This Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich recipe was originally published on November 28th, 2012. That’s from I Love Vegan’s very first month online! If you’re curious, you can take a peek at the original post on the original ilovevegan.com, thanks to Wayback Machine.
After shuffling through different recipe plugins, a few ingredients had going missing making the recipe incomplete. Since it's been popping up when people google "tofu sandwich", I figured they deserve an updated and complete recipe! Not to mention some appetizing new images and accurate nutrition information.
I've included the original image at the end of the post to jog your memory if you think you’ve made this recipe before.
Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich
This tofu sandwich is basically a TLT (a tofu, lettuce, tomato sandwich), with a few extra bells and whistles.
We’ve got the basics: toasted bread, smoky maple tofu, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, vegan mayo, plus some deluxe extras!
Caramelized onions, mashed avocado, and Dijon mustard make this tofu sandwich downright fancy.
This smoky maple tofu sandwich is sweet and savoury and very hearty. It’s loaded with protein (20g), fibre (9g), vitamins (great source of B vitamins) and minerals (29% of your daily iron!) Scroll to the bottom for complete nutrition info because this recipe is a vegan powerhouse.
Marinated Tofu for Smoky Maple Sandwiches
Mix up the marinade (garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, and liquid smoke.) Slice a 350g block of tofu into about ¼” (½ cm) slices. (I cut a block of Sunrise Soya Extra-Firm Tofu into 16 slices and it works out to about ¼” thick.
Use a paper towel to pat or press the tofu to remove excess moisture so that the tofu can soak up the marinade.
Place the sliced tofu and marinade into a sandwich sized food storage bag or a shallow dish. Let the tofu marinate for 30-60 minutes.
The longer you marinate the tofu, the more flavourful your tofu sandwiches will be. You can marinate it overnight too.
Customizing Your Tofu Sandwich
- Marinate tempeh instead of tofu for a tempeh bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Tempeh is less absorbent so I’d marinate it overnight.
- Skip the caramelized onions for a quicker, easier sandwich. Caramelized onions add smoky flavour and sweetness to this sandwich, but making them can take up to an hour. Omit them for a simple but flavourful tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
- Swap maple syrup for brown sugar. You’ll lose the maple flavour but retain the sweetness and caramel notes. Brown sugar is cheaper and a common pantry staple.
- Skip the avocado. Avocados are fickle things and they're not always ripe when you need them! If you don’t have any ripe avocados just keep it simple with the vegan mayo instead.
More Tofu Sandwich Ideas
Tofu sandwiches are delicious, balanced vegan meals, so we have a few recipes for them here on I Love Vegan. From burgers, to wraps, to breakfast sandwiches, here are our favourite tofu sandwiches:
- Chipotle Maple Glazed Tofu Burgers
- Mango Chili Tofu Burgers with Cashew Crema
- Vegan Spicy Buffalo Tofu (fantastic in sandwiches and wraps!)
- Marinated Tofu Naan Wraps with Avocado Lime Slaw
- Vegan Drive-Thru Breakfast Sandwiches
- Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Sandwiches
Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
- Category: Lunch & Dinner, Sandwich
- Method: Sautéing
- Cuisine: Vegan
All the TLT (tofu, lettuce, tomato sandwich) basics: toasted bread, smoky maple tofu, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, vegan mayo, plus some deluxe extras! Caramelized onions, mashed avocado, and Dijon mustard make this tofu sandwich downright fancy.
- 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced
- ½ tbsp vegan butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- * 1 tablespoon water, as needed
Marinated Smoky Maple Tofu:
- 1 (350 g) block extra-firm tofu
- ½ tbsp canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich:
- 8 slices of wholegrain rye bread
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- Vegan mayo, to taste
- Dijon mustard, to taste (optional)
- 4 leaves of green leaf lettuce
- 4-8 slices of tomato
Marinated Smoky Maple Tofu:
- Slice tofu into ¼” (½ cm) slices. Press or pat tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- In a shallow dish or sandwich-sized food storage bag, add garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, and liquid smoke. Add the sliced tofu and marinate for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, begin caramelizing the onions and preparing your sandwich toppings.
- After caramelizing the onions, pre-heat ½ tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the marinated tofu to the skillet (do not crowd the pan), but reserve and excess marinade. Cook both sides until golden-brown. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan with the tofu, stirring gently. Continue cooking until the tofu has absorbed all the marinade. Set aside.
