Friday, September 25, 2009

Crispy Rice Paper Wrapped Lemon Baked Tofu with Salsa and Baby Spinach

(pictured: crispy rice paper wrapped lemon baked tofu on salsa and baby spinach with lemon tofu "jus")

Sometimes I surprise myself and this is one of those times. I saw a recipe for a chicken wrapped with rice paper months ago and made a note in my recipe journal to do something with rice paper. The original recipe was deep-fried which only happens on very rare occasions in my kitchen. Baking normally works in place of frying so I thought it was worth a try. Wow, am I glad I tried this.

The rice paper baked up crispy like an egg roll with a lemony tofu inside. Crispy rice paper wrapped tofu has become my new favorite recipe. This one may even get repeated a few times this year. Expect to see many more crispy rice paper wrapped recipes; this is my new favorite technique at the moment. I love the crispy crunch of the oven-fried rice paper wrapped on the tofu. There are so many options for this technique my head is spinning and I can’t write them down fast enough.

Crispy Rice Paper Wrapped Lemon Baked Tofu with Salsa and Baby Spinach
Serves 4 as an appetizer

Crispy Tofu Ingredients:

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch oregano, dried
1 teaspoon canola or olive oil
14 ounces extra firm tofu, thoroughly drained
4 spring roll wrappers
oil spray (canola or olive oil)

Salsa and Salad Ingredients:

2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 cucumber, finely diced
1 tablespoon white balsamic, or to taste
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups baby spinach, rinsed and spun dry


Combine the marinade ingredients (lemon zest and juice, salt, oregano and oil) and whisk to combine.

Cut the tofu into quarters that are approximately 3” by 4” by ½”. Place the tofu in the marinade and refrigerate for at least one hour, overnight would not be too long to marinate the tofu.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place the tofu and marinade in a 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes flip the tofu and bake for another 30 minutes. After the second 30 minutes flip the tofu and bake another 30 minutes. The tofu should now be a little firm and very “lemony” and lightly browned. Use a little dry white wine or water to loosen the fond (brown bits) on the bottom of the pan and reduce it over low heat to create a lemon tofu “jus”. You can thicken this sauce with a little cornstarch dissolved in water before serving if you like. If you want to be really finicky strain the sauce of the bits of oregano and lemon zest before serving.

Increase the over heat to 375 degrees.

Fill and low shallow pan (larger than the rice paper wrappers) will warm water. Place one wrapper in the warm water at a time and leave it in the water until it softens completely which should take about 30 seconds. Remove the wrapper to a flat surface covered with a sheet of paper towel. The towel will help you to be able to lift the wrapper. Place the baked tofu on the edge of one wrapper and wrap the tofu like you would a present and place it on a parchment lined half sheet pan with the seam side down. Normally I would use silpat but food browns better when indirect contact with the metal so parchment works better in this situation since you want the tofu to be crispy. Spray each paper wrapped tofu with oil and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes flip the tofu over and bake the other side for 10 minutes. You want the rice paper wrapped tofu to be evenly crisp.

When the tofu has finished baking move it to a paper towel and blot the excess oil. Serve with fresh vegetable salsa or sautéed veggies of your choice.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To plate, place the baby spinach on the bottom, top with salsa and finish with the crispy tofu. Top the tofu with lemon tofu "jus” if using.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 177.66
Calories From Fat (47%) - 83.98

Total Fat - 9.96g
Saturated Fat - 0.78g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 135.46mg
Potassium - 846.51mg
Total Carbohydrates - 13.4g
Fiber - 3.72g
Sugar - 6.7g
Protein - 13.02g

The nutritional information above assumes a teaspoon of oil is absorbed by the rice paper from the oil spray. I suspect the fat is overstated but would prefer to be conservative with my numbers. It must be all those years in accounting that I can't shake the need to be conservative with my numerical estimates.


I am totally in love with the baked rice paper wrap technique. The results exceeded my expectations. The crispy egg roll like skin on the lemon tofu is a complete winner. If you don’t try any other recipe on my blog try this technique it works really well.

My husband told me this was his favorite savory tofu recipe that I have made so far, so I guess that means it is as good as I thought it was. I had intended to serve this as an appetizer but we both enjoyed it so much we ate both servings and made this the majority of our dinner. It was so good that nutrition went out the window tonight. Glad we had our green drink at least that part of dinner was super healthy.

If you are wondering why I didn’t use lemon juice in the salsa I was concerned the recipe would be “too lemony” and thought the sweetness of the white balsamic would be a nice counterpoint. Regular balsamic would have stained the vegetables a dark color, which is why I used white balsamic. If you don’t have white balsamic you can substitute a white wine vinegar gastrique instead.

1 comment:

  1. Made this tonight and it was amazing!! Thanks for sharing. :)


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