Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts with Tofu

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A sweet and salty way to get anyone to enjoy tofu.

  • Author: Veg Girl RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner


  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 16 oz. extra or super firm tofu, frozen and thawed, cut into 1-inch long planks
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 14 oz. Brussels sprouts, shredded in food processor, using blade attachment or thinly sliced by hand
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the tofu planks and brown on all sides. It will likely take about 8 minutes. Remove from pan.
  2. I use this time, while the tofu is cooking, to prep the Brussels sprouts.
  3. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and remaining tofu. Brown on all sides. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the first batch of tofu back to the pan and sprinkle with low sodium soy sauce. I like to do it in 2 batches because otherwise the pan is too crowded and you don’t get good crispy sides.
  5. Reduce heat a bit and add garlic, pecans, and dark brown sugar. Stir together until the sugar has melted and everything is starting to clump together about 8 minutes. Watch carefully. It’s a delicate balance between melting the sugar and burning it. I find it helps to push the mixture around the pan, using the flat end of a utensil to keep the sugar from resting too long on the bottom of the skillet. Remove from pan.
  6. If there is a coating of sugar left in the pan, remove the pan from the stove, and carefully wipe sugar off with a wet paper towel.
  7. Raise heat back to medium and add the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Toss in Brussels sprouts and cook until slightly wilted and browned, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in basil and tofu/pecan mixture, breaking up clumps with a spoon or spatula, and cook until heated through about 3 minutes.


To prep the Brussels I cut off any discoloration on the stem end, and removed any outer leaves that weren’t fresh and green. Then fed them through the food processor blade. This recipe comes together even faster if you can find already shredded or shaved Brussels sprouts.

Inspired by Caramelized Tofu from Heidi Swanson.

Nutrient content per 1½ cup serving with recommended accompaniments: 760 calories, 40 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 31 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 66 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 31 g sugar, 36 g protein


Keywords: tofu, brown sugar, Brussels sprouts