roasted squash and tofu with ginger

I didn’t mean to disappear on you. I’d intended to start the year with soup, as I always do. I made a lovely-but-not-lovely-enough winter minestrone and then a red lentil situation but neither really seemed spotlight worthy and it can be hard sometimes but I really don’t want to publish anything here I don’t want to sing from the rooftops about. All of our time is worth more than that. While I was debating my next soup move, my friend texted and said “Can u believe the wedding is two weeks away??” and I bolted straight up in bed because, well, no. I could not believe it at all. I mean, I knew I’d told her I’d make her wedding cake. We’d discussed the headcount and flavors they liked. I had a loose idea of it in my mind and looked forward to really getting started on it… in a couple weeks. Needless to say, this is where the rest of January went and I’m going to tell you all about it next week — it’s going through some rigorous retesting and is going to be worth the wait because it’s probably one of the most delicious cakes I have ever made. But still, let’s never go on a break again.

a kabocha squashscooped outthin wedgesa few things you'll needwhisked marinadeready to bake

The other kind of thing you miss very much when you’re three Kitchen Aid bowls deep in buttercream is vegetables, especially those coated in salt, acid, and heat. and I received the wonderful Diana Henry’s (she of the Bird in Hand and How to Eat a Peach fame for highly cookable recipes) most recent cookbook, From the Oven to the Table, full of sheet pan-ish meals, last fall and my favorite thing happened: I immediately bookmarked four dishes. This is what we always hope will, that we’ll instantly shake off a cooking rut we may not even have realized we were in at the suggestion of something new. I made the salsiccia con patate e pomodoro (wonderful), melting baked onions (I think I undercooked them but the potential is definitely there), toad in a hole with leeks and cheddar (soon!), a Persian-spiced spatchcooked chicken (ditto), and now this.

from the oven

This is fantastic. I’ve never combined tofu and winter squash before but it was my loss. Both are coated with a soy sauce-honey-ginger mixture plus chile flakes to taste and roasted halfway, and then you spoon a lot of garlic oil over, so it gets toasty in the second half of cooking but doesn’t burn. When it comes out of the oven, you scatter it with a three-fer of sesame seeds, scallions, and lime juice and you guys, my 10-year old asked for leftovers of this in his lunchbox today. I cannot offer a dish any higher accolades* than that.

roasted squash and tofu with ginger

* Well, technically, if my much pickier 4 year-old asked for it, I’d probably have to be carried out on a stretcher, but for our own sanity, we don’t use 4 year-olds who routinely reject cookies as a yardstick for what is delicious.


Six Months Ago: Frozen Watermelon Mojitos
One year ago: Plush Coconut Cake
Two years ago: Sheet Pan Meatballs with Crispy Turmeric Chickpeas
Three years ago: Chocolate Dutch Baby
Four years ago: Blood Orange, Almond, and Ricotta Cake and Cabbage and Sausage Casserole
Five years ago: Key Lime Pie and Make Your Own Vanilla Extract
Six years ago: Pear and Hazelnut Muffins and Warm Lentil and Potato Salad
Seven years ago: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard, and Garlic
Eight years ago: Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Nine years ago: Baked Potato Soup
Ten years ago: Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup and an Intensely Almond Cake
Eleven years ago: Clementine Cake and Mushroom Bourguignon
Twelve years ago: Chicken Caesar Salad and Fried Chicken
Thirteen years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Roasted Squash and Tofu with Ginger and Garlic

  • Servings: 2 to 4
  • Source: Diana Henry’s From the Oven to the Table
  • Print
The book focuses on what we’d call sheet pan meals but large sheet pans aren’t as much of a thing across the pond, but roasting dishes (a little smaller) are. Nevertheless, I tried to squeeze this onto one large (half-sheet) pan vs. the two baking dishes she suggests in the book and my tofu didn’t come out very crisp. If this doesn’t bother you, squeeze away.

Please read: To ensure this recipe is gluten-free, use soy sauce or tamari labeled clearly labeled as gluten-free. To make this dish vegan, use sugar or another sweetener instead of honey.

  • 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 pounds winter squash (such as kabocha or acorn)
  • 3 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (see Note)
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Juice of half a lime
Drain your tofu and remove as much water as you can: There are two easy ways to ensure your tofu gets as crisp as possible, but the first requires advanced planning. 1. The first is one that a dear reader has been pressing (get it? sorry) me/us to try for years: freezing it. You can freeze your tofu as soon as you get it home, still in the package, or already drained. Once defrosted, it easily shakes off all of its water (you’ll want to blot it though) and even has a lovely texture. But, this requires a little more planning. 2. The second is a little faster, but some say less effective: place your block of on a few layers of paper towel with more towels over it (and even a tray or plate on top to weight it) and to set aside for 5 minutes, or until needed.

Heat your oven: To 400°F. Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Prepare tofu and vegetables: Cut tofu into 1/2-inch slices, and then in half again. Halve and seed your squash — I like to remove the seeds with a metal soup spoon, which makes it much easier to get it clean. Cut squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick wedges. If using two pans, you can arrange the squash on one and the tofu on another. If using one, try to puzzle them together as I do above; it will be more snug.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey or sugar, soy sauce, pepper flakes (to taste), ginger, and 4 tablespoons of the oil. If using two pans, pour 2/3 of the marinade over the squash and 1/3 over the tofu, and turn each slice of squash over gently to coat on both sides. If using only one, use all the marinade, coating the squash and tofu together. In all cases, season the squash and tofu with salt and pepper.

Cook: Roast for 15 minutes, then using a thin metal spatula (this is my favorite), turn the squash and tofu chunks over. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons oil with the garlic and spoon this all over the squash and tofu. Return pan(s) to the oven and roast until the tofu is dark and the squash is completely tender, 10 to 15 more minutes.

Serve: Directly from the pan(s) or arranged on a serving plate. Scatter with sesame seeds and scallions, and squeeze lime juice over.


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