Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy in a creamy peanut sauceI knew a guy once who hated the music of John Mayer. He’d get really worked up about it. At the time that I knew him, Your Body is a Wonderland was popular and getting loads of air play. It was inescapable. When the song would inevitably start playing, this guy would launch into a diatribe about John Mayer and how much he loathed him. That he held so much anger for John Mayer was always really amusing to me because it’s like holding animosity for celery. It’s bland enough to be forgettable but hardly anything worth getting worked up over. (Even to this day, whenever David and I hear John Mayer on the radio, we have to have a faux tantrum or at least mutter a few expletives about John Mayer in jest.)

That said, like the perfectly pleasant John Mayer, there are plenty of things that other people deem bland that I really enjoy – like tofu, rice, and bok choy. Oh, that reminds me I have a recipe to share! As I mentioned on my cast iron grill post, this one can be made on your indoor grill pan or on a traditional outdoor grill.

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with a creamy peanut sauceI’ll admit that on its own tofu doesn’t have much flavor, but with the right marinade or grill pan, it soaks up all kinds of flavor like a sponge. I discovered a few months ago that bok choy is that way too! Bok choy is a vegetable that I never minded in dishes but was hardly noteworthy. The leaves have a bit of a collard green meets arugula-thing going on, but the stalks themselves are practically devoid of flavor. They’re more like water in a fibrous packaging.

My feelings about bok choy changed, though, when I heard about grilling it. When baby bok choy is sliced down the middle, lightly oiled and salted, and then laid face down on the grill, it picks up all of that grilled flavor. With nothing else to dampen the taste, it takes on a lovely smokiness all its own. Suddenly, bok choy was something I needed in my grocery basket.

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy This Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Creamy Peanut Sauce takes those three maligned “bland” foods and makes them a bowl of saucy, smoky deliciousness.

Grilled Tofu Satay & Creamy Peanut SauceIt’s all brought together with a healthy ladling of creamy peanut sauce made with light coconut milk. This smooth, lightly sweet sauce is so delicious, it’s practically drinkable. (I held back on my sauce portion for the purposes of the photos, but trust me, I was much more generous with my pouring when it was time to eat!) The velvety sauce along with the salty, smoky tofu and bok choy all come together and combine in a choir of “mmm….”

Add a few dashes of Sriracha, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkling of cilantro for a quick lunch or dinner that is far from bland.  No tantrums necessary.

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Serving Size: 4

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Creamy Peanut Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 16 oz package super firm tofu in aseptic package,* cut into 8 slices that are ½-inch thick
  • Canola oil, for lightly oiling grill pan & bok choy
  • 4 baby bok choy, evenly sliced in half length-wise
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • Garnish: (Optional) Chopped cilantro and lime wedges
  • Creamy Peanut Sauce
  • ½ cup light coconut milk
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp agave syrup


  1. In a shallow glass baking dish, combine tamari, brown rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Lay the tofu slices in the marinade, coating each side. Marinate for 30 minutes to 8 hours, flipping once half way through. The longer the tofu marinates, the more flavorful it will be.
  2. After the tofu has marinated, heat a lightly oiled cast iron grill pan to a medium-high heat. Grill the tofu in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Grill each side for about 3 minutes, until the tofu easily moves from the pan and has dark grill marks. (If you move the tofu is still sticking to the pan, it’s not done yet.) Once the tofu pieces are done, move them to a separate plate.
  3. Lightly oil and salt the cut side of the baby bok choy. Grill the bok choy with the cut side down on the warm cast iron grill pan for a couple of minutes and then flip and grill for a minute longer. Work in batches, if necessary. When the bok choy has dark grill marks and the leaves are slightly wilted, move them to a separate plate.
  4. For the creamy peanut sauce:
  5. In a high speed blender, combine all of the ingredients for about 30 seconds, until smooth and creamy. To make the sauce without a high speed blender, mince the garlic and then whisk all of the ingredients with a fork or whisk in a bowl until fully combined and creamy.
  6. To serve, plate the brown rice with tofu onto each plate along with 2 grilled sections of bok choy. Drizzle with Creamy Peanut Sauce. If using, garnish with cilantro and lime to squeeze on the tofu.


