tofu for this recipe?

Yes, I would highly recommend using stictly extra-firm or super-firm tofu for this recipe. Tofu that is too soft will just break down into mushy pieces in a marinade and most likely be unuseable. You can take it a step further to create even firmer, chewier tofu by freezing and defrosting it before using. This will force more water out of the tofu, leaving more room for it to soak up your flavorful marinade.

Can I use canned tomatoes for this recipe instead?

Yes, you can swap out canned tomatoes for fresh for this recipe. Use one 15 oz can of tomatoes.

Can I freeze tofu in this marinade for use later?

Yes! If you like to prep meals ahead of time to have something quick and easy that’s ready to go when you get home, just place the tofu and marinade in a freezer bag and freeze until you’re ready to use. The tofu will stay good in the freezer for 4-6 months. When you’d like to use it, just remember to take it out of the freezer to thaw fully before cooking.

Spicy Southwest Tofu Marinade

This tangy, sweet & spicy tofu marinade features an array of great flavors of the southwest: tomatoes, onions, garlic, serranos, lime juice, and cilantro.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 2 (14 oz) blocks extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into cubes Drain and press tofu a minimum of 10 minutes. You want to remove as much water as possible.
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 large lime, juiced 2-3 tbsp
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C onion, quartered
  • 2-3 serrano chiles, de-stemmed
  • 1/2 C cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar or agave nectar


  • Simply place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour marinade over tofu to coat evenly and let marinade a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is best.
Keyword Tofu Marinade

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