I work from home, so most days I make myself a large salad or heat up leftovers for lunch. However, there are days when I don’t feel like making my own meal. I live around the corner from a Whole Foods, so I sometimes hit up the store’s prepared foods bars. A few months ago, I noticed za’atar tofu in the salad bar, so I piled it on top of my salad. I was hooked, and I found myself making excuses to go to Whole Foods around lunchtime, because “I might as well pick up some za’atar tofu while I’m here.” But then, just as mysteriously as it arrived, the za’atar tofu disappeared from the salad bar.I obsessed over the missing tofu for weeks. “This is ridiculous.” I finally told myself. “You’re a cook. Just make it yourself.” And so I did. It’s super easy to make, so I’m not sure why I procrastinated on creating my own recipe.
Za’atar is a Middle-Eastern spice blend made with dried thyme, oregano, or marjoram (or a mixture of all three), along with sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. The blend may vary, depending on which region it’s from. I first tried this tasty spice in the form of za’atar bread at a local Mediterranean restaurant, and I immediately fell in love. I hope to someday recreate that recipe here on the blog, too.
Serve this Za’atar Tofu along with Tahini Dressing as an appetizer or with vegan cheese and olives on a snack platter. It’s excellent with hummus on salads, as well as in wraps or sandwiches, too.
- 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon water or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons za’atar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Cut the tofu in cubes, about 1” each, and place in a shallow dish or bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, tamari, and water or stock. Marinate the tofu in the mixture for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Toss the tofu occasionally so all sides absorb the liquid. You can allow the tofu to marinate for several hours in the fridge, if you like.
- Preheat your oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the cornstarch, za’atar, and sea salt together in a shallow dish. Toss the tofu cubes in the mixture, making sure each piece is totally covered.
- Place the tofu on the baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, flipping the pieces every 10 minutes to insure that each side browns.
- Allow the tofu to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. The tofu will get denser and chewier after it cools.