Baked Coconut Tofu with Spiced Coconut Rice– Community Pick on Food 52

coconut tofuLoyal readers of Spiceboxtravels might remember this recipe, originally posted a few years ago. I’m reposting today because I’m thrilled that it’s been chosen as a Community Pick on Food 52 in the recent “Your Best Recipe with Coconut” contest.  This is a delicious, light, vegan meal and also a good way to use up the coconut you might have used for last week’s Herbed Rice Salad.  The kids in the story below (my daughter and her friend Caycie) are now turning 11– how time flies!  I got as much of a thrill remembering the sweet age of eight as I did for having my recipe featured on Food 52.  Also, my cooking students at The Doctor’s Spicebox and patients will note the everpresent kale salad in the photo :).  Enjoy!

This meal was inspired by an 8 year old vegan. My daughter’s friend, Caycie, is the sweetest little girl, with a face like a porcelain doll, and has been a vegan as long as she remembers. There’s only one problem: she doesn’t like most vegetables! Also, she doesn’t like her food to touch other food. When I sat next to her on a field trip to Chinatown, I watched her carefully put rice on her plate, with a few peas several inches away and a carrot slice or two also set apart. I thought, what does she eat? The answer came many months later, when my daughter came home asking for coconut tofu with coconut rice. Caycie had given her a few bites of her lunch, and she wanted me to make it for dinner. I asked her how it tasted– was the tofu stewed in a coconut milk curry? No. Unsure of the recipe, my daughter said, “Let’s look it up on Google images.” (Kids these days!) We did, and chose the recipe which most resembled Caycie’s lunch. I’ve paired it with brown rice steamed with coconut milk and aromatic spices. This is a delicious and satisfying vegan meal, served with a salad on the side. One day, I’ll get Caycie to eat the salad, too.

The tofu recipe is adapted from Living Beyond the Box’s Oven-Baked Coconut Tofu Bites

Spiced Coconut Rice


2 cups brown rice

1 ½ c coconut milk

1 ½ c water

pinch salt

2 bay leaves

3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1 cinnamon stick


Combine all ingredients in the pot of a rice cooker and cook according to the rice cooker’s instructions. You can also make this on the stove by bringing all ingredients to a boil and then simmering, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove spices before serving.

Baked Coconut Tofu


1 lb organic tofu

1 ½ Tbsp Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 Tbsp shredded coconut


1. Drain tofu and press dry with paper towels.

2. Cut tofu into 1” cubes.

3. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic powder and ground pepper in a Ziploc bag.

4. Gently place tofu cubes in the Ziploc bag, seal and shake to coat; marinate for at least 15 minutes,.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Spread coconut on a plate and dredge tofu cubes until evenly coated with coconut. Place tofu cubes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top. (Note: the leftover marinade makes an excellent dressing for salad greens, shredded kale or sliced cucumbers to serve as a side.)

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown . Serve with spiced coconut rice and sliced cucumbers or a side salad.

In case you’re curious, I am on Food 52 as “Beautiful, Memorable Food.”  I haven’t been very active there recently, but I love it as a source of community-sourced amazingly creative recipes.  Please visit my recipe collection there if you’re interested!  And let me know if you’re also on Food 52!

And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to cook with me, please visit (and “Like”) The Doctors Spicebox.  

To your health!


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