November 17th, 2016

Tofu Short Ribs With Gingery Mashed Root Veggies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour or so


All the licky, succulent flavor of a rib but without the…rib! Smother the sauce all over the gingery root veg mash and it’s like a winter parade for your taste buds. These ribs make a dazzling presentation as a centerpiece for your spread, so serve them family style on your coolest serving platter. I love to serve it with steamed asparagus, but broccoli or bok choy would be really nice, too.

This recipe is from the Chinese New Year chapter of The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, but really, the book was designed to use the recipes year round. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to have an awesome dinner! And of course you don’t have to stick to the chapter guidelines. Serve ribs on Hannukah if you feel like it. Total. Holiday. Anarchy.


~To get this recipe together in about an hour, preheat the oven for the tofu first. In the meantime, start putting the sauce together. While the sauce heats, get the tofu in the oven. And while those things are working away, throw together your root mash.

~There are a lot of super-firm tofus on the market these days, namely from Wildwood or Trader Joe’s. It’s tofu with very little moisture, so no pressing is necessary. To get the most out of it, simply give it a little squeeze with a paper towel before cooking. If you can’t find super-firm, go with extra-firm (and press it).


2 (14-ounce) packages super-firm tofu, drained, each sliced into 8-pieces widthwise (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cold vegetable broth, purchased or homemade
1 cup hoisin sauce
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1⁄3 cup rice vinegar
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon sriracha
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 1⁄2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
3⁄4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice

8 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
8 ounces rutabaga or turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the tofu on a large rimmed baking sheet and coat it on both sides with the oil and tamari. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the slices and bake for 15 minutes more.

While the tofu is in the oven, in a 2-cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously whisk the cornstarch into the vegetable broth until it’s mostly dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Transfer the sauce to a small saucepot and heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a low simmer and let the sauce thicken for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Smother the cooked tofu with the rib sauce, return it to the oven, and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and tent it with aluminum foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

Put the parsnips and rutabaga in a 4-quart pot and submerge them in water by 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Uncover and boil the parsnips and rutabaga for 10 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes. Continue to boil until everything is fork-tender, about 10 minutes more.

Drain the veggies and transfer them to a medium mixing bowl.

Heat a small pan over low heat and add the coconut oil. When it is melted, sauté the ginger and garlic just until golden, about a minute. Add the ginger and garlic to the bowl of boiled root veg, along with the salt.

Mash everything very well, then taste and adjust for salt.

SERVE: Spread out the hot root veg mash on a serving platter. Arrange the ribs over the mash, then spoon on the remaining sauce. Serve immediately, with large serving spoons.

14 comments to Tofu Short Ribs With Gingery Mashed Root Veggies

  • julie


  • Whoa. Barbecued short ribs is one of the last meat things I remember eating before becoming vegetarian, then vegan. It’s all tied up with memories of the good friend who introduced me to it. She just recently alluded to the meals we shared together back in the 70s, before I was vegan. I’ll have to make this and send her a photo — for old times sake.

  • Rachelann Barkley

    Make a video! Love you Isa!

  • Just finished making and eating this, so delicious!

  • This does sound fabulous! And sooo easy! I always worry about extra-firm tofu, though, because my experience has been that it doesn’t get smooth enough (or maybe it’s just my food processor, which is pretty old). I’d love to try this out, though!

    And I will officially stop whining about all the snow we’ve got over here. Yikes!

  • Jill

    I made this but only with the sweet potatoes but still with the ginger and garlic was really good. Side of string beans. Awesome.

  • i geb nix

    Hmmm, the recipe is missing. Also on the other pages.
    What happend?

  • Kk

    i am thinking about making this for an omni xmas dinner… how many does it serve?

  • This was delicious. I didn’t have hoisin sauce and neither does my supermarket. It is surprisingly hard to find in uptown manhattan. So I made it from a random internet recipe and most of the ingredients in this recipe are also in the hoisin sauce. Therefore, I conclude that this could be adapted by combining the two recipes and eliminating the hoisin sauce, which I will do. It was delicious and I’m making it again tonight.

  • The sauce was amazing! My husband who generally prefers meat loved it!

  • I love the flavors at play here, I will recommend that if you are making this for a big bunch of leftovers that you use tempeh or seitan in place of tofu. It’s really elegant and decadent day of, but after a few days of being-a-leftover the whole shebang has a sense of ‘mush’ and you end up really want some textural contract. Or you could just sprinkle some cashews on top. I work at a nut free school so my options there are limited for lunch leftover solutions.

  • Loved the ribs, absolutely exquisite; liked the mash.

  • Linda Martin

    Made the ribs today. They were delicious. Will make this again.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




3 × 2 =