LUNCH

Sticky Garlic Vegan Salmon! • It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Tofu Salmon? Salmfu? Tomon? Tofu that is designed to look and taste like salmon but is definitely not fish? Whatever you want to call it is fine with me, but I can tell you that it’s what it tastes like that’s important. This sticky garlic vegan salmon is coated in a sweet, tangy, slightly spicy garlic sauce. Crispy on the outside, flaky tender on the inside, with a gorgeous taste of the sea. Served on a bed of fluffy steamed rice or on rice noodles, you aren’t going to believe how amazing this vegan salmon is!

This is vegan seafood at its finest! This tofish (tofu fish) looks like and tastes like salmon. How cool is that!? Sticky garlic vegan salmon is perfect served over a bed of rice or on rice noodles. This looks fancy but this recipe is fairly easy to make as well using ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. #itdoesnttastelikechicken #veganrecipe #veganseafood

This isn’t my first vegan salmon recipe. I posted this recipe for pan-seared vegan salmon fillets served with wedges of lemon a little while ago, and this recipe went mini viral! Not only does it look cool, but so many people were blown away by the taste and texture that this has become one of my most popular recipes!

So today, I wanted to show you another way of preparing and enjoying this vegan salmon. The tofu is prepared in the same way as in the first recipe, it is cut to be flaky, marinated in a mixture of seaweed, vegetable broth, beet, and other seasonings (trust me on this), and then it is pan-fried in a cornstarch coating for a crispy skin. But this time, instead of serving it with wedges of lemon, you whisk up a very simple sticky garlic sauce which is so delicious, that when I served this to my husband Adam, he said it was the best thing I’ve ever made!! (And that’s keeping in mind that I’ve written almost 700 recipes at this point).

This is vegan seafood at its finest! This tofish (tofu fish) looks like and tastes like salmon. How cool is that!? Sticky garlic vegan salmon is perfect served over a bed of rice or on rice noodles. This looks fancy but this recipe is fairly easy to make as well using ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. #itdoesnttastelikechicken #veganrecipe #veganseafood

You can’t deny how deliciously flaky tender that looks! For the fishiest taste and to get the colour of the marinade to penetrate deep into the tofu, I recommend marinating the tofu for 1 to 2 nights in the fridge. I love this too because it makes it super quick to finish preparing. Just whisk up the sauce, fry the tofu, cook the sauce and add the tofu back in (all of this takes 15 minutes or less), and then serve over rice. The perfect easy and very special dinner. Vegan seafood lovers unite! This one is for you.

How to make Sticky Garlic Vegan Salmon:

Slice the tofu thinly part way through to make a flakey fish texture.

Prepare the tofu by draining it, and then pressing it for 15 to 30 minutes. I love using my Tofuture tofu press, but you can also follow these instructions for a DIY tofu pressing method. Pressing the tofu squeezes excess water out so that the tofu can suck up more of the marinade and become more flavourful.

Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, and then in half lengthwise again making 4 long skinny strips of tofu. Take one piece of tofu and place a chopstick on either side of the tofu to stop you from cutting all the way through, so the slices remain intact. Slice the tofu partway through repeatedly about ⅛” apart to give the tofu a flaky texture. Repeat with the other tofu slices. Be careful handling them as they will be fragile. Tip: I like to cut the slices on a slight angle to be more similar to how fish flakes.

Blend up the marinade ingredients.

Add all of the marinade ingredients together in a blender. Blend until smooth as possible. Place the tofu in a resealable bag or dish and cover it with the marinade. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. For best results, I like to let it marinate for 1 – 2 days in the fridge.

Whisk up the sticky garlic sauce.

Add all of the sticky garlic sauce ingredients to a small bowl or large measuring cup and mix well. Set aside.

Add a piece of nori to the tofu, then dredge the tofu in cornstarch.

Put the cornstarch into a wide bowl or baking dish. If using the nori, cut the nori into strips roughly the same size as the tofu pieces. Gently remove a tofu piece from the marinade (be careful as it will be fragile). Dunk a strip of the nori into the marinade, then stick it to the back of the tofu. (Covering the nori in the marinade will help it stick to the tofu). Dredge the tofu with the nori attached in the cornstarch, covering all sides of the tofu. Repeat with all the tofu pieces.

Fry the tofu in oil on all sides.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the cornstarch covered tofu. Fry 2 – 4 minutes per side until lightly golden all over. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.

Cook the sticky garlic sauce then return the tofu to the pan. Serve hot!

Add the sticky garlic sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the vegan salmon pieces and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

This is vegan seafood at its finest! This tofish (tofu fish) looks like and tastes like salmon. How cool is that!? Sticky garlic vegan salmon is perfect served over a bed of rice or on rice noodles. This looks fancy but this recipe is fairly easy to make as well using ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. #itdoesnttastelikechicken #veganrecipe #veganseafood

Note: the vegan salmon will have a crispy skin, but the longer it sits in the sauce the softer it will get, so make sure to serve this dish right away for the best crispy texture.

