My favorite holiday, Mardi Gras, is coming next week! This time of year, I crave all of my New Orleans favorites, which is basically lots and lots of southern sides with a really solid protein. A million year ago, before I went gluten-free, my favorite thing to make was an old school gluten rib that was made with sauted onion, spices, peanut butter and BBQ sauce. A few years ago, I adapted those flavors into a baked tofu dish, and this year I adapted that tofu dish into an Air Fryer recipe.
I’m sharing both versions today so everyone can enjoy. If you’re like me and need/want a BBQ sauce that’s refined sugar-free, there’s a great recipe in the DIY Vegan cookbook that’s sweetened with medjool dates and maple syrup (these flavors go so well with the peanut butter sauce). Organicville also sells one that’s sweetened with agave syrup.
PB-BBQ Tofu! Air Fried or Oven Baked.
Here ya go! One of my favorite tofu recipes to eat during Carnival season, or whenever you're craving a big ol' southern plate.
I've included methods below for oven baking as well as air frying. Enjoy!
Peanut Butter BBQ Topping
In a small baking dish, mix together the water, tamari, vinegar, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, and liquid smoke to make a marinade. Place the tofu in a single layer in the marinade, so each slice is mostly submerged. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or cover and refrigerate up to a few days.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the tofu (reserve the marinade) and 4 cloves of garlic (smash them with a glass so the skins split) evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
While the tofu bakes, prepare the peanut butter sauce. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade and garam masala. Stir well--the peanut butter will start to break down, and then will emulsify into a smooth, thick sauce. After the tofu has baked for 15 minutes, remove the tofu to a plate and peel the softened garlic. Mash the garlic with a knife or spoon and then stir it into the peanut butter sauce.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce onto the parchment in a small area about 7"X 7". Flip each tofu over (the side that was on the bottom of the pan while they baked should now be on top) and place onto the sauce. Repeat with the remaining slices, placing them together with no spaces around them, so they touch in two rows of four.
Spread the peanut sauce evenly over the top of each slice of tofu and top with the remaining BBQ sauce. Use a spoon or offset spatula to make sure the BBQ completely covers the peanut sauce and is spread evenly over each slice (and over the side edges, too).
Place a few slices of the citrus evenly over the top of the tofu, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes more, until bubbly and brown. Serve with sides like mac, red beans, cornbread and greens!
Air Fryer Instructions
Put the water, tamari, vinegar, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, and liquid smoke to make into a deep, square container, and stir thoroughly to combine. Add the tofu and arrange so each slice is thoroughly submerged. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or cover and refrigerate up to a few days.
Arrange the tofu (reserve the marinade) in an even, flat, single layer in the fryer drawer; depending on the capacity of your fryer and the shape of your tofu, you might have to cook the tofu in batches. Set the air fryer to 400ºF / 205ºC, and cook for 10 minutes.
While the tofu air fries, prepare the peanut butter sauce. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade, garam masala and 1 clove of the garlic (mince or press it it first). Stir well--the peanut butter will start to break down, and then will emulsify into a smooth, thick sauce.
Using a fork, carefully remove the tofu slice by slice from the fryer, and transfer each back to the marinade. Be sure that each piece gets thoroughly re-submerged and absorbs marinade.
Using a fork, return the tofu to the air fryer; make sure as each slice is placed, it's flipped over (each side that was previously on the bottom should now be facing up). This will ensure even cooking. Arrange them together so each slice is touching the other with no spaces around them, they should touch in two rows of four. Again, be sure the slices are in a flat, single layer.
Spread the peanut sauce evenly over the top of each slice of tofu and top with about a cup of the BBQ sauce. Use a spoon or offset spatula to make sure the BBQ completely covers the peanut sauce and is spread evenly over each slice (and over the side edges, too).
Place a slice of the citrus on top of each slice of tofu and push it down a little into the BBQ sauce, so the powerful air fryer fan won't blow it off. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Set the air fryer to 400ºF / 205ºC, and cook for 10 more minutes, checking periodically to make sure the tofu is not burning. Serve with sides like mac, red beans, cornbread and greens!
Oven Baked Peanut Butter BBQ with cornbread and New Orleans style Red Beans! Perfect for a vegan Mardi Gras Celebration!
This tofu is best served with all the sides! It goes particularly well with collards, mac ‘n’ cheese and New Orleans style red beans.
We hope you love this recipe! If you make any of our stuff, please share and tag us so we can see! #julieandkittee.
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xo Julie & Kittee