- In a thick-bottomed skillet, heat vegan butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and season with ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Adjust the heat and stir occasionally so that the onions brown and caramelize but don’t burn or dry out. Don’t stir too often or the onions with take longer to caramelize. As the onions cook down you’ll need to stir them more often to prevent burning.
- If the onions begin to get dry, add 1 tablespoon water.
- Once the onions are very soft and golden to golden-brown in colour, remove from heat (approximately 45-60 minutes).
Assembling the Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwiches:
- Lightly toast each slice of bread.
- Spread one slice with mashed avocado, and on slice with vegan mayo and Dijon mustard (optional).
- Top the toasted mayo/mustard bread with a leaf of lettuce, 1-2 slices of lightly salted tomato, 4 slices of tofu, and ¼ of the caramelized onions. Top with the toasted avocado bread.
- Slice sandwich in half.
Keywords: tofu sandwich, tofu sandwich recipes, vegan tofu sandwich
Is this sandwich good with un-caramelized onion??
Is it really supposed to be 60 minutes for caramelizing the onion?
My family loves this recipe! I've been looking for new ways to make tofu and this was a success. We left out the liquid smoke, and it still marinated wonderfully. Thank you so much for sharing!
Hi! Is there any substitute for liquid smoke?
You can just omit it if you like!
Billy in Philly
OK, so I went and bought all the stuff and sliced, minced and whatever, then I started to follow the directions, when "caramelizing" stoped me in my tracks. How do you do that??
cook the onions on low heat in a frypan, strring occasionally. they will turn clear and soft - keep going. they will eventually start browning and shrinking. this is caramelisation. you want to get to that sticky, light brown, clumpy texture you can see in the pictures.
So I only made the tofu with your marinade and then made a sandwich with mayo and veggies and it was soooo tasty! I also loved eating it raw, my partner prefers the cooked version. I made tons of it so we have enough for a bunch of sandwiches for the next few days, and that marinade is going straight to my recipes book, thanks 🙂
This looks great can’t wait to make it! If I wanted to make a batch of it to have throughout the week, how long would it keep in the fridge and do you think it would reheat ok without becoming chewy? Thanks!
So good, this recipe is on repeat right now. I've never enjoyed snacking on tofu on it's own, this stuff is so good I've been enjoying it in sandwiches and also by itself. I eliminated the liquid smoke as I don't love a smoky flavor and it was still good.
I am slowly changing my food and doing no meat one and then maybe then next but trying to put way more protein in it. I love tofu and I am on the go alot so it actually is great and this recipe is amazing!! I love the smokiness of it with the hint of sweetness from the maple syrup. I love that you can make along with the onions and keep it and eat it cold or heat it but and adjust your bread that you use, I used both sprouted and some of those thin rounds!! I would love more recipes ideas or marinade ideas. I am not good and what goes with what, LOL thanks
Oh my! This looks yummy! Cant wait to try it!!!
Thank you very much Lin! 🙂
Guy Man Darin
How many inches should the tofu be?
It should be sliced about 1/4" thick.
New to this. You dont mention the tofu in the recipe. I am assuming it is firm or extra firm cut into thick slices?? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I am just looking into changing my diet and am looking at recipes and no nothing...absolutely nothing about tofu.
Oh woops! That is definitely not a stupid question! Haha, this is one of my oldest recipes and apparently I wasn't into double-checking the recipe yet. Sorry! Yes, it's firm or extra-firm tofu cut into slices. You might also like this Baked Sriracha and Soy Sauce Tofu, it's really popular and great for sandwiches (you can add some maple syrup for sweetness too!)
If you want the tofu to be a firmer, meatier consistency. Take the tofu block out of the package and gently squeeze out as much water as possible, without causing the tofu to break apart. Then press your tofu. First, wrap it in a few paper towels. I usually fold a few paper towels and place them on top of and underneath the wrapped tofu block. I then take clean dish towels and place one under the tofu/folded paper towels and one on top. Lastly, balance cookbooks, heavy pans, dense items, etc. on top to give pressure. This will help press the water out of the tofu. Let it press for 30 minutes to an hour. Occasionally I'll unwrap my tofu, slice it, and put it in my dehydrator for 10-20 minutes if I need it to be chewier.
Thanks for your input Liv!
This looks amazing! I've just stumbled across your blog and I'm obsessed. LOVE IT!! Thank you! <3
Thanks so much Adrianne!