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Sesame seared tofu strips on a bed of spinach topped with sesame seeds and seaweed strips presented on a long gray serving plate with black chopsticks on the side.

Crispy Sesame Seared Tofu Strips

These gluten-free Crispy Sesame Seared Tofu Strips are so full of flavor from the easy, sweet and spicy sauce to the crispy exterior. You can't eat just one!

  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 1x


Units Scale

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (red chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (for thickening the sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  • 2 green onions, small sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Nori strips


  1. Drain the tofu blocks and tightly wrap with paper towels or a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Place on a cutting board and slice the tofu into ¾-inch thick strips.
  2. Place the cornstarch into a shallow dish (like a pie pan) Dredge the tofu strips into the cornstarch on all sides. Set aside on a plate.

Prepare the sauce: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime zest, sambal oelek, honey, ginger, and garlic. In a small prep bowl, whisk together the 1 tablespoon cornstarch and warm water until thoroughly combined with no lumps.

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with the canola oil, brush or tilt the pan to coat evenly. Add the tofu strips to the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until tofu is nicely golden brown and crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and place on paper towels to blot the oil.
  2. Keeping the pan on low to medium heat, add the sauce and cornstarch mixture to the pan. Stir until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tofu strips back into the pan and thoroughly coat with the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, tossing briefly.
  3. Serve the tofu over a bed of spinach or other greens and garnish with the green onions, more sprinkles of sesame seeds, and nori strips.


  • This dish can be served as an appetizer for 4-5 people, or an entrée for 3-4 people. You can substitute the tofu for tempeh.
  • Make sure to use extra firm tofu for this recipe so the tofu doesn't fall apart. They will crisp up nicely with the cornstarch coating (low fat too!). You can purchase extra firm tofu at just about any grocery store. I get the sprouted tofu at Trader Joe's because I like the consistency of their tofu. And it's always in stock!
  • Using a heavy cast iron skillet for this recipe is ideal. It helps with the browning and heat distribution (unless you have a stove top with uneven heat). I like to use my cast iron as much as possible!
  • Author: Asian Caucasian
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian Fusion
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 480
  • Sugar: 11.2 g
  • Sodium: 423.4 mg
  • Fat: 33.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.5 g
  • Protein: 17.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: tofu, tofu appetizer, seared tofu strips