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Blackened Tofu with Kale & Quinoa

Blackened Tofu seared with a spicy cajun-creole style seasoning and served with savory sauteed kale and quinoa makes a quick & easy weeknight or weekend meal ready in 30 minutes!

top down view of a black bowl with blackened tofu, sauteed kale and quinoa.

Blackened tofu features tender slabs of tofu dredged in a flavorful cajun-style seasoning and cooked until blackened and crispy on the outside, while tender on the inside.

I love pairing it with this savory sauteed kale cooked with nutritional yeast and garlic. It’s so simple and pairs perfectly with the seasoning of the tofu!

For a grain, quinoa is my favorite of all time. It rounds out this meal with added fiber and protein.

But you can pair it with whatever you like. Even making a blackened tofu sandwich with vegan mayo, lettuce, and tomato sounds pretty good. :)

side by side photos showing the process of making cutting and marinating tofu.

How To Make Blackened Tofu

  • Start by slicing the tofu into 4 large slabs.
  • Place the tofu slabs in a flat bottom dish with tamari, and let marinate while your making the seasoning blend.
top down view of ingredients used to make blackened tofu
  • In a flat bottom bowl, add paprika, cornstarch, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and mineral salt.
  • Mix the spices and herbs.
  • Press the tofu into the mix, coating it well on all sides.
  • Cook in a flat bottom skillet until blackened and crispy on each side, as shown below.
side by side photos showing the process of making blackened tofu.

What Is The Best Tofu For This Recipe?

My favorite tofu for this blackened tofu recipe is super firm high-protein tofu. It’s solid, making the texture firmer and ‘meaty’. Another plus is that it is so solid it doesn’t need to be pressed. Just open the package and cut it into slabs. After trying firm, extra firm, and high-protein tofu (if available in your area), the latter wins hands down and makes a world of difference!

Why Is Cornstarch In The Seasoning?

Adding cornstarch to the seasoning mix keeps the spices from clumping. It also helps the mixture stick to the tofu, creating a crust while cooking. If you don’t have it on hand, no worries – you’ll be fine without it. I’ve made this several times without cornstarch with no issues.

What To Serve With Blackened Tofu?

This cajun-inspired blackened tofu is pretty versatile and can be served with a variety of sides, making it a complete & satisfying meal. Here are a few of my favorite serving suggestions:

top down view of a black bowl with blackened tofu, sauteed kale and quinoa.

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5 from 7 reviews

Blackened Tofu with savory sauteed kale and quinoa makes a quick & easy weeknight or weekend meal!


Units Scale


  • 1 cup dried quinoa (I used tri-color from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt, to taste

Blackened Tofu

  • 1 block (14-16 oz) organic tofu, super firm (pref) or extra firm
  • 2 tablespoons tamari, coconut amino’s or light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Spice Blend

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, optional
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sauteed Kale

  • chopped kale, I used 10oz organic package from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water or veg broth
  • salt, to taste



  • Rinse your quinoa under cool running water to remove dust (if you forego this step your quinoa may have a bitter taste).
  • In medium pot add quinoa, garlic powder pinch of salt and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 min.
  • Once done, uncover, stir and let set for 10 minutes to cool and soak up any excess water.
  • Fluff before serving. It will be a perfect quinoa, fluffy and sprouted.

Tofu prep:

  • Open and drain tofu.
  • Slice tofu into 4 large slabs, or whatever size you prefer.
  • Press tofu between paper towels or kitchen cloth to remove excess moisture.
  • In a shallow dish place tofu and tamari and let set while mixing the blackening seasoning, turn after a few minutes to let the other side soak.

Blackened Seasoning:

  • In a flat bottomed medium size bowl, combine all spice blend ingredients and mix until blended. This is fairly spicy so you may consider using less black pepper and/or cayenne.
  • Place tofu pieces in spice blend, press gently to get a good coating, turn and repeat on all sides.

Cook tofu:

  • In saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, add coated tofu and cook 5 minutes on each side.

Sauteed Kale:

  • In large wok or saute pan heat oil over medium heat, add kale and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Sprinkle nutritional yeast and garlic powder over top, turning and moving the kale around to get all the spices mixed well throughout the kale.
  • Continue stir frying for another four to 5 minutes, or until bright green and just wilted. You may leave a cover on for a minute here and there in between stir frying to help soften the kale. When kale turns bright green it’s about ready to be removed from heat. Test a piece and see if it’s too your liking, if not saute a little longer. Some may like it crisp and some may like it softer.

Serves 4

For a change, the blackened tofu would also be great with classic sides like this Vegan Macaroni Salad, Vegan Potato Salad or Vegan Cornbread.

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, in a covered container.


Cornstarch is optional. It helps to keep the spices from clumping, and also works to help build up a crust on the surface of the tofu. But I’ve made this several times without it with great results.

Nutrition information is calculated using 1 tablespoon oil.

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  1. Delicious & easy. I baked the tofu at 400 for 20 minutes instead of on the stove, turning once.

  2. This is a winner. Doubled the recipe. Sauteed some red peppers and mushrooms before putting baby kale in the wok. Added a little water. The blackened tofu came out great, and went well with white quinoa that was made in the rice cooker. A little tricky to get the kale and tofu ready at the same time, but it worked! (I pressed firm tofu wrapped in paper towels for about 20-30 minutes, and it was a great consistency!)

  3. We lived near New Orleans for a decade, so I’m a snob when it comes to this cuisine.
    The recipe: This. Was. Amazing. And so easy. I think that we found a new favorite way to eat tofu. The sides were great too. Cooked up your vegan cornbread too. Another excellent recipe.
    Thank you!

  4. Colleen Shannon says:

    This was the first recipe I made of yours and I LOVED it! I served it on a rice and lentil blend. 3/4 cup cooked brown rice to 1/4 cup canned lentils instead of quinoa. I also choose to use some cooked, plain, chopped, broccoli florets (frozen, thawed, and water squeezed out) instead of the kale. Then I topped it off with the blackened tofu which I had cut into 6 slabs and then after cooking it, I chopped it into smaller cube size pieces. That way I could enjoy the lovely Cajun favor over everything. I reduced the thyme down to 1/2 tsp because I’m not a huge fan of that herb.

    You’re right that the blackened tofu does have quite a kick to it but once it’s added to the rice and broccoli it had just the right amount of heat.

    Dieters can delay the rate at which sugars in the circulation are absorbed by eating lentils with rice.

  5. Delicious and worked great. Will never cook quinoa differently!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! Works just as well with non-organic tofu!

  7. Made it all tonight, delicious! We think the blackened tofu would also make a great taco filling. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! My husband even liked it and he never likes tofu.

  9. Katherine Garcia says:

    Did this tonight and it was delicious! Thank you!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Wonderful! Thank you so much for stopping to share your thoughts. :)

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