Black Pepper Tofu/Tempeh – Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

My sister sent me a recipe for Black Pepper Tofu, and I tried making it for dinner this week. The recipe originally came from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. She also has a cooking blog called 101 Cookbooks. Not everything she makes is vegan, but she has a long list of vegan and vegetarian recipes in her archives. I’m looking forward to browsing through them and trying out some more of her recipes.

The original recipe calls for using Tempeh, but my sister and I used tofu instead. I think seitan would also be a nice substitute. It came out well and was even better the next day once all the flavors combined and soaked into the tofu overnight. Thanks to my sister for sending the recipe!

This meal isn’t going to win most photogenic (at least not the way I made it) but it was tasty!


3 Tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil (vegetable or sesame oil would also work)
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
15 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (I used a little less)
2 Tbsp water, plus more if needed
8 oz tofu, sliced pencil-thick, (or tempeh/seitan)
12 oz cauliflower, very finely chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash of rice wine vinegar – optional


  • In a large skillet over low heat, combine the coconut oil, shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Cook slowly, taking care not to brown the ingredients and stir occasionally, until the garlic cloves are soft throughout, about 15 minutes.
  • While the garlic is cooking, whisk together the shoyu, sugar and water in a small bowl.
  • Increase the temperature under the skillet to medium-high and add the tofu. Gently stir to get the tofu coated. Add the shoyu mixture and stir again to coat. Cook for a minute or two, then add the cauliflower. Stir and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Uncover, dial up the heat even more, and cook until the cauliflower and tofu starts to brown a bit. If you need to add a bit more water to the pan, carefully do so, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the black pepper. Taste, add more pepper if you like, and serve immediately.
  • I made lomein noodles and spooned the tofu on top. Then I drizzled rice vinegar and soy sauce on top to soak down into the noodles. The rice vinegar was my own addition, but I like the sour balance to the sweet sauce. You could also serve this with rice or on it’s own.

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