Vegan Tofu Sashimi with Basil is a very unique dish. Drizzled with Asian flavors, it's quick and easy to prepare, and has a beautiful presentation for both elegant and casual entertaining.
While I usually have an aversion to treating tofu like something it's not (i.e. the infamous Tofurky), I do love this preparation in which the tofu is treated somewhat like raw fish and presented as Vegan Sashimi. Which is an oxymoron, I'm aware. 😉
Raw extra firm tofu sliced paper-thin, doused in warm, spicy Asian flavors is absolutely absolutely delicious.
Ingredients for This Vegan Sashimi Recipe
(Often I suggest brands I love and use — they are just suggestions, this is not a sponsored post.)
- extra firm tofu - The tofu has to be firm for this recipe so you can slice it easily.
- fresh basil leaves - Look for perky bunches and avoid any brown, bruised or yellow leaves.
- grapeseed oil
- sesame oil - I prefer toasted sesame oil because the flavor is a bit more intense.
- Tamari - Tamari is slightly thicker and richer than regular soy sauce, and it's usually gluten-free. You can use either.
- Mirin - Mirin is a sweet rice wine. I use this one.
- fresh garlic -Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which is an indication of old garlic. (Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.)
- fresh ginger root - Choose fresh ginger root that's firm and feels heavy for its size.
- green onions (scallions) - When selecting green onions, look for stalks with vibrant green tops without signs of wilting.
- Togarashi - Togarashi is a spicy assortment of dried chili peppers and other seasonings. It typically includes dried red chili pepper, dried orange peel, sesame seeds, dried ginger and seaweed, and can be found in any Japanese market and online here.
How to Make it
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
- Dry the tofu block as well as you can with paper towels.
- Lay two paper towels on a clean workspace and cut the tofu horizontally, into super thin slices, (About 1/16-inch thick), placing them in a single layer on one of the paper towels as you go.
- Once the entire block is cut, place the second towel on top and very gently press down.
- Arrange the tofu slices on 4 appetizer plates, with a small basil leaf between them.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to a small sauté pan and bring to a simmer for less than a minute. Drizzle some of it over each portion of the tofu and sprinkle with Togarashi.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- You can substitute the basil with other fresh herbs if you'd like, such as cilantro, or Shiso leaves.
- You can also serve the sauce on the side and the tofu slices can be dipped into it.
- The better job you do drying the tofu with paper towels, the more it will absorb the sauce.
Can you make it ahead?
- You can add all of the sauce ingredients to a small sauté pan a couple of hours ahead and cover it (with a lid, foil, etc.). Then you can heat it just before serving.
- The tofu can be sliced a few hours ahead of time. Keep them on the towels you dried them with on a plate or baking sheet, in the refrigerator. You will likely need to use another dry paper towel to lightly dry them one last time before assembling the dish.
I hope you enjoy this fun and unexpected vegan sashimi recipe with tofu!
More scrumptious tofu recipes:
- Miso Garlic Ginger Tofu
- Vegetable Baked Tofu
- Vegetable Mint Stir Fry with Tofu Noodles
- 10-Minute Chilled Tofu Appetizer
Vegan Tofu Sashimi Recipe
- ½ pound extra firm tofu (this is half of a tofu block)
- a few dozen small, fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons low sodium Tamari
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Mirin (sweet rice wine)
- ½ teaspoon garlic, super finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger pulp
- 2 scallions (white portions only), finely chopped
- Prepare the tofu. Place a double layer of paper towels on a plate and place the half block of tofu on top and then press all of its sides with another paper towel. Now lay 2 more paper towels on the counter and cut the tofu horizontally, into super thin slices, (About 1/16-inch thick), placing them in a single layer on one of the paper towels as you go. Once you've cut all of it, lay the second towel on top and very gently press down.
- Add basil. Arrange the tofu slices on 4 appetizer plates or a large platter, with a small basil leaf between them. Set aside.
- Make sauce. Add all of the remaining ingredients to a small sauté pan and bring to a strong simmer. Then dividing it evenly, immediately pour it over the tofu slices, and serve. (You can also serve the sauce on the side and the tofu slices can be dipped into it.)
- Sprinkle the top with Togarashi and serve.