Craving something savory and indulgent for yourself, or to make on your next date night? Look no further! This creamy, dreamy Marry Me Tofu is sure to impress.
Tofu steaks are dredged pan-fried to perfection and simmered in a flavorful sun-dried tomato cream sauce. Serve it atop rice or pasta for a satisfying meal that is deceptively simple to make.
What is Marry Me Tofu?
You can thank TikTok for this one! Over the past month I’ve been seeing a lot of people make “Marry Me Chicken,” a dish featuring seared chicken breasts in a creamy sun-dried tomato and parmesan sauce. The joke is that the dish is so good that if you make it for someone, they might just propose!
I knew right away that I’d have to make my own vegan version! The dish could easily be veganized by replacing the chicken breasts with a plant-based chicken alternative, but I have been loving tofu so much lately that I figured I’d use that instead!
Tofu is generally way easier to find and more affordable than vegan chicken cutlets, and it also is the perfect blank canvas for all the delicious flavors going on in the sun-dried tomato cream sauce.
Ingredients for Marry Me Tofu
- Extra-firm tofu.
- Flour, salt & pepper. To season and dredge the tofu prior to pan-frying.
- Olive oil and vegan butter. I like this combination for pan-frying the tofu. Feel free to use just one or the other, but I love the flavor of both.
- Red pepper flakes. Optional, to add some heat.
- Onion and garlic. To make the cream sauce extra savory and flavorful
- Chicken-style vegetable broth. This will add an extra savory dimension to the sauce. You can purchase vegan chicken-style bouillon cubes or paste. Regular veggie broth can be used in a pinch.
- Cashew cream or vegan heavy cream alternative. For a luscious, creamy sauce. Simply blend soaked raw cashews with water in a high-powered blender until velvety smooth.
- Vegan parmesan. My favorites are by Follow Your Heart or Violife. In a pinch, you can leave the parmesan out altogether and add extra salt. The sauce will still be delicious and creamy, but it won’t have as much of a distinct cheesy flavor.
- Dried thyme & oregano. Feel free to use fresh if you keep those in stock.
- Sun-dried tomatoes. Look for the kind that come packed in oil. If you can’t find those, you can rehydrate dried sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water.
- Fresh basil. A garnish to add freshness.
How to Make Marry Me Tofu
Prepare the Tofu
- Drain and press the tofu ahead of time using your favorite method. Alternatively, quick-press the tofu by slicing it into steaks and pressing it folded between a clean, lint-free kitchen towel for about 15-20 minutes. This is a great time to prep the other ingredients!
- Season the sliced tofu with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge with flour.
- Pan-fry the dredged tofu in a combination of olive oil and vegan butter until golden brown on both sides. Make sure to use a large enough skillet, and work in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Set the browned tofu aside.
Make the Creamy Parmesan Sauce
- Sauté onion and garlic in the same pan. Deglaze with veggie broth (or a dry white wine) and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the cashew cream, vegan parmesan, oregano, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes and simmer to form a creamy, savory sauce. Season with salt and pepper to preference.
Put It All Together
- Add the cooked tofu back into the pan.
- Serve garnished with fresh basil. Pair with pasta or rice!
Marry Me Tofu FAQ
Can I make this without cashews?
Yes. For the homemade route, you can substitute raw sunflower seeds for the raw cashews and make your own sunflower cream. It doesn’t have quite as neutral a flavor as cashews, but it is very creamy and the flavor is relatively mild.
There are many plant-based heavy cream or half & half alternatives on the market, such as the Silk Dairy-Free Heavy Whipping Cream Alternative or the Country Crock Plant Cream. Personally I have never utilized either of these in a savory context, so I can’t vouch for the results.
Finally, you can use a cup of full-fat coconut milk if you don’t mind the coconut flavor.
Can I make this with an alternative protein?
You can use any of your favorite plant-based proteins in this recipe. There are a few vegan chicken substitutes on the market, such as the ones by Daring Foods and Gardein. Gardein offers a chick’n scalloppini which would work great in this recipe, although it can sometimes be hard to find. A homemade chicken-style seitan filet would be a great option too.
What’s the best vegan parmesan?
My personal go-tos are the Follow Your Heart Vegan Parmesan Shreds or the Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge. However, I know that Daiya and Trader Joe’s also make vegan parmesan shreds, though I haven’t tried either of them yet.
Storage & Reheating
Marry Me Tofu keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container. The sauce tends to thicken when chilled, so you may wish to add a splash of water when reheating it to thin it back out to your preferred consistency.
This dish can also be kept in the freezer for a month. Freezing and defrosting will alter the texture of the tofu somewhat, making it a bit spongier. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before reheating, ideally, or simply microwave it. As mentioned above, the sauce will thicken, so you may wish to thin it back out with a splash of water.
More Tofu Recipes
- Spicy Gochujang Tofu (Korean Inspired)
- Better Than Chipotle Sofritas (Copycat Recipe)
- Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites
Marry Me Tofu
- 1 (14 oz) block extra-firm tofu drained and pressed
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 small yellow onion (or 2 shallots) finely diced
- 2-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup chicken-style vegetable broth
- 1 cup cashew cream (recipe follows) or vegan heavy cream alternative
- 1/3 cup grated vegan parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked 4+ hours
- 2/3 cup water
Prepare the Tofu
- Drain the tofu. You can press the tofu ahead of time using your own favorite method, and then slice into 6 "steaks," each roughly 1/2" thick. OR, follow the next step to quick-press.
- To quick-press the tofu: Slice into 6 "steaks," each roughly 1/2" thick. Arrange on one side of a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Fold the other half of the towel over the top and weigh down gently with something flat (like a cutting board or baking sheet). Press for 15-20 minutes.
- Generously salt and pepper the pressed tofu steaks on both sides. Add flour to a plate or shallow dish. Dredge the pressed tofu slices in the flour.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and vegan butter. Swirl the pan to evenly coat with the oil.
- Add the dredged tofu slices in one layer (work in batches if needed). The tofu should sizzle immediately when added to the pan; otherwise, the oil isn't hot enough. Pan-fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Once the tofu is golden brown on both sides, remove it to a plate.
Prepare the Sauce
- Add onion, garlic, and optional red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
- Deglaze the pan with the veggie broth. (Or you can deglaze with a splash of dry white wine; then add the veggie broth after about 1 minute.) Scrape up any flour or browned bits from the bottom of the pan with your spoon.
- Add the cashew cream, vegan parmesan, oregano, thyme, sun-dried tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low once the mixture reaches a simmer, and stir until the parmesan is melted. If the sauce thickens more than you like, simply add in a splash of water or veggie broth to thin it back out to your preferred consistency.
- Give the sauce and a taste and season to preference with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. The amount of salt needed will vary depending on the sodium content of your veggie broth.
- Add the cooked tofu back into the pan and allow it to simmer for another minute or two to reheat the tofu.
- Serve garnished with fresh basil. Pair with pasta or rice for a satisfying meal.