Lemon Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

Crispy coated tofu tossed in a sauce of fresh lemon and cracked black pepper. This Lemon Pepper Tofu is easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes.

Seasoned tofu with lemon served with rice and asparagus.

Before going vegan I was a big fan of chicken. Lemon Pepper Chicken was one meal I loved, but it was a given considering it was flavored with lots of citrus and a bite of pepper.

I choose not to eat chicken, and over time tofu has become my favorite protein source. I find it just as versatile and enjoyable especially when handled the right way. So, I wanted to make this tofu to combine my love for tofu with a flavor combination I still very much enjoy.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Dinner Idea

  • Lots of bold flavor using simple ingredients. We get the fresh flavors of the lemon zest and pepper coating the tofu as well as those same flavors infused into the roasted asparagus.
  • Another budget-friendly meal that tastes high class. The flavoring for this meal is so simple even though we are using a DIY version of the lemon pepper seasoning. And using tofu is a very budget-friendly, high-protein option to use in place of meats like salmon or chicken.
  • This meal is easy to make and comes together in less than 30 minutes.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Tofu: I used super firm tofu and cut them into small squares, but you can also cube them. Super firm tofu tends to be more dense, but feel free to use extra firm tofu as an alternative and just press some of the water out of it before using.
  • Cornstarch: You can also use potato flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour or regular flour for the coating. Cornstarch is very affordable and really does a great job crisping up the tofu and thickening our sauce. If you do not wish to use cornstarch in the sauce, arrowroot works best as an alternative.
  • Asparagus: Make sure to clean and trim the woody parts of the stems off. If not a fan of asparagus, you can also try this with broccoli or roasted carrots.
  • Lemon: For the freshest flavor, use fresh lemons. I used one lemon for the tofu and an extra one for the asparagus.
  • Pepper: Nothing beats fresh cracked black pepper, but pre-ground still works. You can add more or less pre-ground based on your preference and how fresh the flavor is.
  • Garlic: Just a little goes a long way for this recipe and really compliments the lemon and pepper flavors in the sauce.
Asparagus, tofu, seasonings, cornstarch and lemons on a cutting board.

How to Make Lemon Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

To make this meal the fastest, I prep the dredge for the tofu first and set that aside to prep the asparagus. Once I put the asparagus in the oven, I go ahead and pan-fry the tofu.

Lemon Pepper Asparagus

Trim the ends of your asparagus and place on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and a splash of oil. Coat the asparagus well and spread out evenly on the tray and bake as you prepare the tofu.

Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets

Combine your dredging ingredients in a bowl and slice your tofu as desired. Coat each tofu piece and heat up a pan with oil. Once hot, add the tofu in and cook until golden on both sides.

As the tofu cooks, whisk together all of your sauce ingredients. When the tofu is done cooking, remove it from the pan, add another splash of oil and add in your red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and then pour in your sauce and reduce it down until slightly thickened.

Add the tofu back into the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve the tofu and asparagus together with extra grated lemon zest on top.

Expert Tips

  • This recipe uses a DIY lemon pepper seasoning. Between the seasoning of the tofu and the sauce that it is coated in, we have infused fresh lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper into each tofu cutlet for the ultimate flavor. This also gives you more of an ability to adjust flavors to your liking versus using a commercially prepared seasoning.
  • If you’d like your tofu to have extra texture, freeze a block of extra firm tofu, thaw and then press out the liquid before starting this recipe. It truly takes it up a level and the texture is more meaty.
  • Cut the tofu into your preferred shapes. I went for a thinner slab kind of like a tofu cutlet, but you can cube it or cut into thick triangles based on your preference. Note, if you change the surface area you may need to adjust the cooking time to ensure all sides are golden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake my tofu instead of pan-frying it?

Absolutely. You still want to dredge your tofu in the cornstarch mixture. You can spray the tofu with some oil and then place in the oven at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until the tofu is nice and crisp around the edges. Then cook your sauce as instructed and toss the tofu in to coat.

What’s the difference between super firm tofu and extra firm tofu?

Super firm tofu is often vacuum sealed with a small amount of water. It’s denser and doesn’t require any additional pressing out of the package. Extra firm tofu is typically packed in more water. It is softer and for some recipes benefits from being pressed of excess water.

