Sesame Crusted Tofu with Spicy Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Rice

This plate of crispy sesame-crusted Tofu with spicy zucchini, crunchy yet tender chickpeas, and fluffy rice is a great meatless dinner. It’s a meal prep-friendly, spice-loaded vegan dinner life-saver. 

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This sesame crusted tofu with spicy zucchini, chickpeas, and rice is my go-to, regular life, comfort food meets spice heaven quick weeknight dinner. It’s a powerhouse of immune system boosting ingredients, with all the textures you could dream of. 

It’s a deep, luxe, and complex mix of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors, crunchy and tender textures and it’s loaded with healthy nutrients. 

Make Sesame Crusted Tofu in the oven or on the stove

One of the best things about this easy sesame-crusted tofu dish is how versatile it is. Make it as a Sheetpan dish in the oven or cook it on the stove. It’s a simple, utterly tasty, loaded with flavors dish that will fit your cooking mood and time. 

Why you need to make this sesame-crusted tofu with spicy zucchini, chickpeas, and rice a part of your meal plan:

  • Super easy to make – it’s a ready in under 30-minutes vegan dinner 
  • Loaded with flavors and textures – from crispy, crunchy on the outside/tender on the inside sesame-crusted tofu to spicy, fragrant spices this easy dish has it all
  • A great 30-minutes vegan dinner that’s better than any takeout 
  • Naturally gluten-free dinner
  • A meatless recipe that’s loaded with plant-based protein 
  • The budget-friendly recipe is made with ingredients that are easy to get
  • Meal prep vegan dinner – eat it right away, make it the day before, or freeze it for up to 3 months

Meal prep friendly vegan dinner recipe 

My sesame-crusted tofu with spicy zucchini and chickpeas has it all. It’s super simple to make because the spices do most of the work for you. And it’s made using just one pan. But as if that wasn’t already more than enough to make this one of my favorite dishes, it’s also a fab meal prep recipe. 

Let’s take a look at what we’re working with today.

What ingredients do you need to make sesame-crusted tofu:

Making sesame-crusted tofu is surprisingly easy and so incredibly tasty. All you need is:

  • A pack of firm or extra firm tofu (no need to press the tofu in this recipe as we want the outside crispy and the inside tender)
  • 3 tbsp corn starch 
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds – one color or multicolor sesame seeds 
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder 
  • Oregano 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Olive oil 

How to make vegan crispy sesame-crusted tofu with spicy curry vegetables on the stove

  • Add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano to a shallow bowl or plate. Place the tofu in the bowl and carefully toss or turn to coat all the sides of the tofu in cornstarch/sesame seeds. 
  • Next, heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Place the tofu in the skillet in a single layer and cook until golden. Turn over and cook the other side until golden (it should take 1-2 minutes per side).
  • Remove the crusted tofu from the skillet and set it on a plate. 
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and pour in the sliced zucchini and chickpeas. Season with smoked paprika and salt. Let the vegetables cook for around 5 minutes while stirring occasionally until the chickpeas begin to turn crispy. Add the garlic, spring onions, rosemary, and the rest of the sesame seeds and cook for 1-2 more minutes while stirring. 
  • Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  • Once the rice is cooked drizzle lemon juice on top of the rice and fluff it with a fork to combine.
  • Serve the rice in a bowl topped generously with roasted chickpeas and zucchini. Place the crusted tofu on top and garnish with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce.
  • Enjoy.

How to cook Sheetpan sesame-crusted tofu

  • Heat oven to 350F.
  • While the rice cooks, make the crusted tofu. Add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano to a shallow bowl or plate. Place the tofu in the bowl and carefully toss or turn to coat all the sides of the tofu in cornstarch/sesame seeds. 
  • Place the zucchini, chickpeas, and spring onions in a bowl and toss with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Position on a lined baking sheet and arrange the crusted tofu in a single layer in the center. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes before flipping the tofu and vegetables over and baking for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Once the rice is cooked drizzle lemon juice on top of the rice and fluff it with a fork to combine.
  • Serve the rice in a bowl topped generously with roasted chickpeas and zucchini. Place the crusted tofu on top and garnish with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce.
  • Enjoy. 

Frequently asked questions 

Can I use quinoa instead of rice?

Yes. Absolutely. Just cook the quinoa as instructed on the packaging and add the same seasoning as is in the recipe. 

Could I use cauliflower rice instead of regular rice?

Yes. Cauliflower rice will work just as well in this recipe. Cauliflower rice won’t need to cook for as long as regular rice, so it will cut down on cooking time. Just add the same seasoning and cauliflower rice will make a great rice substitute.

What other sauces can I use instead of sweet chili sauce?

  • Peanut butter sauce
  • My favorite homemade walnut pesto 
  • Any type of yogurt sauce 
  • And even BBQ sauce if you want 

Sesame Crusted Tofu with Spicy Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Rice

This plate of crispy sesame-crusted Tofu with spicy zucchini, crunchy yet tender chickpeas, and fluffy rice is a great meatless dinner. It’s a meal prep-friendly, spice-loaded vegan dinner life-saver. 
This sesame-crusted tofu with spicy zucchini, chickpeas, and rice is my go-to, regular life, comfort food meets spice heaven quick weeknight dinner. It’s a powerhouse of immune system boosting ingredients, with all the textures you could dream of. 
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Gluten-free, vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

Rice

  • cups Rice
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Crusted Tofu and Vegetables

  • 8 oz pack Tofu Patted dry and cut into ⅓ inch thick slices
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil divided
  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Sesame divided
  • 2 16oz cans Chickpeas Rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves Garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 2 Spring Onions sliced
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Rosemary chopped
  • ½ tsp Curry Powder
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Zucchinis cut into slices
  • Juice from ½ Lemon

Instructions

  • Cook the rice according to the package, but add 1 1/2 tsp curry powder to the rice as it cooks.

Cooking on the stove

  • While the rice cooks, make the crusted tofu. Add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano to a shallow bowl or plate. Place the tofu in the bowl and carefully toss or turn to coat all the sides of the tofu in cornstarch/sesame seeds. 
  • Next, heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Place the tofu in the skillet in a single layer and cook until golden. Turn over and cook the other side until golden (it should take 1-2 minutes per side).
    Remove the crusted tofu from the skillet and set it on a plate. 
    Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and pour in the sliced zucchini and chickpeas. Season with smoked paprika and salt. Let the vegetables cook for around 5 minutes while stirring occasionally until the chickpeas begin to turn crispy. Add the garlic, spring onions, rosemary, and the rest of the sesame seeds and cook for 1-2 more minutes while stirring. 
    Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  • Once the rice is cooked drizzle lemon juice on top of the rice and fluff it with a fork to combine.
    Serve the rice in a bowl topped generously with roasted chickpeas and zucchini. Place the crusted tofu on top and garnish with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce.
    Enjoy. 

Cooking in the oven

  • Heat oven to 350F.
  • While the rice cooks, make the crusted tofu. Add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano to a shallow bowl or plate. Place the tofu in the bowl and carefully toss or turn to coat all the sides of the tofu in cornstarch/sesame seeds. 
  • Place the zucchini, chickpeas, and spring onions in a bowl and toss with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Place on a lined baking sheet and arrange the crusted tofu in a single layer in the center. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes before flipping the tofu and vegetables over and baking for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Once the rice is cooked drizzle lemon juice on top of the rice and fluff it with a fork to combine.
    Serve the rice in a bowl topped generously with roasted chickpeas and zucchini. Place the crusted tofu on top and garnish with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce.
    Enjoy. 

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