Sassy Sesame Tofu

February 27, 2021

This is a simple and delicious way to prepare tofu. As the tofu cooks, it firms up and absorbs the flavors of the cooking liquid. It cooks up very quickly in the Instant Pot. The sweet and spicy sauce added at the end makes this dish even more yummy. I recommend that you serve it over the Pineapple Rice (recipe in a previous blog). The author of Vegan Under Pressure liked this recipe so much that she used it for the cover shot. Everyone in my family loved this recipe!

This recipe is by Jill Nussinow from her cookbook Vegan Under Pressure.


  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium (2 cups) yellow, white, or sweet onion, sliced from top to bottom into equal pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled & cut into round 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled & diced. I substituted it with 1 entire medium Butternut Squash peeled, seeded, & chopped into 1 inch square pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, I used Trader Joe’s toasted Flax Seeds
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons tamari, or Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or regular vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups sugar snap or snow peas, cut in half. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Sugar Snap Peas (left whole).
  • 2 tablespoons Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Sauce (recipe in previous blog) or Sriracha. I used the entire pot of sauce, and mixed it into this recipe.
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, optional, used to thicken. I used Trader Joe’s hummus.
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped, for garnish


  • Peel the Butternut Squash. NOTE: Microwave the squash for about 3½ minutes. This softens the skin considerably. Let the squash cool enough to handle, or use a towel to hold it, and simply peel away the skin.
  • Use a spoon to clean out the pulp & seeds from the center of the butternut squash.
  • Cut up the squash into even 1—1 1/2” square pieces.

Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat, or set the Instant Pot on sauté. Add the sesame oil. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato (or Butternut Squash), and sauté them for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds (or toasted flax seeds), sauté another minute. Add the tofu, tamari (or soy sauce), vinegar, and vegetable broth.

Lock the lid on the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Bring to high pressure, and cook for 3 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you.

Add the peas and lock the lid back on. Bring to low pressure, and cook for 1 minute. (If you do not have a low pressure option, lock the lid and let it sit for 2-3 minutes). Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.

  • Stir in the pepper sauce, and tahini (or soy sauce), if using. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (or toasted flax seeds), and the chopped scallions. Serve and enjoy!

How did you modify this recipe? Please share in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

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