What would be a good alternative to asparagus?

You can season and roast either broccoli or sliced carrots in place of the asparagus. You could also sauté some spinach or kale with some garlic and top the finished greens with a squeeze of fresh lemon, some zest and fresh cracked pepper before serving.

Can I use lemon pepper seasoning?

If you’d like to add more lemon pepper flavor, I would recommend adding some lemon pepper seasoning to the tofu coating. Use the amount you feel comfortable with, but note that not all lemon pepper seasoning is made the same. Check to see the amount of sodium added to avoid over salting your dish.

How long does this last?

This dish is best enjoyed freshly made and warm. If meal prepping, store cooled tofu and asparagus in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

How to Serve

This meal is great served with quinoa or rice to balance the plate with the plant-based protein from the tofu and the antioxidant loaded asparagus. And, because of the combo of iron-rich tofu along with the citrus from the lemons, this also happens to be an excellent meal for absorbing more iron.

More Delicious Tofu Recipes

Citrus and pepper seasoned tofu and asparagus served together with rice.
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Top down view of seasoned tofu, asparagus and rice.

Lemon Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Crispy coated tofu tossed in a sauce of fresh lemon and cracked black pepper. This Lemon Pepper Tofu is easy to make and ready in less than 30 minutes.




  • 1 lb asparagus, woody stems removed
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon

Seasoned Tofu

  • 1 (450g) block super firm tofu, cut into cubes or slabs
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil


  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 12 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


  1. Set the oven to 425F. Add your trimmed asparagus to a lined baking sheet and top with a small splash of avocado oil, the nutritional yeast, black pepper, salt and lemon juice. With your hands, toss the asparagus to coat and then place in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.
  2. To a dish or bowl, add the cornstarch, nutritional yeast, pepper, thyme and salt and give it a good mix to combine. Take the tofu pieces and roll in the mixture to coat.
  3. Warm your oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the tofu pieces in and allow to cook and sear for 3-5 minutes or until golden before flipping to the other side to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Try not to disturb the tofu too much as it cooks to avoid it sticking to the pan.
  4. While the tofu cooks, combine the lemon juice, zest, maple syrup, black pepper, vegetable broth and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Remove the cooked tofu from your pan. Add a teaspoon of oil and sauté your garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Pour in your sauce and allow to cook down for 2-3 minutes or until it has slightly thickened. Add your tofu back to the pan and coat with the sauce. Top with any additional lemon zest you have on hand and serve with the asparagus.


If you would like to add additional lemon pepper flavoring to this dish, I would recommend adding 1/4 tsp of lemon pepper seasoning to the cornstarch mixture. I left it out as the fresh zest and citrus in the sauce was a great compliment to the seasoned peppery tofu.

If you’d like your tofu to have extra texture, freeze a block of extra firm tofu, thaw and then press out the liquid before starting this recipe. It truly takes it up a level and the texture is more meaty.

Cut the tofu into your preferred shapes. I went for a thinner slab, but you can cube it or cut into thick triangles based on your preference. Make sure to adjust cooking time as needed.

If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, then let me know what you thought in the comments below! And if you loved it, don’t forget to rate it too. Feel free to follow on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for the latest nutrition tips and recipe videos.


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  1. OMG Catherine, this recipe is amazing. This is the best lemon pepper tofu I’ve ever had and it’s super simple to make! The sauce is absolutely divine! 🤩 The asparagus with nutritional yeast is perfect and I cannot imagine ever eating asparagus another way. Thank you!

    1. Angie! You are the sweetest! Thank you so much for making this and gosh what a kind review. I always swear by the nutritional yeast, it adds such great umami flavor. Thank you again for making this! 🙂

  2. Omg Catherine seriously you’re a genius! This tastes like something from a restaurant and it was so easy for weeknight to throw together.

    I will say the bold lemon flavor was too much for my kids skeptical taste (I knew it was a risky one haha)

    Thank you for sharing your creativity with the world!

  3. Loved this! Super straightforward and delicious. Packed with flavor and my favorite part is that it’s made with things you likely already have lying around. I was looking for a good recipe with asparagus because that’s the veg I had on-hand, and this was a real winner! Thank you!

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