*This recipe is for tofu in an aseptic package. If you’re using water-packaged tofu, it will need to be pressed first.

Grilled Tofu Satay & Bok Choy with Peanut Sauce


  1. says

    I threw some bok choy on the grill on a whim when I was camping a few weeks ago and it was divine! This recipe sounds awesome. You got really nice grill marks on that tofu!

  2. says

    This looks so yummy! I love tofu and bok choy, although I admit that there was a learning curve when it came to cooking it. Like you said, with the right sauce it’s really good! I love your blog, thank you for putting out great info and spreading the vegan message. Sending hugs!

    • says

      You’re so right about the learning curve with tofu! It used to seem so complicated with the pressing, marinating, and cooking. Now it’s easy to make delicious tofu in no time.

      Thank you for the kind words about my blog! I really appreciate it! Hugs back at you! 😀

  3. says

    I have a real problem with satay sauce – I can’t keep it in the house or I just eat in on everything. Like toast. Worrying! I love the choice of brown rice – I can see the nutty flavour going so well here.

  4. says

    Mmmm, looks so good, Cadry! And I was really wondering where that John Mayer intro was going (I admit, I like his music much more now than I did when that song was overplayed) – but it makes perfect sense!

  5. cookeasyvegan says

    Oh, those seductive grill marks again. Everything tastes better with grill marks! I can just feel my grill pan of the future creeping closer and closer. Your marinade and peanut sauce sound really good.

    As for John Mayer, a woman I used to work with occasionally received free concert tickets to a large venue where she booked work-related events, and she would take a few of her co-workers with her to the concerts. I got to go to a John Mayer concert, and he was surprisingly good in person. Great concert, in fact. I also went to hear (see) Alice Cooper, and much to my surprise, I loved the concert, though I did have to wear ear plugs. I appreciate your dealing with your friend’s ranting, though, because the same woman who took me to Alice Cooper and John Mayer, would go ballistic if she heard Tom Petty. :)

    • says

      You are so right about the powers of live music! Even singers that I’m only lukewarm about are often brought to life when I see them in person. I love the band Scissor Sisters, but at first I wasn’t crazy about their last album. Then we went to their concert on the tour promoting that particular album, and I totally fell in love with it. Now I think almost every song from that album is great. When you see how committed/passionate/excited a singer is when performing her/his own music, it is contagious.

  6. says

    Oh this whole dish looks incredible! I can’t imagine any of it being someone’s food version of their John Mayer. I have to confess that I also completely dislike John Mayer and can completely relate to your friend! Though I keep my rants internal so I don’t look completely crazy to those around me. I can fake it for the sake of polite company.

    • says

      That is so nice to hear, Ana! Thank you! I actually do both the photography and the food styling for the blog. (David films & edits our videos, though.) It’s something I’ve been working on over the years. I’m glad to hear that it’s improving! It’s definitely a constant process trying to learn new things and get better.

  7. says

    I also am guilty of neglecting bok choy as a regular in my veggie rotation, but am really intrigued by the idea of trying it grilled! Plus, I will happily gobble anything in a peanut sauce :)

  8. Tracey says

    I’m pretty new to tofu. So, firm tofu in aseptic package doesn’t need to be presses prior? Second, is the lite coconut milk from a can? Thank you!

    • says

      Hi, Tracey!

      That’s right. If you get the super firm tofu in an aseptic package, you don’t have to press it because there’s not much water inside of it. (Some people still do, but I think that’s unnecessary.) If you get the kind that’s packaged in water, you’ll generally need to press it first. I talk more about aseptic tofu and the kind I buy in this post. For the water packed variety, here’s a video about how to press it.

      The light coconut milk is from a can. This is the brand I buy.

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