Ugly But Delicious Tofu ♥ Slow Cooker Recipe

Today's recipe: Tofu braised in a slow cooker in soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and other Asian-style flavors. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point for a snack, 3 points for a meal.

Regular readers know that I'm prone to exclaiming, "Isn't it pretty?" (See?!) No chance of that happening here, with these mud-brown cubes of tofu. Ugh, how UNappealing. I couldn't bear for them to ugly-up a beautiful green salad. I wanted to leave them in the refrigerator to develop fridge-fur, justifying a fast trip to the rubbish bin. And then --

These ugly-ugly cubes called to me. Closing my eyes, I nabbed one cube, then another straight from the tupperware. They tasted great! And that's how Ugly But Delicious Tofu become my between-meal, protein-packed pick-me-up all this week -- now that's an eye opener.

For portion control, I put aside three cubes measuring an ounce, otherwise I might have eaten the whole dish, all at once.

Note the Escali kitchen scale which I pooh-poohed as an extravagant non-necessity for years, but now love-love-love and pull out at least once a day. And see the On/Off button on the left? It also sets the weight to zero, a very useful feature on food scales for two reasons.

To subtract the weight of the container -- Turn the scale on. Place an empty container on the scale. Press the On/Off button to zero the weight. Now add the food, which will be weighed all on its own.
To accumulate ingredients, especially for baking -- Turn the scale on. Place a mixing bowl (or something similar) on the scale. Press the On/Off button to zero the weight. Add the first ingredient, say 50 ounces (or grams, very useful for baking with European metric-measured ingredients) of sugar. Press the On/Off button again. Add the second ingredient, say 200 grams of flour. And so on -- very easy!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 4 - 7 hours
Makes 16 ounces (I doubled the recipe for a large slow cooker)

1 pound firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (don't skip this)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

DRAIN THE TOFU Place a layer of paper towels on a large plate, then the tofu block on top. Cover with another layer of paper towels. Place a heavy weight on top. Let drain for an hour. Peel off the paper and cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.

SLOW COOKER Stir together remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Add the tofu and gently toss until coated on all sides. Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours or on High for 3 hours.

I notice just now that the recipe specifies mixing the tofu cubes with the soy mixture in a separate bowl first, then refrigerating for an hour. I accidentally skipped this step but do think that it would help the soy cubes to soak up the liquid more evenly. I would use a ziplock bag, however, to be able turn it to redistribute the liquid more evenly. What I did to encourage this was to stir the cubes every so often while they were in the slow cooker, so that's an option too.

~ Slow Cooker Onion Soup ~
~ Creamy Slow Cooker Beans (no soaking) from Kitchen Parade ~

~ more slow cooker recipes from Kitchen Parade ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
~ more low-carb recipes ~

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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yep, that's some ugly tofu all right!

    I love digital kitchen scales. I started using them when I got into soapmaking 10 years ago and will never ever be without one in my kitchen if I can help it.

  2. This recipe is very much like one I make in my oven. I use 1/4 cup apple cider instead of the maple syrup, but otherwise my ingredients are similar. I just bake the tofu cubes in a pyrex dish until the marinade evaporates and the cubes carmelize and firm up around the edges. The insides stay springy and moist.

  3. Liz ~ I feel the same way about my scale, I even take it along on vacation when I'm going to be doing lots of cooking/baking.

    Cathy ~ That's a great description of the texture, thanks for the excellent variation.

  4. Sounds very good to me!

    Also thanks for the description of how to reset scale to zero. I need to know that!

  5. I just got that scale for Xmas and it's worth every penny. Such fun, too.

    As for the ugly tofu well, ain't nothing pretty about tofu to begin with (in my opinion) but it usually makes up for looks in taste. Can't wait to play with this.

  6. I have never seen tofu done in a slow cooker, very curious recipe. I love my scale. It stays on the counter all the time.

  7. Like Cathy, this recipe is very similar to an oven-baked tofu recipe I enjoy. I am anxious to try this crock pot version - I LOVE my crock pot. I also love tofu, ugly or not. Alana please keep experimenting with tofu! Your recipes are terrific!


  8. I could never see tofu as ugly! If anything, I just see it as cutely gross.
    But I have weird, affectionate feelings towards my favorite foods.

  9. Yes, ugly but intriguing! This sounds so interesting I think I have to try it. And yes, scales are a wonderful thing.

  10. I am still a newish vegetarian, and I have recently been longing for some great slow cooker recipes that are fun and different.

    I made the ugly tofu today, and it was wonderful!! I had half for lunch today, and I don't think the leftovers will last until dinner.


  11. Hi Heather - Oh that's so great, thanks for taking the time to let me know. Even looking at it, I was starting to lose the memory that it tasted good! Spread the word!

  12. I did exactly the same about-face when I got my digital scale. Aren't they great?! I particularly like the "go back to 0" button.

    You are right; that tofu looks pretty funky. But then, doesn't just about all tofu look funky in some way? ;-) But those flavourings you have added make it sound like it it tastes anything but funky. Brava, once again.


  13. I made it today and it turned out less ugly than in the photo- more like teriyaki chicken, although there *was* a slightly unpleasant greyishness.

    Anyway, it's delicious and simple. I forgot the maple syrup but it was fine without. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Just what I was looking for! Thanks so much.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna