Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich

September 30, 2019

This Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich recipe was originally published on November 28th, 2012. That’s from I Love Vegan’s very first month online! If you’re curious, you can take a peek at the original post on the original, thanks to Wayback Machine.

After shuffling through different recipe plugins, a few ingredients had going missing making the recipe incomplete. Since it’s been popping up when people google “tofu sandwich”, I figured they deserve an updated and complete recipe! Not to mention some appetizing new images and accurate nutrition information.

I’ve included the original image at the end of the post to jog your memory if you think you’ve made this recipe before.

Ingredients for making smoky maple tofu sandwich on a wood cutting board.

Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich

This tofu sandwich is basically a TLT (a tofu, lettuce, tomato sandwich), with a few extra bells and whistles.

We’ve got the basics: toasted bread, smoky maple tofu, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, vegan mayo, plus some deluxe extras!

Caramelized onions, mashed avocado, and Dijon mustard make this tofu sandwich downright fancy.

This smoky maple tofu sandwich is sweet and savoury and very hearty. It’s loaded with protein (20g), fibre (9g), vitamins (great source of B vitamins) and minerals (29% of your daily iron!) Scroll to the bottom for complete nutrition info because this recipe is a vegan powerhouse.

Left: raw, sliced white onion. Right: caramelizing onions in a cast-iron pan.Left: marinating tofu in a plastic food storage bag. Right - cooked slices of marinated smoky maple tofu.

Marinated Tofu for Smoky Maple Sandwiches

Mix up the marinade (garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, and liquid smoke.) Slice a 350g block of tofu into about ¼” (½ cm) slices. (I cut a block of Sunrise Soya Extra-Firm Tofu into 16 slices and it works out to about ¼” thick.

Use a paper towel to pat or press the tofu to remove excess moisture so that the tofu can soak up the marinade.

Place the sliced tofu and marinade into a sandwich sized food storage bag or a shallow dish. Let the tofu marinate for 30-60 minutes.

The longer you marinate the tofu, the more flavourful your tofu sandwiches will be. You can marinate it overnight too.

Assembling smoky maple tofu sandwiches.

Customizing Your Tofu Sandwich

  • Marinate tempeh instead of tofu for a tempeh bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Tempeh is less absorbent so I’d marinate it overnight.
  • Skip the caramelized onions for a quicker, easier sandwich. Caramelized onions add smoky flavour and sweetness to this sandwich, but making them can take up to an hour. Omit them for a simple but flavourful tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
  • Swap maple syrup for brown sugar. You’ll lose the maple flavour but retain the sweetness and caramel notes. Brown sugar is cheaper and a common pantry staple.
  • Skip the avocado. Avocados are fickle things and they’re not always ripe when you need them! If you don’t have any ripe avocados just keep it simple with the vegan mayo instead.

Close up shot of smoky maple tofu sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, tofu, caramelized onion, and mashed avocado.

More Tofu Sandwich Ideas

Tofu sandwiches are delicious, balanced vegan meals, so we have a few recipes for them here on I Love Vegan. From burgers, to wraps, to breakfast sandwiches, here are our favourite tofu sandwiches:

Stacked smoky maple tofu sandwiches on a plate.


Stacked smoky maple tofu sandwiches on a plate.

Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich

  • Author:
    Brittany Mueller

  • Prep Time:
    20 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    1 hour

  • Total Time:
    1 hour 20 minutes

  • Yield:
    4 sandwiches

  • Category:
    Lunch & Dinner, Sandwich

  • Method:

  • Cuisine:


All the TLT (tofu, lettuce, tomato sandwich) basics: toasted bread, smoky maple tofu, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, vegan mayo, plus some deluxe extras! Caramelized onions, mashed avocado, and Dijon mustard make this tofu sandwich downright fancy.


Caramelized Onions:

  • 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced
  • ½ tbsp vegan butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • * 1 tbsp water, as needed

Marinated Smoky Maple Tofu:

  • 1 (350 g) block extra-firm tofu
  • ½ tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke

Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich:

  • 8 slices of wholegrain rye bread
  • 1 ripe avocado, mashed
  • Vegan mayo, to taste
  • Dijon mustard, to taste (optional)
  • 4 leaves of green leaf lettuce
  • 48 slices of tomato


Marinated Smoky Maple Tofu:

  1. Slice tofu into ¼” (½ cm) slices. Press or pat tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  2. In a shallow dish or sandwich-sized food storage bag, add garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, water, and liquid smoke. Add the sliced tofu and marinate for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, begin caramelizing the onions and preparing your sandwich toppings.
  3. After caramelizing the onions, pre-heat ½ tbsp canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the marinated tofu to the skillet (do not crowd the pan), but reserve and excess marinade. Cook both sides until golden-brown. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan with the tofu, stirring gently. Continue cooking until the tofu has absorbed all the marinade. Set aside.

Caramelized Onions:

  1. In a thick-bottomed skillet, heat vegan butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and season with ¼ tsp salt.
  2. Adjust the heat and stir occasionally so that the onions brown and caramelize but don’t burn or dry out. Don’t stir too often or the onions with take longer to caramelize. As the onions cook down you’ll need to stir them more often to prevent burning.
  3. If the onions begin to get dry, add 1 tbsp water.
  4. Once the onions are very soft and golden to golden-brown in colour, remove from heat (approximately 45-60 minutes).

Assembling the Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwiches:

  1. Lightly toast each slice of bread.
  2. Spread one slice with mashed avocado, and on slice with vegan mayo and Dijon mustard (optional).
  3. Top the toasted mayo/mustard bread with a leaf of lettuce, 1-2 slices of lightly salted tomato, 4 slices of tofu, and ¼ of the caramelized onions. Top with the toasted avocado bread.
  4. Slice sandwich in half.

Keywords: tofu sandwich, tofu sandwich recipes, vegan tofu sandwich

Original smoky maple tofu sandwich image from 2012.

The post Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich appeared first on I LOVE VEGAN.

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