Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne Recipe

by easy quick meal
Tofu and Tomato Penne

Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne Recipe

Welcome to a culinary journey that celebrates the tantalizing combination of bold and harmonious flavors! We present to you a delectable masterpiece that will awaken your taste buds and leave you craving for more – the mouthwatering “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” recipe.

In this culinary creation, we artfully blend the creamy goodness of tofu, the rich tanginess of ripe tomatoes, and a tantalizing mix of spices to elevate the humble penne pasta into a truly extraordinary dish. Bursting with colors, textures, and aromas, this recipe is not just a feast for the senses but also a wholesome and satisfying meal that caters to various dietary preferences.

Whether you’re a seasoned tofu enthusiast or a curious foodie looking to experiment with new flavors, this dish promises to delight and surprise you in every bite. Each component of this recipe has been thoughtfully selected and carefully crafted to ensure a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate.

Join us as we embark on this gastronomic adventure, where we’ll not only guide you through the preparation process but also reveal the secrets to balancing the spices to suit your personal taste preferences. Whether you prefer a subtle kick of spice or a bold fiery heat, this Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne recipe can be tailored to suit your culinary desires.

So, grab your apron and get ready to create a culinary masterpiece that will impress your loved ones, friends, or simply be a treat for yourself. Unleash your inner chef and let the journey to flavor paradise begin!

Without further ado, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide to crafting this unforgettable Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne. Prepare yourself for a delightful explosion of taste that will linger in your memory long after the last bite. Let’s cook up some magic!

What type of tofu should I use for Tomato Penne?

When preparing “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne,” the type of tofu you choose can significantly impact the outcome of your dish. Firm and extra-firm tofu are the preferred choices for this recipe due to their distinct characteristics.

tofu and tomato penne
  1. Texture: Firm and extra-firm tofu have a dense and solid texture compared to other types like silken or soft tofu. This texture is crucial when sautéing or pan-frying the tofu for your penne dish. The firmness allows the tofu to hold its shape and retain a meatier consistency, which complements the penne pasta and creates a satisfying bite.
  2. Absorption: One of the essential aspects of cooking tofu is its ability to absorb flavors from the surrounding ingredients. Firm and extra-firm tofu have a lower water content, which means they can soak up the rich and robust flavors of the spicy and tomato-based sauce. As a result, the tofu becomes infused with the savory goodness, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  3. Cooking: Firm and extra-firm tofu hold up well to various cooking methods, including pan-frying, grilling, or baking. For “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne,” you may choose to pan-fry the tofu cubes until they develop a golden, slightly crispy exterior while remaining tender on the inside. This cooking technique adds a delightful contrast in textures to your pasta dish.
  4. Presentation: The firmer texture of the tofu ensures that it doesn’t crumble or disintegrate easily during cooking. As a result, your tofu will maintain its shape and appearance, contributing to an appetizing presentation when mixed with the penne and tomato sauce.

In summary, selecting firm or extra-firm tofu for your “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” is essential for achieving a satisfying and flavorful dish. The tofu’s firm texture allows it to hold up well during cooking, and its ability to absorb the spicy and tomato flavors adds depth to the overall taste experience. Enjoy your delicious and wholesome meal!

Is this dish vegan-friendly?

tofu and tomato penne

Yes, “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” is a delicious and vegan-friendly dish that caters to both vegans and vegetarians. This means it contains no animal products whatsoever, making it a perfect choice for those following a plant-based diet. Let’s explore some more details about the vegan-friendly aspects of this flavorful recipe:

  1. Plant-based Protein: The star of this dish is the tofu, which serves as a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Tofu is made from soybeans and offers a substantial amount of protein, making it an excellent meat substitute. When cooked with the spicy and tomato-based sauce, the tofu not only provides protein but also absorbs the delicious flavors, resulting in a hearty and satisfying meal.
  2. Flavorful Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce used in this recipe is typically vegan, as it primarily consists of tomatoes, herbs, spices, and other plant-based ingredients. By simmering the sauce to perfection, you infuse it with layers of flavor that beautifully complement the tofu and penne pasta. Vegans can indulge in this savory and tangy sauce without worrying about any animal-derived components.
  3. Versatile Penne Pasta: Penne pasta, the chosen pasta type for this recipe, is often vegan-friendly. Traditional penne pasta is made from durum wheat semolina and water, containing no eggs or animal-derived ingredients. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the packaging or ingredient list to ensure it aligns with vegan preferences.
  4. Customizable Spiciness: The spiciness of this dish can be tailored to individual tastes. You have the flexibility to adjust the level of heat to your liking by adding more or less chili flakes or other spicy ingredients. This adaptability allows you to create a dish that suits your palate perfectly.
  5. Nutritious and Wholesome: Aside from being vegan, this dish offers a host of health benefits. With the combination of tofu, tomatoes, and penne pasta, you get a well-rounded meal that provides protein, vitamins, and minerals essential for a balanced diet.

