This Mexican Baked Tofu Quinoa Bowl is easy to prepare, perfect for meal prepping and is packed with healthy plant-powered protein. Ancho, chilli and cumin powder give it that Mexican flavour and the tofu, beans and quinoa deliver the filling, protein-packed meal. It’s also vegan and gluten-free! Great served with vegan Mexican salad too.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Simple to make – there aren’t too many steps to carry out. The tofu gets marinated and baked, the rest comes together in one pot, starting with frying the leeks and then simmering it all once the quinoa and stock goes in.
- Great for meal prepping – we created this tofu quinoa bowl recipe because we don’t like to spend too long preparing lunch in the week. We wanted a meal that could be prepared in advance and keep it in the fridge for a few days. This is what we came up with! We usually cook up a batch on Sunday and eat it for the first few days of the week for lunch. It’s great to eat hot or cold, so you can just grab a tub of it out of the fridge and eat while you continue working or whatever you’re doing. Other great meal prep lunches include our Quorn Fajitas and this exceptional Vegan Egg Mayo Sandwich.
- Packed with goodness – aside from the leeks, beans and sweetcorn loading the tofu quinoa bowl with goodness, there’s the superfood – quinoa! Quinoa is packed with goodness, like protein, fibre and various vitamins and minerals, as well as being gluten-free. Find out more nutritional information about quinoa.
- High protein – the combo of beans, tofu and quinoa means that each portion of the tofu quinoa bowl is loaded with 23g of protein. That means it’ll keep you fuller for longer and if you work out a lot, it’s a great dose of protein!
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Quinoa – quinoa is technically a seed, but is used in place of other types of grain, like rice, when cooking. It originates from South America and is considered a superfood because it’s higher in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins and dietary minerals than many other grains. It’s also a key part of this tofu quinoa bowl recipe (obviously)! It’s also important to rinse the quinoa before cooking, it removes the bitter flavour.
- Tofu – keep an eye out for extra or super firm tofu for this recipe. It's the kind of tofu that comes vacuum packed rather than in a tub. It saves pressing the liquid out so the recipe comes together quicker, plus it has a great firm texture straight out of the packet. Marinating and baking it takes it to the next level.
- Ancho chilli – ancho chilli adds a really great smoky flavour to the tofu quinoa bowl. Rather than being spicy like a lot of varieties of chilli powder, ancho chilli powder is a lot heavier on the smoky flavour and is even fruity. It’s typically very mild so it shouldn’t be overpowering if you don’t like spicy food. If you don’t have it, the best thing to use instead is smoked paprika.
- Leeks – when we made this recipe, leeks were in season and we like to use seasonal veg where we can! If you’re not a fan of leeks or they’re not in season where you are, try switching them out for plain old onions or even spring onions. If you love them, try our easy buttered leeks and cabbage recipe, which makes a great side for a roast dinner.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this tofu quinoa bowl.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for this recipe. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
For the tofu:
1. Preheat the oven to 190°c / gas mark 5. In a bowl, mix the liquid aminos, chilli oil, lime juice and smoked paprika until smooth.
2. Lay the slices of tofu in a non-stick or parchment-lined baking tray. Pour over the liquid mix to evenly coat the tofu and put in the oven for 20 minutes. While the tofu bakes start on the quinoa (instructions below). Halfway through baking, flip the tofu so it can bake on the other side. Once finished, set to one side ready to serve with the rest of the tofu quinoa bowl.
For the quinoa:
3. While the tofu bakes, take a large saucepan and pour in a splash of oil or some oil spray and bring to a medium heat. Fry the chopped leeks and garlic for a few minutes, until the leeks look translucent and soft.
4. Add the spices into the pan and fry for another minute.
5. Pop in the tomato puree, give it a stir.
6. Next, add the rinsed quinoa
7. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
8. Once the quinoa is cooked – this is when all of the water has evaporated and the quinoa has roughly tripled in size – add the sweetcorn, kidney beans and black beans.
9. Squeeze in the lime juice and season with salt. Stir everything together until the beans and sweetcorn are hot. This should take a couple of minutes.
10. Serve with the baked tofu (two slices per tofu quinoa bowl) and then top with fresh coriander, sliced avocado and vegan sour cream or salsa.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Extra-firm tofu – over the last few years a new breed of tofu has hit the shelves in the UK, sold in a vacuum-packed container rather than a tub full of water. It’s usually labelled as super-firm or extra-firm tofu and is what we recommend for most of the time now! Especially when tofu is served in a sauce or curry, like in Vegan Butter Chicken or Tofu Palak. It doesn’t need the liquid pressing out of it and is super dense and firm. It bakes really well when making these tofu quinoa bowls, so keep an eye out for it. If you’re in the UK, Tofoo Co., Cauldron and Clearspot all have this type of tofu.
