I love chicken, beef and shrimp satays, but if you’re a vegetarian or you just want a healthy alternative, try these tofu satays. Tofu absorbs whatever flavors it’s cooked with. Be sure to buy firm tofu: the medium tofu is too soft and the extra firm too tough. Once opened, cover unused tofu with water in a container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

1 large green bell pepper, cut into 16 squares
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 16 squares
½ sweet onion, cut into 16 pieces
12 oz (375 g) firm tofu, cut into 16 cubes 2 inches square

¼ cup (60 mL) hoisin sauce
¼ cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar
5 tsp (25 mL) black bean sauce
5 tsp (25 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sesame oil
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) minced fresh garlic
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) minced fresh ginger
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

  1. Thread the pepper, onion and tofu alternately on 4 long or 8 short wooden or metal skewers, dividing the vegetables evenly among them. (If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 20 minutes in water before using them.)
  2. To make the sauce: Whisk the hoisin, sugar, bean sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Spray a barbecue or a nonstick grill pan with cooking oil and heat to medium. Grill the satays, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Brush half the sauce over the satays and continue cooking, turning occasionally, for another 10 minutes or just until the vegetables are soft. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Rose’s tip: If you don’t want to make skewers, you can grill the tofu and vegetables by themselves and serve as a plattered item.

Health tip: Black bean sauce and hoisin sauce are wonderful flavouring agents in Asian cooking but are high in sodium. Black bean sauce has 650 mg sodium per tablespoon (15 mL) and hoisin sauce has 260 mg sodium. Watch your intake.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Make ahead: Prepare the satays up to a day in advance and cook just before serving.
Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 240
Protein 9.9 g
Carbohydrates 38.7 g
Fiber 5.3 g
Total fat 7 g
Saturated fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0.5 mg
Sodium 501 mg