Overall, “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” is a delightful vegan-friendly dish that showcases the versatility and deliciousness of plant-based ingredients. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to explore new flavors, this recipe promises a satisfying and wholesome dining experience. Enjoy the blend of textures, flavors, and nutrients in this fantastic vegan pasta dish!

Can I use other types of pasta instead of penne?

tofu and tomato potato

Absolutely! If you don’t have penne pasta available for the “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” recipe, feel free to use other types of pasta as substitutes. Here are some excellent alternatives that will work beautifully with the flavorful sauce:

  1. Rotini: Rotini is a spiral-shaped pasta that has a similar size and texture to penne. Its twisted form allows it to hold onto the sauce effectively, ensuring each bite is coated in the spicy and tomato goodness. The ridges on the surface of rotini help to trap the sauce, making it a delicious and satisfying choice for this dish.
  2. Fusilli: Fusilli is another spiral-shaped pasta that works well in place of penne. Its corkscrew-like shape provides an enjoyable texture and allows the sauce to cling to its surface. Fusilli’s curly nature also creates an appealing presentation, making your “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Fusilli” a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
  3. Rigatoni: Rigatoni is a larger, tube-shaped pasta with ridges running along its surface. These ridges help capture the sauce, creating bursts of flavor in every bite. The size and shape of rigatoni make it a substantial and satisfying choice for this spicy tofu dish.
  4. Farfalle (Bowtie pasta): While different in shape from penne, farfalle or bowtie pasta can be a playful and delightful alternative. The small bow-shaped pieces provide a unique texture and appearance to your dish. The nooks and crannies in farfalle catch the sauce effectively, ensuring a burst of flavor in every mouthful.
  5. Gemelli: Gemelli is a type of pasta that resembles two strands of pasta twisted around each other. Its twisted shape helps the sauce cling to its surface, ensuring a flavorful experience in every forkful.

Remember that the cooking times for different pasta shapes may vary slightly, so be sure to follow the package instructions for the specific pasta you choose. With these alternative pasta options, you can still enjoy the delectable combination of spicy tofu and tomato sauce, regardless of which pasta shape you have on hand. Get creative, experiment, and savor the deliciousness of this versatile and plant-based dish!

What can I serve with Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne?

Tofu and Tomato Penne

Here are some fantastic side dishes that pair well with “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne,” enhancing the overall dining experience:

  1. Fresh Green Salad: A crisp and refreshing green salad is an excellent accompaniment to the richness of the spicy tofu and tomato penne. Consider tossing together a mix of fresh lettuce, spinach, arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and bell peppers. You can also add some toasted nuts, like pine nuts or walnuts, for added texture and flavor. Drizzle a tangy vinaigrette dressing or a zesty lemon herb dressing over the salad to complement the pasta’s spiciness.
  2. Garlic Bread: Indulge in some homemade garlic bread to complement the pasta’s savory flavors. Slice a baguette or Italian bread, and spread a mixture of butter or olive oil and minced garlic on each slice. Toast the slices until they become golden and crispy. The aromatic garlic bread will not only be a tasty addition to your meal but also perfect for mopping up any remaining tomato sauce from your pasta.
  3. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables provide a delicious contrast to the spicy tofu and tomato penne. You can roast an assortment of colorful vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs (such as thyme or rosemary), then roast until they caramelize and develop a rich flavor. The sweet and smoky taste of the roasted vegetables will harmonize beautifully with the bold flavors of the pasta.
  4. Steamed Broccoli or Asparagus: For a simple yet nutritious side, consider steaming some broccoli or asparagus. These veggies will add a touch of freshness and vibrancy to your meal. Steam them until they are tender-crisp, and drizzle a bit of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to enhance their natural flavors.
  5. Grilled Corn on the Cob: If you’re looking to add a touch of summer to your meal, grill some corn on the cob. Brush the corn with a bit of olive oil or vegan butter, and season with salt and pepper before grilling until slightly charred. The smoky and sweet flavors of the corn will complement the spiciness of the tofu and tomato penne wonderfully.

