tofu and shredded sprouts

Seared Tofu with Shredded Sprouts

Caramelized tofu tossed on top of an awesome shredded sprout and rice stir fry. Healthy and really tasty.


Seared Tofu with Shredded Sprouts

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You know how sometimes when people don’t get along you just need to shove them in a room together, lock the door, and not let them out until they are Besties?

What? You’ve never done that?

Well, you should try it. It works.

So I figured I’d try a similar approach with two of the most feared and disliked ingredients out there: Tofu and Brussel Sprouts. I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I smashed them together they would get along and make friends and taste delicious.

Seared Tofu with Sprouts

Serves 4
Prep Time:
Total Time:
tofu and shredded sprouts
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Caramelized tofu tossed on top of an awesome shredded sprout and rice stir fry. Healthy and really tasty.

Adapted from a 101 Cookbooks recipe.


1 pound extra firm tofu
1/2 Cup brown rice
2/3-1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons cilantro
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Optional toppings: More soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, chopped scallions, peanuts.


1) Press tofu block between a few paper towels.  Put a cutting board on top with something heavy to press out liquid.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

2) Chop tofu into strips and marinate in a few tablespoons of soy sauce.

3) Prep all other ingredients.  Cook rice, roughly chop brussel sprouts, and chop cilantro, garlic, etc.

4) Add a few Tablespoons of vegetable oil to a hot pan (a wok or nonstick pan works best).  Add tofu in a single layer and let cook for a few minutes on high heat until the tofu starts to brown.

5) Turn tofu and brown on the second side.

6) After cooking for a few minutes on each side, add brown sugar and toss to coat tofu in sugar.  Cook for a few minutes until tofu caramelizes.

7) Remove tofu and sprinkle with cilantro.

8) Add sprouts to hot pan (don’t wash it) and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

9) Add garlic and rice and if pan is really try, a bit more oil.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until sprouts are tender and some will be browned.

10) Serve tofu over sprouts with toppings of choice.

Prepping the Tofu

Anytime I’m searing tofu, I always press it first to get out extra water. It may not look like it, but even extra firm tofu has a lot of water in it. To press out some of the water, just set the tofu block on some paper towels, add a few paper towels on top, and set a cutting board on top with a bit of weight.

After 10 minutes a lot of water will be pressed out and the paper towels will be soaking wet.

Next, to prep the tofu for cooking, cut it into strips and toss it with a few Tablespoons of soy sauce.

tofu marinating
A light soy sauce bath.

The Feared Sprouts

I’m not sure why people don’t like brussel sprouts. I think they are one of the most delicious veggies out there. They have great colors and flavors and can work in a number of different dishes.

What’s not to love?

The most feared of vegetables.

To “shred” these guys, I washed them and chopped off the stem end. Then I just roughly chopped them.

Because the sprouts kind of fall apart it, results in different textures which is nice I think.

Roughly chopped = shredded.

At your convenience for this dish, you’ll also want to boil some brown rice. I literally just boiled mine in some salted water and drained it when it was cooked, which was after about 30 minutes.

You could use any kind of rice you have on hand (leftover rice would work great) or just leave it out. I think it added a great texture to the dish though.

brown rice
Great texture.

Before starting to cook, make sure all your other ingredients are ready. I have these cool little bowls which work great for prep ingredients. Chopped cilantro, garlic, brown sugar, oil. Check.

tofu fixings

Searing the Tofu

In a large wok or non-stick pan, add a few tablespoon of oil and crank up the heat. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook for a few minutes until the tofu is nicely browned on one side.

Then flip all the pieces and cook for another few minutes.

Next, sprinkle in the browned sugar and toss the tofu. The brown sugar will lightly caramelize and create a bit of a crust on the tofu. Just keep an eye on this or the brown sugar might burn.


After a few minutes the brown sugar should be coating all the pieces and the tofu should be a nice golden brown color. At that time, remove it from the pan and sprinkle it with some cilantro.

tofu finished
Some great tofu.

Cooking the sprouts

There’s no need to wash the pan for this. Just add another Tablespoon of oil and add all the sprouts. It should sizzle and pop which is a good thing. The brussel sprouts will pick up a bit of the brown sugar in the pan that’s left.

Toss the sprouts after a few minutes. Some pieces might be cooked more than others, but that’s fine.

Next, add in your rice and the chopped garlic. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper.

sprouts and rice
A great mix!

Serve the tofu over the sprout mixture and top with any toppings you wish. I like a big dollop of chili garlic sauce because that’s how I roll.

finished dish
This really hit the spot for me.

I knew I would like this dish, but Betsy also really liked it which is my evidence that it was a success. She even called leftovers for lunch the next day to my disappointment.

So, if you don’t like sprouts and you don’t like tofu, maybe you’ll like them smashed together?

Ok. Probably not. But I did my best!

11 Responses to “Seared Tofu with Shredded Sprouts” Leave a comment

  1. Looks really good. My kind of recipe.

    When I see a fried rice dish, I think of adding vinegar… at least for a topping. And maybe also an egg.

  2. Awesome! Includes nothing but ingredients which I love! Oddly enough I never chopped brussel sprouts before. I've only ever sauteed or steamed them whole. Outside of the culinary box! I've got to begin thinking outside the culinary box. Or perhaps visit more regularly?

    Thanks Nick!

  3. I love brussel sprouts! I look forward to trying this dish! I also like the idea of adding an egg. Yum!

    Chucky should try sprouts roasted!

  4. Thank you for this! I've never really had much experience with either tofu OR sprouts, so this was new all around, but I tried it last night, and really enjoyed it! The only comment I got from the peanut gallery was that it was a little bland, but like you, garlic chili sauce helped a lot.

  5. I'm back to report that I have prepared this dish (the brussel sprout and rice part). It's 2-die-4! No, I take that back. I've got to live a little longer so that I can keep on eating the dish!

    It very well be my very favorite (new) way to prepare rice.

    Thanks Nick!

  6. Before I made this, hubbty said “brussel sprouts and tofu together? I don’t know.”
    After he ate it he said “That was really good” (If only I hadn’t burned a bit of the brown sugar on the tofu it would have been even better!)
    Some changs I made: I added a bit more brown rice than called for, a touch less garlic (3 large cloves), I had no fresh cilantro so I simply omitted that part, and I only used about 1/2 the amount of brown sugar, but then sprinkled a bit more onto the sprouts. Also needed to use some more oil once I got to the sprouts in the pan.
    Will try it again but I’m impressed!

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