Rollover Dinner 1: BBQ Tofu Salad with Grilled Vegetables

published Aug 22, 2020
Rollover Dinners
BBQ Tofu Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Crispy grilled tofu and veggies are tossed in a smoky BBQ dressing for a crunchy summer salad everyone will love.

Serves6 to 8

Prep25 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Credit: Meghan Splawn

Welcome to Rollover Dinners, a series to help you make smart use of leftovers. In this post, we’re using leftovers from this grilled vegetarian dinner to make easy work of BLT-inspired sandwiches later in the week. Read the intro here.

It is high time you put tofu on the grill! This versatile protein soaks in whatever flavors you throw at it, and when paired with a bunch of peak summer produce, makes for a vegetarian dinner the whole family will love.

This recipe will teach you the best way to cook tofu, how to make a kid-friendly salad dressing out of barbecue sauce, plus how to bring the two together into the best summer salad I know. Plus, you’ll intentionally create enough leftovers to make the easiest no-cook sandwiches later in the week. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Prepping Tofu for the Grill

First, choose extra-firm tofu for grilling. Softer varieties are prone to sticking, and are harder to flip. Then, slice the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slabs, which will pick up enviable grill marks and heat through at about the same rate. A dry rub of salt and smoked paprika flavors the tofu, helps dry the tofu’s surface, and prevents the sticking and burning you’ll often find with marinades.

Make sure your grill is good and hot before you oil the grates. Add the corn and zucchini first (these take longer to cook) and then the tofu. Cook for about two minutes on the first side, then use tongs or a fish spatula to turn it. If it sticks to the grates, give it 30 more seconds of cooking before turning.

Roll Over These Leftovers into Another Easy Meal

Before you build out your finished salad, set aside 8 slices tofu (about 10 ounces), and 8 slices grilled zucchini for your Rollover Dinner. If you’ve got extra lettuce prepped, save that and a large tomato for sandwiches later in the week.

In case you’ve got picky eaters or haven’t yet introduced salads-as-a-meal to younger kids, my advice is to parcel the salad components out onto a plate, including the lettuce, with some dressing on the side or at least on the vegetables. If they only gobble up the tofu, corn, and pita chips, that one serving of romaine still counts towards their total exposure, and we count that as a dinner win!

BBQ Tofu Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Crispy grilled tofu and veggies are tossed in a smoky BBQ dressing for a crunchy summer salad everyone will love.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2 pounds

    extra-firm tofu

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 heads

    romaine lettuce

  • 2

    large tomatoes

  • 1 pound

    zucchini (about 4 medium)

  • 4 ears

    fresh corn

  • 1/2 cup

    barbecue sauce

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil, plus more for the grill

  • 1 tablespoon

    red wine vinegar

  • 1 (7-ounce) bag

    pita chips


  1. Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high. Meanwhile, prepare the tofu and vegetables. Drain 2 pounds extra-firm tofu and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices and pat the cut sides dry as well. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt.

  2. Chop, rinse, and dry 2 heads romaine lettuce and place in a large bowl. Cut 2 large tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick wedges and place on top of the romaine. Trim and slice 4 medium zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick planks. Shuck 4 ears corn. Season the zucchini and corn with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  3. Place 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. When the grill is ready, scrape the grates clean if needed. Brush the grill grates with olive oil. Place the corn and zucchini on the grill in a single layer. Cover and cook until grill marks appear. The zucchini will take about 2 1/2 minutes per side, and the corn will take 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter. Place the tofu on the grill and cook until grill marks appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the serving platter.

  5. Reserve 8 slices tofu (about 10 ounces) and 8 slices zucchini for the Rollover Dinner.

  6. Chop the remaining zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs. Tear or chop the remaining tofu into bite-sized pieces. Add everything to the salad, then crumble 1 bag pita chips into bite-sized pieces over the salad. Drizzle with about half of the dressing (1/3 cup), and toss to combine. Taste and toss with more dressing as needed.

Recipe Notes

Storage: This salad is best eaten after it is made, otherwise store the components separately and toss together with the dressing before serving.

Pan frying the tofu: Instead of grilling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add the tofu, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you may need to cook the tofu in batches). Cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned.

Credit: Kitchn