Fiery and flavorful Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne; a delightful fusion of tangy tomato sauce and crispy marinated tofu


With these delightful side dishes, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying meal centered around “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne.” The combination of fresh salads, warm garlic bread, roasted vegetables, or grilled corn will take your dining experience to the next level, offering a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Enjoy!

Can I make this dish ahead of time?


Yes, you can definitely prepare parts of the “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” ahead of time to save time and streamline the cooking process. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Sauce Preparation: You can make the spicy tomato sauce ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve the dish, simply reheat the sauce on the stovetop while you cook the pasta and sauté the tofu. This will allow the flavors to meld and develop even further, resulting in a more delicious sauce.
  2. Tofu Marination: Marinate the tofu in advance to infuse it with the spicy flavors. Prepare the tofu according to the recipe’s marinade instructions and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Marinated tofu not only absorbs the flavors better but also becomes more tender and flavorful when cooked.

When it’s time to serve:

  1. Cook the Pasta: Boil the pasta according to the package instructions until it reaches the desired level of doneness. Remember to salt the pasta water to enhance the pasta’s flavor.
  2. Sauté the Tofu: In a separate pan, sauté the marinated tofu until it turns golden and slightly crispy on the outside. The marinade will enhance the tofu’s taste and complement the spicy tomato sauce.
  3. Combine Everything: Once the pasta is cooked and the tofu is sautéed, combine them with the heated spicy tomato sauce in a large pan or skillet. Toss everything together gently to ensure the sauce coats the pasta and tofu evenly.
  4. Serve and Enjoy: Plate your Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne, and garnish it with some fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, for a burst of color and added flavor. Now, you have a quick and tasty meal ready to be enjoyed!

By preparing the sauce and marinating the tofu ahead of time, you can significantly reduce the cooking time when you’re ready to serve the dish. This approach allows you to enjoy a flavorful and satisfying meal without spending too much time in the kitchen.

How do I marinate the tofu?

tofu and tomato penne

Prepare the Tofu:

Start by draining the tofu and gently pressing out any excess water. You can do this by placing the tofu block on a plate, then putting a heavy object like a cast-iron pan or a couple of heavy books on top of it. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to remove excess water.

Cut the Tofu:

Once the tofu has been pressed, cut it into bite-sized cubes or rectangular pieces, depending on your preference. The smaller the pieces, the more surface area there is to absorb the marinade.

Prepare the Marinade:

In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients until well combined.

Marinate the Tofu:

Place the tofu cubes in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the tofu, making sure all pieces are well coated. Gently toss the tofu in the marinade to ensure even distribution. If using a plastic bag, you can seal it and gently massage the tofu to distribute the marinade evenly.

Let it Sit:

Cover the dish or seal the bag and let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. For more intense flavor, you can marinate it for up to a few hours or even overnight.

Cook the Tofu:

When you’re ready to prepare the “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne,” remove the tofu from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. You can either sauté the tofu in a pan with a little oil until it becomes golden and slightly crispy or bake it in the oven for a healthier option.

Now, your tofu is perfectly marinated and ready to be incorporated into the Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne recipe. Enjoy the burst of flavors that the marinade brings to your tofu, adding a delightful twist to your pasta dish!

I’m not a fan of tomatoes. Can I use a different sauce?

tofu and tomato penne

If you’re not a fan of tomatoes or prefer different flavors for your “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne,” there are alternative sauces that you can try to create a delicious and personalized dish. Here are two fantastic sauce options that can complement the spiciness of the tofu:

  1. Creamy Cashew Sauce: Creamy cashew sauce adds richness and a smooth texture to the penne dish, balancing out the spiciness with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Here’s how you can prepare it:


  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for a few hours or overnight)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, for added umami flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. In a blender or food processor, combine the soaked cashews, vegetable broth (or water), garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, adjusting the consistency with more broth or water if needed. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to maintain the dish’s spiciness. Once your creamy cashew sauce is ready, toss it with the cooked penne and sautéed tofu for a delightful twist on the original recipe.

tofu and tomato penne
  1. Pesto Sauce: Pesto sauce offers a fresh and herby alternative to the tomato-based sauce. Its aromatic basil and nutty pine nut flavors provide a delightful contrast to the spicy tofu. Here’s a simple pesto sauce recipe:


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for a vegan option)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, grated vegan parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast), and garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cooked penne and sautéed tofu with the pesto sauce for a vibrant and flavorful alternative to the original tomato sauce.

By using either the creamy cashew sauce or the pesto sauce, you can personalize the “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” to suit your taste preferences. These alternatives offer a delightful departure from the tanginess of tomatoes while still enhancing the spiciness of the tofu and creating a scrumptious pasta dish that you’ll love!

