This vegan fish is soft, refreshing, juicy, lemony, and full of Mediterranean flavors. It’s oven-baked with Italian seasoning and wrapped in parchment paper to concentrate its aroma and keep it juicy.
It’s really a simple dish, that you can make in half an hour in the oven, as an everyday dinner. We serve this one as a fish replacement, and we cook it exactly like white fish is cooked in Italy.
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What to expect
We developed this recipe as a vegan alternative to a popular Italian recipe of steamed fish, wrapped in parchment paper and baked in the oven.
This type of cooking, called “al cartoccio” in Italian, helps preserve moisture and aroma in the final dish. And we realized that it works very well for tofu.
So, from this recipe, you can expect the familiarity and flavors of a traditional Italian recipe: confit lemon, caramelized tomatoes, a mild garlic scent, fresh parsley, salty capers, and earthy olives.
To recall the flavor of the sea, we add a piece of nori seaweed. The result is very mild, don’t worry, and definitely less fishy than real fish. We think it’s perfect for this recipe.
The final dish is served wrapped, directly on a plate, and it creates a beautiful surprise effect when you unwrap the vegan fish, and you are inebriated with a beautiful aroma and a bright color palette.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Tofu: we use firm tofu. We don’t recommend using silken tofu or soft tofu.
- Nori seaweed (optional): the same that is used for sushi. You can find it in most supermarkets these days, or in Asian markets. Nori seaweed adds a very light sea flavor. It also looks a bit like the skin of a fish, which makes this dish even more realistic and suitable for non-vegans too.
If you can’t find nori seaweed, or if you don’t like its taste, then you can just leave it out. The veagn fish will still be delicious!
- Cherry tomatoes: you can replace them with any other small tomatoes, like dates, or plum tomatoes.
- Lemon: since you can actually eat the peal after it’s baked, we recommend using an organic lemon.
- Olives: we like to use mixed black and green olives to make the dish more colorful. We like small olives with stone. But you can use any olives, even canned ones without the stone.
- Capers: they add so much flavor to this dish. You can use either pickled capers or the ones that come in salt. In this case, wash away the salt.
- Garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil: best if the olive oil is extra virgin.
- Parsley: fresh flat-leaf parsley is very common in Italy when cooking fish, and it works great with tofu too. You can replace parsley with dill, thyme, rosemary, or oregano.
Preheat the oven to 360F (180C).
Cut 6 slices of tofu, 1/5 of an inch (0.5 cm) thin. Then cut 3 nori pieces. Each portion is made of 2 slices of tofu, and the nori sheet should be of the size of those two sizes of tofu put together.
Cut 3 thin slices of lemon, then cut each lemon slice in half. You should have 6 half-pieces of lemon.
Prepare 6 pieces of parchment paper. They should be large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Half the size of a standard oven baking tray is enough.
Then, put a piece of nori sheet on top of 3 pieces of parchment paper and season it with salt.
Now add two tofu pieces on top of the nori sheet, then season them with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Add 1 piece of lemon on top of each tofu slice. Then, for each portion, add 4 cherry tomatoes (cut in half), 10 olives, 7 capers, and 1 crushed clove of garlic.
Season each tomato with salt and pepper and a few drops of olive oil.
Cover each portion with the remaining parchment paper, and seal the edges, by folding and crushing the edge with your fingers. Put on a baking tray and bake at 360F (180C) for 30 minutes.
Serve the whole wrap on a plate. You can remove the top part before serving it, or let the person who eats it remove it themselves and have a surprise effect. I love to see the smile on people’s faces when they open the vegan fish wrap!
It’s no secret that we are tofu fans in our family! In fact, it’s one of our favorite choices for an easy dinner. That being said, if you want to make it a complete and healthy meal, check out these veggie-packed side dishes:
Nori sheet: adding one piece of nori sheet under the tofu is a great way to recall the sea flavor. Also, the nori sheet looks a bit like the skin of a fish, making this dish super realistic in flavor, texture, and look.
Tofu: do not press the tofu before steaming. A lot of tofu recipes require that, but in this one, pressing is not necessary, as we need moisture in the tofu to create vapor while the tofu cooks.
Fresh herbs: I use fresh flat-leaf parsley, but feel free to use any other Mediterranean fresh herb, such as rosemary, oregano, or dill.
Do you love tofu as much as we do? Take a look at our weeknight-friendly tofu recipes:
- Pan-fried mushroom tofu
- Lemon tofu
- Tofu Cacciatore
- Fried tofu
- Easy Tofu cream cheese
- Tofu in pizzaiola sauce
- Scrambled tofu
- Spinach tofu pesto
- Crispy spinach cutlets
Isn’t tofu incredibly versatile? Let us know in the comments below how you like to eat tofu, we’d love to hear.
Vegan fish is best eaten straight out of the oven, still in the baking paper wrapping.
If you have some leftovers, then transfer the tofu and the other ingredients from the baking paper onto a container. Then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days max.
Reheat the tofu either in a preheated oven at 360F or 180C. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave, or on a pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
We do not recommend freezing this tofu recipe.
For many more tofu ideas, check out our tofu category page.
- baking paper
- 8 ounces tofu firm or extra firm
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 30 small olives black or green
- 21 capers
- 1 sheet nori seaweed cut in 3 pieces
- 3 thin slices lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).Cut 6 slices of tofu, ⅕ of an inch (0.5 cm) thin. Then cut 3 nori pieces. Each portion is made of 2 slices of tofu, and the nori sheet should be of the size of those two sizes of tofu put together.Cut 3 thin slices of lemon, then cut each lemon slice in half. You should have 6 half-pieces of lemon.
- Prepare 6 pieces of parchment paper. Half the size of a standard oven baking tray is enough.Then, put a piece of nori sheet on top of 3 pieces of parchment paper and season it with salt.Now add two tofu pieces on top of the nori sheet, then season them with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Add 1 piece of lemon on top of each tofu slice. Then, for each portion, add 4 cherry tomatoes (cut in half), 10 olives, 7 capers, 1 crushed clove of garlic.Season each tomato with salt and pepper and a few drops of olive oil.
- Cover each portion with the remaining parchment paper, and seal the edges, by folding and crushing the edge with your fingers. Put the three wraps on a baking tray and bake at 350F (180C) for 30 minutes.
- Serve the whole wrap on a plate. You can remove the top part before serving it, or let the person who eats it remove it themselves and have a surprise effect. I love to see the smile on people's faces when they open the wrap. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley before eating.