This is vegan seafood at its finest! This tofish (tofu fish) looks like and tastes like salmon. How cool is that!? Sticky garlic vegan salmon is perfect served over a bed of rice or on rice noodles. This looks fancy but this recipe is fairly easy to make as well using ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. #itdoesnttastelikechicken #veganrecipe #veganseafood

This time I served the sticky garlic vegan salmon on a bed of rice, but any kind of rice noodle, or udon noodles would also be lovely. If you want to add some veggies, steamed broccoli or sauteed spinach or kale would be a lovely side.

Bon appetegan!

Sam Turnbull.

Print Recipe

Sticky Garlic Vegan Salmon

This is vegan seafood at its finest! This tofish (tofu fish) looks like and tastes like salmon. How cool is that!? Sticky garlic vegan salmon is perfect served over a bed of rice or on rice noodles. This looks fancy but this recipe is fairly easy to make as well using ingredients you can find at your local grocery store.

Prep Time1 hr

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time1 hr 15 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Japanese

Servings: 4

Calories: 343kcal

Ingredients

For the tofu:

  • 1 block 350g/ 12.3oz extra-firm tofu drained, pressed, and sliced (see step 1)

For the sticky garlic sauce:

  • ¼ cup agave or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional for spice)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

To cook the vegan salmon:

  • 1 sheet nori (to make a skin, optional)
  • ½ cup cornstarch more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons light oil for frying, (plus more if needed)
  • chopped fresh cilantro and sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • cooked rice or noodles for serving (optional)

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Instructions

To prep the tofu:

  • Prepare the tofu by draining it, and then pressing it for 15 to 30 minutes. I love using my Tofuture tofu press, but you can also follow these instructions for a DIY tofu pressing method. Pressing the tofu squeezes excess water out so that the tofu can suck up more of the marinade and become more flavourful.
  • Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, and then in half lengthwise again making 4 long skinny strips of tofu. Take one piece of tofu and place a chopstick on either side of the tofu to stop you from cutting all the way through, so the slices remain intact. Slice the tofu partway through repeatedly about ⅛” apart to give the tofu a flaky texture. Repeat with the other tofu slices. Be careful handling them as they will be fragile. Tip: I like to cut the slices on a slight angle to be more similar to how fish flakes.

For the marinade:

  • Add all of the marinade ingredients together in a blender. Blend until smooth as possible. Place the tofu in a resealable bag or dish and cover it with the marinade. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge. For best results, I like to let it marinate for 1 – 2 days in the fridge.

For the sticky garlic sauce:

To cook the vegan salmon:

  • Put the cornstarch into a wide bowl or baking dish. If using the nori, cut the nori into strips roughly the same size as the tofu pieces. Gently remove a tofu piece from the marinade (be careful as it will be fragile). Dunk a strip of the nori into the marinade, then stick it to the back of the tofu. (Covering the nori in the marinade will help it stick to the tofu). Dredge the tofu with the nori attached in the cornstarch, covering all sides of the tofu. Repeat with all the tofu pieces.

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the cornstarch covered tofu. Fry 2 – 4 minutes per side until lightly golden all over. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.

  • Carefully use paper towel to wipe away access oil from the pan or use a new pan. Add the sticky garlic sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the vegan salmon pieces and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles. Note: the vegan salmon will have a crispy skin, but the longer it sits in the sauce the softer it will get, so make sure to serve this dish right away for the best crispy texture.

Notes

Baking: I love the pan-fried version of this recipe as it makes for beautiful crispy skin, but if you prefer to bake it, follow these steps. Omit the cornstarch dredge, and then bake the vegan salmon in a baking dish at 400F (200C) for about 10 minutes until heated through. Prepare the sauce as written in a pan and add the vegan salmon.
Air-fryer: I love the pan-fried version of this recipe as it makes for beautiful crispy skin, but if you prefer to bake it, follow these steps. Omit the cornstarch dredge, and then air-fry the vegan salmon in a preheated air-fryer at 360F (182C) for about 8 minutes until heated through. Prepare the sauce as written in a pan and add the vegan salmon.
Oil-free: to make this recipe oil-free, skip the pan-frying and follow either the baking or air-fryer instructions above.
Nori: this is the same seaweed that is used to make sushi rolls. It should be easy to find in your local grocery store, or you can order it online. Nori will give the vegan salmon a fishy flavour, so if you prefer less fish flavour, then reduce or omit it in the marinade. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving with sauce but without rice or noodles (recipe makes 4 servings) | Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1988mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 3mg




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