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Vegan Butter Tofu (gluten-free)

Closeup image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background. The dish is served with millet and cilantro leaves, and a bunch of cilantro and small bowl of turmeric are nearby, as well as two forks.

For a quick but finger-licking-good dinner, try this Vegan Butter Tofu made with coconut milk, crushed tomatoes and warming spices. You won't regret it!

Closeup image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background. The dish is served with millet and cilantro leaves, and a bunch of cilantro and small bowl of turmeric are nearby, as well as two forks.

Full disclosure: I've never actually eaten Butter Tofu or Butter Chicken. I have no idea what they're supposed to taste like. A friend and I were having dinner recently and she kept describing how the sauce should taste. It sounded so, so good (creamy yet spicy) that I couldn't get it out of my head.

I spent the next week thinking about how I could make a version of this delicious dish myself! One night in the kitchen, I began throwing spices, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes into a saucepan, and kept mixing and adding ingredients until I was happy with the result. I grilled some tofu, tossed it in too and voila - what came out was this Vegan Butter Tofu.

I make no claim that this tastes like the traditional chicken dish (because I truly have no idea). What I can tell you is that it's DELICIOUS, full of creamy spiciness and with a rich savoury flavour.

Instead of butter, I've used coconut milk and oil and combined them with tomatoes, garam masala and coriander to give the dish an intense but comforting flavour. If you're looking for a hearty and comforting dinner that will leave you feeling warm and satiated, this Vegan Butter Tofu is for you!

Overhead image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background. The dish is served with millet and cilantro leaves, and a bunch of cilantro and small bowl of turmeric are nearby.

Vegan Butter Tofu - Notes on the Recipe


Do be aware that this dish is pretty high in fat. While these fats are from whole food sources - and I don't count calories in my recipes - I mention this in case it's something you're being mindful of. You'll also notice that the dish is very rich in taste - so I wouldn't recommend eating it every single day!

Feel free to use your choice of tofu, but I'd recommend using medium firm. Firm is exactly that: firm! As a result, I find it doesn't soak up as much of the sauce as a medium firm tofu would.

Serve this dish with whatever you love, but personally I love eating it with brown rice, millet or quinoa to boost the nutrient content. I also love to add a garnish of something green to the dish for extra colour and goodness. Both cilantro and parsley work really well and don't take away from the flavour too much!

Overhead images shows various ingredients on a white marble background: a cast iron pan of tofu cubes, a bowl of turmeric, a bunch of cilantro, a jar of coconut milk, some coconut oil, crushed tomatoes and a bulb of garlic.
Closeup image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background. The dish is served with millet and cilantro leaves, and a bunch of cilantro and small bowl of turmeric are nearby, as well as two forks.
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5 from 6 votes

Vegan Butter Tofu (gluten-free)

For a quick but finger-licking-good dinner, try this Vegan Butter Tofu, made with coconut milk, crushed tomatoes and warming spices. You won't regret it!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, Indian, vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

For the Tofu

  • 350 g block of medium or firm tofu
  • ½ tbsp grapeseed, olive or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce

  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger (you can use powdered ginger instead, but use ½ tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander
  • 4 tsp garam masala spice
  • ¾ cup crushed tomatoes (I like Whole Foods 365 own brand with basil)
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk (very important to use full fat!)
  • 1 tsp Bragg's Soy Seasoning or tamari/soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve (optional)

  • Brown rice, quinoa or millet
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven's grill/broiler. Cut the tofu into roughly 1½-2cm cubes.
  • Place the tofu in an oven-proof dish, and add ½ tbsp grapeseed, olive or avocado oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss the tofu in the pan to ensure it's well-coated.
  • Grill/broil in the oven for 12-14 minutes until it is golden brown, then flip the tofu over, and re-season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill for 8-10 minutes more until golden but not dried out, then remove from the oven and set aside.
  • While the tofu is grilling, prepare the sauce. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on a medium/low heat, and gently sauté the garlic and ginger in it for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  • Add the spices and stir for another minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and Bragg's to the pan, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat. 
  • Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts to stick, turn the heat down a little and add some more coconut milk or water.
  • Add the grilled tofu to the sauce and simmer the mixture for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Serve with brown rice, quinoa or millet and garnish each plate with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @vancouverwithlove or tag #vancouverwithlove!

Notes

  • I can't stress how important it is to use full-fat coconut milk! Not all coconut milks are created equal - some are more watery, while others are creamy and rich. As a general rule, buy the best you can afford until you find one whose consistency you love. (If you're in the US or Canada, Whole Foods 365 brand is really good. This post is not sponsored by them in any way, I just really like some of their products.)

Are you new to a plant-based diet and looking for some handy resources? Why not check out my free guide on How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps), How to Cook Tofu 3 Ways, and How to Shop as a Vegan

If you're looking for more info on adopting a plant-based diet, Veganuary is a great place to start.

Overhead image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background. The dish is served with millet and cilantro leaves, and a bunch of cilantro and small bowl of turmeric are nearby.

Comments 12

    1. Post
      Author

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s a great little recipe – so indulgent and delicious. I hope you enjoy making it. 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    Made this the other day with chicken instead of tofu since we aren’t vegan. Oh my gosh – so good! Other than missing the butter it’s a pretty darn good replication of butter chicken in my opinion. Will definitely be making again 🙂

    1. Post
      Author
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      Author
    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Kevin. I’m sorry, I don’t have the specifics. Nutrition labels are something I’m looking in to adding in the near future though!

  2. 5 stars
    This is SO delicious and easy to make. It took no time – perfect weeknight meal. My partner and I were both licking our plates clean. I love the method of making the tofu as well. So easy and can be done that way for many recipes. This will definitely become a staple meal – usually have all these ingredients on hand. Thanks so much!

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m so happy to hear that Stephanie! Yes, I love cooking tofu that way too – it sticks to the pan way less! Glad you enjoyed. 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m so happy to hear it Lisa! I made it a few days ago as well and it always tastes delicious to me. Great tip on the spinach. 🙂

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