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Tofu Kebobs: Smoky Vegan BBQ Skewers

Marinated tofu, red onion, zucchini, and sweet peppers are skewered with bamboo, brushed with a sweet and smoky BBQ bourbon sauce, and grilled until perfectly charred in this recipe that's sure to become a smash hit at your next BBQ.

Vegan and vegetarian BBQ options are pretty limited - some veggie burgers are delicious but can be a little dull the 100th time around. Tofu skewers are one of our favorite ways to avoid feeling that veggie burger burnout. 

These skewers are stuffed with high-fiber veggies, marinated tofu, and smothered with BBQ sauce. We made a homemade bourbon BBQ sauce, but you can easily use your favorite store-bought kind to save yourself some time. 

Speaking of saving time, these kabobs don't take much time to prepare. You can fully prepare them a few hours before you grill so that before-dinner preparation is practically nil. 

Follow our simple recipe below and grill up a batch of these easy tofu shish kabobs!

How to make vegan shish kabobs

Ingredients

For the barbecue tofu

  • 14 oz firm tofu
  • ½ cup smoky bourbon BBQ sauce of your choice

For the vegetables

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 6 oz cremini mushrooms
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ purple onion
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Making the tofu

  1. Remove the tofu block from its packaging. Press the tofu in a tofu press for 15 mins to remove excess water. *Do not skip this step. Learn more about the importance of pressing tofu.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone sheet, and cut the tofu block into ½-inch cubes - approximately 32 pieces. 
  3. Arrange the tofu pieces on the sheet pan in a single layer. Bake your tofu for 20-22 mins, or until the tofu is slightly golden yet soft. 
  4. Transfer the baked tofu to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce over the tofu and stir well to combine. Cover and let sit in the tofu kabob marinade for at least 30 mins and up to eight hours.

Building your tofu vegan kabobs

  1. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in a bowl of water while you prepare the veggies. Cut the zucchini, red pepper, green pepper, and purple onion into bite-sized pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl with the cherry tomatoes. 
  2. Drizzle some olive oil over the veggies and season with salt and pepper. Toss the veggies until they are evenly coated with the oil.
  3. Take your BBQ tofu out of the marinade and reserve the extra sauce.
  4. Remove the bamboo skewers from the water, and skewer your veggies and tofu. 

Grilling your vegetarian kebobs

  1. Place the vegetarian BBQ skewers on the grill and cook for about 15-20 mins total. Slather the tofu and vegetables with more BBQ sauce, making ¼ turns every 4-5 mins. You want these skewers to be charred on all sides evenly.
  2. Serve and enjoy your grilled tofu skewers fresh from the grill!

Nutrition Information - Tofu kabobs recipe

Per one skewer

Calories: 69 kcal; Carbohydrates: 7g ; Protein: 3g; Fat: 3g; Sodium: 182mg; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g 

Vegan kebabs recipe - Tips + FAQs

Choosing your tofu

Picking the right type of tofu is pretty essential. We used firm tofu for these skewers because they have a lower water content than the silken vareity so that they won't crumble apart on the grill. 

Firm tofu closely resembles grilled veggies' texture, making it the perfect choice for a veggie kebab.

Firm tofu also tends to marinate the best. Once you press firm tofu, it will sop up the marinade like a dry sponge. Yum!

Youcould likely get away with using extra-firm tofu if that's all you have on hand, but it won't absorb as much of the marinade and will have a slightly firmer result. 

Choosing skewers

There are a few different considerations when choosing the right BBQ skewer for the job. 

Bamboo vs. stainless steel

We chose to use bamboo for our tofu skewers because the tofu and veggies stick better to bamboo than slippery steel. You can only reuse bamboo skewers a couple of times, but they can be composted when you're done with them.

Round vs. flat

You can use either shape, but I always get wide, flat skewers for my grilled tofu. I find that it's easier to turn the skewer on the grill while keeping the veggies from flipping around in circles. 

Prepping ahead

The best part of these grilled tofu skewers is that they can be fully prepped ahead for easy grilling at dinner time. 

You can leave your tofu to marinate in the fridge up to a day ahead of when you need it. You can chop all of your veggies and assemble your tofu skewers several hours ahead of grilling time. Once you make your skewers, keep them in a refrigerator until cooking.

Best side dish options

BBQ food is the absolute best - you can serve these grilled tofu skewers with all of these favorite classics:

  • Creamy or oil-based potato salad
  • Macaroni salad
  • Vegan mac and cheese
  • Tossed green salad with a garlic vinaigrette (You can even place your grilled tofu and vegetables on top of the salad)
  • Avocado, corn, and tomato salad
  • Fresh watermelon salad
  • Grilled corn-on-the-cob
  • Mixed bean salad

Final notes: BBQ tofu skewers

These tofu skewers are a total fit to liven up your next BBQ!

When making tofu skewers, keep the following in mind:

  • Use pressed, firm tofu to soak up the marinade and achieve the ideal charred texture;
  • Skewer your tofu and veggies with flat, bamboo skewers to keep them from migrating along the stick while you cook;
  • Prep everything up to 24 hours ahead on days when you're short on time before dinner.

We hope you get to fire up the grill and enjoy these tasty skewers soon!

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