Sweet, tangy, and quick to make, this easy vegan honey mustard tofu recipe makes for one heck of a delicious meal. Plus, swapping out actual honey for maple syrup makes this simple sauce completely vegan!
You Will Love This Recipe
- It's so simple. Once you find your favorite way to cook tofu, this recipe is a breeze.
- It's versatile. Toss this tofu on a salad or in a grain bowl, or pair them with parsnip fries. There's no wrong way to enjoy these babies.
- It's quick. No need for tofu marinade or any tedious prep work; there is only 5 minutes of hands-on time.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Super-firm tofu: Extra-firm tofu will work here too, though you will want to press it using a tea towel, and a tofu press or a chopping board with a heavy object to remove excess water for the crispiest tofu.
- Dijon mustard: Real dijon works best here, but you can use yellow mustard if that's all you've got.
- Maple syrup: If you eat honey, honey, or any other liquid sweetener, will also work here.
- White wine vinegar: White wine vinegar is nice for its subtle sweetness, but apple cider vinegar or any vinegar should work here.
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking spray or oil: Use your preferred cooking oil here. I love olive or avocado oil.
Wait... Is Honey Not Vegan?
Well, technically, no, it's not. The Vegan Society states that honey is not vegan because insects are a part of the animal kingdom. Therefore, honey is considered an animal product.
Further, commercial beekeeping can include practices that are harmful both to bees and the planet, such as supplementing honey bees' diets with simple carbohydrate replacements for honey lacking micronutrients. However, balanced, natural, and biodynamic beekeeping do away with many harmful practices. Therefore, if you love honey but are concerned about the ethics, there may be a more ethical honey option you'd prefer.
In the realm of vegan honey alternatives, there are plenty:
- homemade vegan "honey"
- Bee Free Honey or other commercially available honey alternative
- maple syrup
- date syrup
- agave nectar
To start, rip the tofu into one-inch pieces. Then, using a bowl or other container with a lid, shake the tofu with the cornstarch and salt & pepper. From here, bake, pan-fry, or air-fry your tofu pieces.
While the tofu cooks, add the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl. Whisk them all together to combine. When the tofu is done cooking, toss it in the sauce.
From here, serve them with your desired sides and dig in!
Tofu nuggets: Prefer more of a nuggets and honey mustard dipping sauce situation? Make these crispy nuggets instead.
Crispy tofu and honey mustard salad: Chop some romaine or your preferred greens and top with the tofu. Add 2 Tablespoons each of olive oil and white wine vinegar to the sauce to make a honey mustard vinaigrette to drizzle over top.
Tofu brussels bowl: Make extra sauce by doubling the sauce recipe. Peel and slice some brussel sprouts and bake them with the tofu, and an additional 5-10 minutes. When cooked, toss the tofu and brussels in the honey mustard mixture and serve over brown or wild rice.
Make-ahead: Make the sauce up to 4 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
Store: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you can, keep the sauce separate so the tofu stays crispy.
Reheat: I love to reheat crispy tofu in my air fryer at low heat, around 325-350°F (165-177° C), for about 5 minutes. If you did not keep the sauce separate, the tofu will not be crispy (still tasty, though!), so using the microwave is just fine.
- To save time, double or triple the honey mustard sauce recipe to have plenty of this delicious sauce to top other foods throughout the week.
- Add the sauce to the tofu right before serving so the tofu stays extra crispy.
- Eco tip: If you plan to use a side veggie, roast the veggies at the same time as the tofu for a sheet pan meal that saves energy.
This flavor profile pairs beautifully with root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, or turnips and with dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, or brussels sprouts. Honey mustard also pairs well with squash and stone fruits such as peaches or cherries. Lastly, honey mustard goes great with nutty whole grains like brown rice, crusty whole-grain bread, or quinoa. Of course, honey mustard is also great for dipping many-a battered and fried food.
For that, I highly recommend the marinade I use for my tofu nuggets. This marinade with tamari or soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and smoked paprika takes a little more time and effort, but it does make the best tofu. I don't use a marinade every time I cook tofu, only when I want to really taste the tofu (here, the sauce provides plenty of flavor for me to skip marinading).
Easy Vegan Honey Mustard Tofu
For crispy tofu:
- If using extra-firm tofu: Press the tofu using a tea towel (or paper towels) and a tofu press or a chopping board with a heavy object.
- Rip the tofu into roughly one-inch pieces.
- Using a bowl or other container with a lid, shake the tofu with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- To Air Fry: Preheat air fryer to 390° F (200°C). Place tofu in the air fryer basket, spray or toss in oil, and shake the basket until the tofu is distributed evenly. Air fry for about 15 minutes or until the tofu is golden brown, pausing about every 5 minutes to shake the air fryer basket.
- To Bake: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread the tofu onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Spray generously with cooking spray or toss in oil and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- To Pan Fry: Heat a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil or other high-quality oil to make a shallow layer of oil in the pan. When the oil is hot (sizzles when a drop of water is added), add the tofu. Use a heat-resistant spatula to turn the tofu until it is crisp on all sides, about 5-10 minutes. When done, transfer to a cooling rack.
- While the tofu cooks, add the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl. Whisk them all together to combine. When the tofu is done cooking, toss them in the sauce and serve.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you can, keep the sauce separate so that the tofu stays crispy.