- Liquid aminos – this ingredient is very similar to soy sauce, but is gluten-free and not fermented. It’s also lower in sodium. It’s usually made from soybeans, though coconut aminos are available if you can’t eat soy. Alternatively soy sauce or tamari can be used.
- Ancho alternative – we’d really recommend hunting down some ancho chilli powder if you can find it, because the flavour is really difficult to replace. It can be found in supermarkets or specialty stores – sometimes it’s available in a paste, so if you find that, give it a go (just check the jar instructions for how much to use). If you can’t find it or just want to use something else, we’d recommend using smoked paprika.
- Cooking quinoa – before cooking quinoa, it’s important to rinse it. Pop it in a sieve and then rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Generally, you’ll know when quinoa is cooked because all of the liquid will have evaporated and the quinoa will be soft. Although it looks similar to couscous, it isn’t as soft, but it also shouldn’t be firm once cooked.
No, quinoa should be soft. It has a slightly firmer texture and more bite than white rice, but is more comparable to brown rice. If your quinoa is still crunchy, it will need to be cooked for longer. As mentioned above, once the water has evaporated and the quinoa is soft, it’s done.
Quinoa can go soggy if overcooked or too much liquid is added. We’d usually suggest cooking quinoa with 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa, and simmer it without a lid on the pan. In this recipe, we’ve worked out the ratios so that everything cooks perfectly without you needing to worry about it!
We’d recommend using an extra-firm tofu or pressing the liquid from firm tofu before baking. Either marinating overnight or simply adding a marinade to it before baking both work. Place sliced tofu on a non-stick or lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes on each side – check the recipe for how we do it for this dish (and see the photos above).
🍛 What to serve with it:
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Tofu Quinoa Bowl
For the tofu:
- 450 g extra-firm tofu – cut into 15 slices
- 2 tbsp liquid aminos
- 1 tbsp chilli oil
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp lime juice
For the quinoa:
- 2 leeks - rinsed and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tsp ancho chilli powder – or smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup sweetcorn
- 250 g black beans - 1 tin (usually 400g) drained and rinsed
- 250 g kidney beans - 1 tin (usually 400g) drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Fresh coriander – roughly chopped
- Avocados – chopped into chunks
- Vegan Sour Cream – or plain vegan yoghurt
For the tofu:
- Preheat the oven to 190°c / gas mark 5. In a bowl, mix the liquid aminos, chilli oil, lime juice and smoked paprika until smooth.2 tbsp liquid aminos, 1 tbsp chilli oil, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp lime juice
- Lay the slices of tofu in a non-stick or parchment-lined baking tray. Pour over the liquid mix to evenly coat the tofu and put in the oven for 20 minutes. While the tofu bakes start on the quinoa (instructions below).450 g extra-firm tofu
- Halfway through baking, flip the tofu so it can bake on the other side. Once finished, set to one side ready to serve with the rest of the tofu quinoa bowl.
For the quinoa
- While the tofu bakes, take a large saucepan and pour in a splash of oil or some oil spray and bring to a medium heat. Fry the chopped leeks and garlic for a few minutes, until the leeks look translucent and soft.2 leeks, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the spices into the pan and fry for another minute.2 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 3 tsp ancho chilli powder
- Pop in the tomato paste, give it a stir then add the rinsed quinoa and stock. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.2 cups quinoa, 4 cups vegetable stock, 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Once the quinoa is cooked – this should be once all of the water has evaporated and the quinoa has roughly tripled in size – add the sweetcorn, beans and lime juice and season with salt. Stir everything together until the beans and sweetcorn are hot. This should take a couple of minutes.1 cup sweetcorn, 250 g black beans, 250 g kidney beans, 1 tbsp lime juice
- Serve with the baked tofu (3 slices per bowl) and then optionally top with fresh coriander, chopped avocado and vegan sour cream or salsa.Fresh coriander, Avocados, Salsa, Vegan Sour Cream
- We recommend using extra or super firm tofu – the kind that comes vacuum-packed. Alternatively, press firm tofu in a tofu press to remove some of the water before using.
- Liquid aminos can be substituted for coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari.
- Leeks can be switched for regular onions or spring onions.
- It’s tricky to replace the flavour of ancho chilli powder, but if you can’t find it, use smoked paprika instead.
- This recipe is great for meal prepping and will keep in the fridge for 3 days. We don’t recommend freezing quinoa.