Make us your home page

In Our Kitchen: Lime-Cilantro Tofu gives you a reason to roast

I wouldn't ask you to crank up the oven right now if it wasn't worth it.

My AC is struggling to get our apartment to a temperature lower than 75 degrees, but I want you to set the oven to 450 degrees. Just for 20 minutes or so.

Your whole meal will be on the table in less than an hour.

The resulting tofu and vegetable dinner is fresh, fragrant with citrus, and spiced. It's filling but light, which is my preference for most meals during the summer. Once assembled, the dish is beautiful with shades of red, green, and purple, and it is as flavorful as it is colorful. Let it brighten up lunch on a cloudy summer day.

Tofu, like most foods, tastes great when roasted. Its sides brown and the edges crisp up slightly while the inside is warm and custardy. The vibrant marinade made up of lime, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cilantro punches up the flavor. Tofu's taste is inherently neutral, which makes it a great candidate for any bold flavors you want to add. The tofu soaks up the marinade, and the rest of it becomes a sauce to intensify the flavors.

Roasting the onions and peppers softens them and draws out their sweetness. A pretty great reward for roasting.

We enjoyed this served over rice for a late weekend lunch. Crusty bread or warm tortillas would be good, too. You'll need something like that to make the most of the sauce.

Leftovers the next day taste just as good. Reserve the sauce and gently warm everything up in a pan over medium heat (or briefly in a microwave). Don't forget the sauce will taste a lot stronger the next day, and it's best to taste as you go before pouring it all over the tofu and vegetables.

Ileana Morales is a writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with boyfriend Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, She can be reached at


Lime-Cilantro Tofu With Roasted Onions

and Peppers

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

cup fresh lime juice (from 4 or 5 limes)

¼ cup minced garlic (from 6 or so cloves)

3 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, divided

¾ teaspoon paprika, divided


Freshly ground black pepper

14-ounce block firm tofu, drained and cut into 4 slices ½-inch thick each

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon honey

1 medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

3 red bell peppers, cut into long ¼-inch-thick slices, seeds and core discarded

Rice or bread, for serving

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine ¼ cup cilantro, lime juice, garlic, 3 teaspoons cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour ½ cup of marinade into a resealable plastic bag or baking pan. Add tofu (seal the bag if using) and shake it up to cover the tofu with the marinade. Let tofu marinate on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Add ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and honey to the rest of the marinade. (Puree in a blender for a smoother sauce). Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Toss onions and peppers in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and a big pinch each of salt and pepper.

Place tofu on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread onions and peppers on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until vegetables are tender and tofu is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir vegetables occasionally while roasting.

Serve one slice of tofu per plate with a portion of roasted onions and peppers. Finish tofu with sauce and the remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve with rice or bread.

Serves 4.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit

In Our Kitchen: Lime-Cilantro Tofu gives you a reason to roast 07/12/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 15, 2013 3:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 24


    Zac Brown Band: The country, folk and Southern rockers embark on the "Welcome Home" tour in support of the album. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $27.50-$77.50. (813) 740-2446.

    Handout photo of the Zac Brown Band, performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on 9/24/17. Credit: Shore Fire Media
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 23


    Smithsonian Museum Day Live: Museums across the nation partner with the Smithsonian to offer free admission for one day. Among them are Florida Holocaust Museum, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.Cracker Country in Tampa, Ringling Museum of Art. Note: Dalí Museum is free for Pinellas County …

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  3. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others


    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]