January 13, 2012

adobo marinaded tofu sliders with chipotle lime mayo

Why is tiny food just so darn adorable? Baby carrots, cornichons, tiny cupcakes, tiny muffins, tiny doughnuts, tiny cakes, mini pies. Don't you think it would be totally awesome if all food was made tiny? I'm pretty sure that I could be at least 5% happier if all my food was made tiny. and covered in chocolate. I'm just saying. I really adore tiny burgers, and it's so sad that they're rarely offered vegetarian friendly. On occasion I will frequent a local dog friendly pub that serves Morning Star Vegetarian Sausage Patties on tiny slider buns, which always puts a smile on my face. They let me bring my dog into their restaurant and they feed me tiny burgers. It's very special.

Vegetarian sliders are so simple to make. You can use pre-made veggie sausage patties similar to the Morning Star variety. You can make tiny black bean or chick pea burgers, or you can use marinated and baked tofu.  For this recipe, I decided to marinate the tofu in a sweet savory spicy sauce. I bought a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Removed the peppers, and used some of the sauce to combine with cocoa, oil, maple syrup, mustard, and barbecue sauce and then slathered it all over the tofu. Adobo sauce can be bought in a can with chipotle peppers, and consists of tomato puree, paprika, sugar, salt, onions, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and oregano. The chipotle peppers are extremely hot, therefore I like to discard them, using only the sauce.  If you are looking to pick up a bag of slider buns and live in the Seattle area, they sell them at Metropolitan Market, QFC, and Whole Foods. If your local grocer doesn't sell slider specific buns, you can substitute for tiny dinner rolls or you can make tiny buns from scratch, albeit much more work.

Here's the deal with tofu. Eat it plain, and it's not going to taste that great. If you don't marinate it in the right sauce and cook it properly, you're going to be left with something unappetizing. But, if you marinate tofu in the right sauce and cook it to perfection, it can be totally amazing. Also, you're putting it onto tiny buns, which means two thumbs up for adorable. If you're a hater or a non-believer, just try this recipe. You will see.

(makes 12 sliders)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 - 30 minutes

1 - 2 tbsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers, depending on desired spiciness
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp cocoa powder
10 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup mayo
1 chipotle pepper or adobo sauce, diced
1 tbsp lime juice
12 mini slider buns, toasted


1. Remove the tofu from the package and drain any excess water. Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and then in a clean dry dish cloth. Set the tofu on the counter and place something heavy on top to press out any excess water (ex. cast iron frying pan, pot, book). Press the tofu for ten minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425ยบ F.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the adobo sauce, mustard, maple syrup, oil, barbecue sauce, and cocoa powder.

4. Slice the tofu into 1.5 L x 1.5 H x 0.5 W inch pieces. Pour the marinade into a wide bowl or a baking dish. Lay the tofu slices in the sauce, covering each piece evenly, and let sit for 10 minutes.

5. Once the tofu has marinaded, place the slices onto a baking tray. Brush any excess sauce onto the tops, ensuring that each piece is covered. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. If you prefer your tofu soft, then bake for less time. Personally, I prefer my tofu a little crispy and bake for the full 30 minutes.

6. Wash and thinly slice the napa cabbage. Place the cabbage into a bowl and sprinkle with the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Set to the side.

7. In a small bowl, whisk the mayo, chipotle pepper, and lime juice. If you prefer your mayo less spicy, add 1 tsp of adobo sauce and omit the pepper or use 1/4 instead of the whole.

8. Once the tofu has baked, turn the oven to broil. Place the slider buns on a baking sheet, face open, and toast for 1 - 2 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them, they can burn easily.

9. Assemble the sliders with a piece of tofu, mayo, and some cabbage.


  1. Looks really good! One question, where can one get "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce" in Seattle?

    1. They are sold in most grocery stores in the hispanic aisle along with other peppers and hot sauce.