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Vegan Souvlaki


  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 24 tofu souvlaki cubes 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Marinated and grilled or baked, this Vegan Souvlaki made out of tofu or your favorite meat alternative makes for a great main dish.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Tofu

  • 16-ounce package of super firm tofu (see note 1)
  • 3 cups vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth (see note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons souvlaki seasoning (or Greek seasoning)
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Juice of a small to medium-sized lemon, about 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (see note 3)
  • 2 bay leaves

Sandwich (Your choice of)

  • Pita bread, warmed
  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Seedless or Persian cucumber, sliced
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • Fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Note if you’re grilling: If you’re using wooden skewers, you’ll need to soak them in water for 30 minutes before grilling with them. I prefer to use flat stainless steel skewers because they’re more convenient and they’re easier to handle with my grilling tongs.
  2. Note about tofu: If your tofu comes packed in a tub of water, drain the water, blot excess water off the tofu, and I highly recommend pressing the tofu for 30-60 minutes. You can press tofu easily with a tofu press or between two cutting boards or plates and with a heavy weight on top such as a cast iron skillet, kettlebell, or heavy books. This will enable the tofu to better absorb the marinade and be much more flavorful.
  3. Cube your tofu: If you are grilling (and skewering) the tofu, I highly recommend your cubes be around an inch or more. I got about 24 1-inch cubes out of my block of super firm tofu.
  4. Mix together the marinade ingredients: vegan chicken broth (or vegetable broth, plus I recommend a teaspoon of poultry seasoning if going that route), souvlaki seasoning blend, sliced garlic, lemon juice, and bay leaves.
  5. Marinate the tofu: To a just-big-enough container, add the tofu and pour the marinade on top. Stir or shuffle the tofu so that it’s covered by the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two, up to 24 hours in advance. I usually marinate my tofu souvlaki for about 12 hours and get a very flavorful result. It will still be tasty if you’re in a hurry and only marinate for an hour or two though.
  6. Drain the tofu after marinating (save that marinade! We’ll baste the cooked tofu with it, and then see my notes section below for how to use the leftover marinade).
  7. Prep the tofu: If grilling, place them on skewers (soaked for 30 minutes if using wooden skewers) and brush (or spray) the tofu souvlaki with a neutral oil with high heat tolerance (I used grapeseed). If baking, place on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper lined baking tray (you can oil or not, your choice. I do not.).
  8. Grill method: Heat your grill to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius) (about medium high). Carefully place the skewered tofu on the grill plates and cook covered for 2-4 minutes, then use grilling tongs to carefully flip the tofu. I don’t do all 4 sides (you certainly could if you like), I just do front and back. If your grill has gotten hotter, you may want to lower the heat. Close the lid again and cook for 2-4 more minutes. Remove from the grill and brush with some of the leftover marinade. Let cool a bit before removing from skewers and serving.
  9. Oven method: Bake the tofu on a lined baking tray at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius) for 20-25 minutes (or until desired doneness), flipping the tofu and rotating the tray halfway through. I highly recommend using a metal spatula (I like to use a metal cookie spatula because it’s small and convenient) to flip the tofu in case it’s sticking to the liner on your baking tray, which can happen if you’re not using oil especially. Brush with some of the leftover marinade.
  10. Air fryer method: Note that the air fryer achieves crispy food by drawing out the moisture. Your vegan souvlaki will be less moist and succulent, but instead will have a chewy texture. Still tasty; just letting you know. Air fry a single layer of tofu for 10-16 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius), shaking the basket vigorously halfway through. If you have a small capacity air fryer, you may need to do multiple batches. The reason for the single layer of tofu is that the air can circulate and cook the tofu evenly. Brush with some of the leftover marinade
  11. Pan fry method: Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a neutral oil with a high heat tolerance. Once the oil is heated you can add the tofu. Very carefully add the tofu to the pan. For a 12” skillet, I would cook 6-8 pieces at a time, depending on how big each piece is. If you have a much smaller skillet, you may only want to cook one at a time. It’s important not to crowd the pan, otherwise the tofu may cook unevenly. Cook each piece for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Flip very carefully. Place each fully cooked tofu on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Repeat with remaining tofu. Brush the cooked tofu with some of the leftover marinade.
  12. Assemble your vegan souvlaki: In a warmed pita, place a good dollop of vegan tzatziki sauce, 3-5 cubes of cooked tofu, sliced onions/tomatoes/cucumbers, a few sliced kalamata olives, a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley, and/or anything else you like. 
  13. Serve your vegan souvlaki immediately and enjoy! If serving a crowd, I recommend creating a buffet line of the warmed pita, cooked tofu, veggies, and vegan tzatziki.
  14. Store leftover tofu souvlaki in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Notes

  • Note 1: For this vegan souvlaki recipe, the best tofu is the kind that is sold in vacuum-sealed plastic, not a tub of water. If you can only find firm or extra firm tofu (that comes in water), you can still make this dish. You’ll want to drain the tub of tofu and press the block of tofu, using either a tofu press or two plates or cutting boards, paper towels, and a heavy weight (like books or a cast iron pan) for 20-30 minutes. Otherwise your tofu will have a hard time absorbing the souvlaki marinade and won’t be as flavorful.
  • Note 2: We won’t be using all 3 cups; the reason the amount is so high is so all the tofu gets submerged. It depends on the volume of your container that you’re marinating the tofu souvlaki in. For vegan chicken broth, I love to use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base mixed with hot water. This is the best flavor (in my opinion), it’s economical, and it lasts forever in the fridge. Your other options are carton imitation chicken broth or vegetable broth. If you do use vegetable broth, I recommend adding a teaspoon of poultry seasoning for flavor.
  • Note 3: I highly recommend fresh squeezed lemon juice because the flavor is much better. If you must use bottled, the Volcano Bursts Organic Italian Lemon Juice (I’ve gotten it at Costco for a good deal) is much better than typical bottled lemon juice (and the only ingredient is lemon juice).
  • Note 4: I provide the other cooking methods so you can enjoy tofu souvlaki all year round. Personally, my favorite is the oven method. Though my husband is adamant he will grill all winter!
  • Note 5: Don’t discard the leftover marinade! I take my leftover vegan souvlaki marinade (I discard the bay leaves) and I pour it into the blender using a sieve or strainer (for a reason, hang on). Set the garlic and herbs in the sieve aside. To the marinade in the blender, add either raw cashews, raw sunflower seeds, or white beans (if you’re trying to lower your fat intake like me). Blend until smooth and somewhat thickened. It doesn’t need to be super thick. Now you can briefly blend in the garlic and herbs. I do this so the dressing doesn’t turn a murky color from the seasoning. But if you don’t care just blend it all together. This turns into an amazing Greek salad dressing that I use on my salads and grain bowls all week.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American, Greek

Keywords: Vegan Greek Recipes, Tofu Grilling