The Lusty Vegan: Make This Meal Tonight!

By: Zoe Eisenberg, iEG sex/lifestyle

TGIF, for real. Not sure what to make tonight? How about this epic tofu steak with a side of citrus slaw? The pairing of these two dishes is perfection, so whether you’re cooking for yourself, bae, or a handful of friends, you can’t go wrong with this beauty.


Fillet de Soy with Blood Orange Napa Cabbage Slaw by Chef Ayinde Howell
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2 | Gluten free

This vegan recipe is inspired by Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. While touring with India Arie, some friends and I took a night off to have dinner at Nobu. Everyone was enjoying their sashimi and sushi, and I was pleasantly surprised that my tofu steak was perfection! I have always loved tofu steak, but never expected it to be so good at a non-vegan establishment. They put so much time and care into making it, and I was really impressed. This rendition is more of an impress-your-mate type of meal, complete with a butter sauce, pickled greens, and a fat tofu steak.


  • 2 1/4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 blood orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium wheat-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


    • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or safflower oil
    • 8 ounces firm tofu, frozen and defrosted, sliced into 2-inch squares, 1/2 inch thick
    • 1/2 medium onion, cut into rings
    • SAUCE
    • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
    • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
    • 1 tablespoon orange juice
    • 3 tablespoons red wine

1. Coleslaw: In a bowl, combine the cabbage, orange zest, and sugar. Mix well and set aside until the tofu is ready to serve. (Just before serving, add the orange juice and salt and mix well. This will preserve the crunch factor.)

2. Marinade: In a shallow bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and set aside.

3. Tofu: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and pan-sear it on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Be careful not to let it burn. Add the onion rings to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the marinade to the pan. Cover and braise over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the marinade evaporates. Remove from the heat.

5. Plating: While the tofu braises, start building the plate. Add the salt and orange juice to the slaw and mix well. Spoon approximately 4 ounces of coleslaw on each plate, just off-center. Once the tofu is ready, place the hot tofu steaks in the center of each plate. Top with the onions and, using the same pan, start your butter sauce.

6. Sauce: Using the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter over high heat. Add the chives, lower the heat to medium-high and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds. Add dash of salt and pepper.

7. Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the pan, along with the orange juice. Stir until the mixture begins to simmer rapidly. Add the red wine. As the alcohol burns off quickly, you may see a small flame. It will go away very fast. Don’t panic—it’s called a flambé. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Pour the sauce over the plated tofu steaks and serve immediately.

(From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

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About Zoe Eisenberg

Zoe Eisenberg is a writer, editor, and published author.
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