In conclusion, “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” is a delightful and flavorful plant-based meal that caters to vegans, vegetarians, and pasta lovers alike. The combination of firm or extra-firm tofu marinated in savory spices and the tangy tomato-based sauce creates a harmonious and satisfying balance of flavors. The spiciness of the dish adds a delightful kick, making it an exciting and enjoyable culinary experience.

The versatility of this recipe allows for personalization and experimentation with various pasta shapes, such as rotini, fusilli, or rigatoni, to suit individual preferences. Additionally, the dish pairs exceptionally well with side dishes like fresh green salads, garlic bread, roasted vegetables, or steamed broccoli, enhancing the meal’s overall appeal and providing a well-rounded dining experience.

Whether served as a comforting weeknight dinner or as the centerpiece of a special gathering, “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” delivers a wholesome and satisfying option that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves everyone wanting more. Embrace the freedom to adapt and customize the dish according to your liking, and savor the delightful blend of textures, flavors, and nutrients that this vibrant and plant-based pasta brings to the table.

Enjoy the deliciousness of “Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne” as you relish every spicy, tangy, and comforting mouthful. It’s a celebration of vibrant ingredients, bold flavors, and the joy of discovering delightful plant-based culinary adventures. Bon appétit!

Tofu and Tomato Penne

Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 12 ounces (340g) penne pasta (or any other pasta of your choice)
  • 14 ounces (400g) firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can (14 ounces/400g) diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare the Tofu:
  • Start by draining the tofu and gently pressing out any excess water. You can do this by placing the tofu block on a plate, then putting a heavy object like a cast-iron pan or a couple of heavy books on top of it. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes to remove excess water.
  • Once the tofu is pressed, cut it into bite-sized cubes or rectangular pieces. Set aside.
  1. Marinate the Tofu:
  • In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add the tofu cubes to the marinade and gently toss to ensure they are coated evenly. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.
  1. Cook the Pasta:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  1. Sauté the Tofu:
  • In a large skillet or pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the marinated tofu cubes to the hot skillet, reserving any leftover marinade.
  • Sauté the tofu for about 5-7 minutes, or until it turns golden and slightly crispy on all sides. Pour any leftover marinade over the tofu while cooking to enhance the flavor.
  1. Prepare the Spicy Tomato Sauce:
  • In the same skillet with the sautéed tofu, add the diced tomatoes (with their juice), dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  1. Combine Everything:
  • Add the cooked penne pasta to the skillet with the spicy tomato sauce and tofu. Toss everything together gently, ensuring the sauce coats the pasta and tofu evenly.
  1. Serve:
  • Plate the "Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne" and garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired, for an extra pop of color and flavor.


  1. Tofu Texture: For the best results, use firm or extra-firm tofu. Pressing the tofu before marinating helps remove excess water, allowing it to absorb more flavor and achieve a firmer texture when cooked.
  2. Marinating Time: While marinating the tofu for at least 30 minutes is sufficient, longer marinating times, such as a few hours or overnight, can intensify the flavors and make the tofu even more flavorful.
  3. Pasta Options: While the recipe calls for penne pasta, you can experiment with other pasta shapes like rotini, fusilli, or rigatoni. Choose a shape that holds the sauce well and complements the spicy tofu.
  4. Adjusting Spice Level: The amount of red pepper flakes can be adjusted to suit your preferred spice level. Increase or decrease the quantity according to your taste preferences.
  5. Fresh vs. Canned Tomatoes: You can use either canned diced tomatoes or fresh diced tomatoes for the sauce. Fresh tomatoes may require a bit more cooking time to break down and release their juices.
  6. Creamy Variation: If you prefer a creamy version of the dish, consider using a cashew-based sauce or vegan cream in place of the tomato sauce. The creamy element can add richness and a different dimension of flavor.
  7. Vegetable Additions: Feel free to add vegetables to the pasta for added nutrition and color. Bell peppers, spinach, or zucchini are excellent options that pair well with the spicy tofu.
  8. Garnishing: Fresh basil leaves make a lovely garnish, but you can also top the dish with vegan parmesan cheese or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for an extra burst of flavor.
  9. Leftovers: This dish stores well in the refrigerator for a few days. However, the pasta may absorb some of the sauce over time, so you can add a splash of vegetable broth or a bit of olive oil when reheating to refresh the flavors.
  10. Serving Suggestion: As mentioned before, pair the Spicy Tofu and Tomato Penne with a fresh green salad, garlic bread, or roasted vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal
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