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Overhead image of two plates of Vegan Butter Tofu on a white marble background.
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5 from 10 votes

Butter Tofu (vegan, 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 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: gluten-free, healthy, Indian, vegan, vegetarian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 people
Author: Elizabeth Emery


For the Tofu

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

For the sauce

  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (you can use powdered ginger instead, but use ½ tbsp)
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander
  • 4 teaspoon 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


  • 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 tablespoon 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!


Notes & Substitutions

Coconut milk - Instead of butter, I've used coconut milk and combined it with tomatoes, garam masala and coriander to give the dish an intense but creamy flavour. It's really important to use the highest quality coconut milk you can, as not all are created equal, and the lower priced ones tend to have a lower fat content - which means they won't be as creamy/tasty!
Tofu firmness - Feel free to use your choice of tofu, but I'd recommend using medium-firm. Firm is exactly that: too firm! As a result, I find it doesn't soak up as much of the sauce as a medium firm tofu would.
High fat - Do be aware that this dish (as with all butter tofu or butter chicken dishes) is rich-tasting and pretty high in fat. While these fats are from whole food sources, I mention this in case it's something you're being mindful of.
Serving suggestions - Serve this butter tofu with whatever you love, but personally I like brown rice, millet or quinoa to boost the nutrient content.
I also love to add a garnish of something for extra colour and goodness. Both cilantro and parsley work really well, as does red cabbage sauerkraut to balance out the rich flavour!