These grilled tofu and vegetable kebabs with a vegan peanut sauce are a super simple weeknight dinner. The tofu is marinated ahead of time in an umami-packed, asian-inspired marinade, which packs tons of flavor. While the kebabs are on the grill, whip up our super easy peanut sauce in 2 minutes and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time!
If your family (like ours) has multiple dietary preferences, kebabs are one of the best ways to make everyone happy. To keep things easy, we use the same marinade for everything – tofu, vegetables and any other proteins we’re using (chicken, usually).
Once the proteins have soaked up all of the flavor from the marinade, all that’s left to do is grill for a few minutes and whip up an incredibly easy peanut sauce. So little effort, so much flavor, and a great way to make sure everyone’s happy!
Grilled tofu is one of my favorite ways to make/eat tofu. When done right, it gets nice and crispy. We continue brushing on more marinade while they’re cooking – it caramelizes around the edges and tastes absolutely amazing. Seriously contemplating making this for dinner again tonight…
Paired with a mix of some of our favorite vegetables – summer squash, red onion and mushrooms – it’s a well-rounded meal! If you’d like to pair this with a starch, we’d suggest brown or white rice.
How to make an easy marinade for tofu and vegetables
These caramelized vegan tofu and vegetable kebabs start with a richly flavored marinade. Every good simple marinade includes a few basic ingredients. First: a high-quality cooking oil. We use sesame oil for these tofu skewers because it packs a ton of flavor. Sesame also complements the peanut sauce in your finished grilled kebabs.
Second, every good marinade recipe includes an acid. We use rice vinegar, which complements the Asian flavors of sesame oil and tamari. Tamari, or gluten free soy sauce, provides all the salt you need to flavor your tofu and veggies before grilling. If you’re not gluten free, feel free to use your favorite regular soy sauce!
Finally, we added a few flavor punches to our vegan tofu marinade. Powdered ginger and garlic always pack a good punch when it comes to spicing up sauces. We also squeezed a hit of sriracha to bring some spice to this marinade for grilled tofu and veggies.
The key to an effective tofu and veggie marinade is packing a ton of flavor into a small amount of liquid. Since you’re not eating the dressing as-is, it should be more concentrated in flavor than you’re used to. The goal is for your tofu and vegetables to absorb as much flavor as possible while marinating for up to three hours and as little as one hour. The more spice, salt and acid you can pack into your marinade at the beginning, the better.
How to grill tofu and vegetable kebabs seamlessly
It’s amazing how quickly these tofu and vegetable kebabs cook up after marinating. The longer you can keep them covered in the asian marinade, the better. You’ll know they’re ready when the tofu absorbs enough flavor from tamari, sesame oil and all those spices to turn a darker color. Your mushrooms should also be shiny and browned from the Asian marinade.
If you’re adding chicken (or another protein) to this recipe, be sure to marinade the chicken as well. The longer, the better. It wouldn’t hurt to make the marinade in the morning before you head to work and let it sit in the fridge all day for maximum flavor!
Next up, preheat your grill; we recommend keeping it at medium-low. Tofu and sliced vegetables are all pretty tender, so excessive heat could char them quickly without cooking all the way through. Once you get all the skewers on the grill, they only need 3 to 5 minutes per side and you’re ready to eat! I brushed the kebabs with more marinade once or twice while they were on the grill.
Quick note before grilling: remember to soak your wooden skewers in water for at least half an hour. This will prevent the wood from catching fire while your food cooks up nicely.
How to make savory and simple vegan peanut sauce
After their short stint on that grill, it’s time to serve up your marinated tofu and vegetable kebabs. The most important part of this serving, is, of course, the delicious vegan peanut sauce you whipped up while everything was on the grill! This peanut sauce really couldn’t be simpler to make, and it goes well with so many meals.
Good news: you probably already have all of the vegan peanut sauce ingredients in your pantry! We stepped up the usual peanut sauce ingredients (peanut butter, tamari, sriracha and lime juice) with some extra Asian flavors.
While you might normally use water to thin out homemade peanut sauce, we opted for coconut milk. It provides the same fluid consistency but way more flavor. If you don’t have any coconut milk on hand, water will work, too.
We also used some of the same flavor enhancers from the marinade in our peanut sauce to bring those notes full-circle. You’ll recognize powdered ginger and garlic, tried-and-true flavor bursts. And don’t forget to stir in those chopped peanuts for extra crunch while you dip!
More ways to use vegan peanut sauce
There’s no need to stop with these grilled tofu kebabs when it comes to the many, many uses for homemade vegan peanut sauce. Here are some of our favorite recipes that would benefit from a hit of this savory dip:
- Swap the tahini dressing for peanut sauce in these Lentil Stuffed Eggplant Boats
- Set a big bowl for dipping next to Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps for an easy and satisfying vegan weeknight dinner
- Easy Peanut Noodles from Love and Lemons are filling and flavorful
- Use as a topping for these Vegan Spring Roll Bowls (one of our most popular easy recipes!)
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These savory vegan grilled tofu and veggie kebabs are super simple to whip up, and delicious dipped in homemade vegan peanut sauce.
For the marinade:
- ⅓ cup low-sodium tamari
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sriracha
- ¼ + ⅛ tsp powdered ginger
- ¼ + ⅛ tsp powdered garlic
For the tofu and veggie kebabs:
- 1 14-oz package extra firm tofu, sliced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small zucchini, sliced into ½ inch rounds
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced ½ inch rounds
- 1 16-oz package button or baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 medium purple onion, halved and sliced into 8 segments
- 10–12 medium wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
For the peanut sauce:
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1½ –2 tsp sriracha
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp powdered ginger
- ¼ tsp powdered garlic
- ⅓ cup chopped peanuts
- Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together.
- Pour ⅔ of the marinade over the tofu in a bowl. Toss very gently and let marinate 1-3 hours.
- Put veggies on skewers and pour the remaining marinade over the veggies in a baking dish, making sure to fully coat the veggies and marinate for 1-3 hours, rotating twice.
- Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce by whisk all of the ingredients together. Set aside until serving.
- After the tofu is done marinating, put onto grilling skewers.
- Preheat grill to medium-low. Grill the skewers for 3-5 minutes per side. Keep an eye on things so the tofu doesn’t burn.