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White plate of pesto green beans and crispy tofu with basil and a white napkin

Fresh Pesto Green Beans and Crispy Tofu

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • Food Processor


  • 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed

For the Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts
  • salt to taste

For the Tofu

  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast If you do not have this, you can omit it.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Prepare the Tofu

  • Open the tofu package and drain. Squeeze gently with your hands to release more liquid.
  • Wrap tofu in paper towels, cheesecloth, or a lint-free dishtowel. Place in a shallow dish, cover with a plate or storage container lid, and add weight to the top. You can use a can or jar, anything that is water-resistant.
  • Allow tofu to press and drain for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight. If you are pressing more than 20 minutes, place in the refrigerator.
  • Once the tofu has pressed, remove the weight and the paper towels. Pat the tofu dry.
  • Cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces of about 1" around. Pat these cubes dry.

Make the Pesto

  • Add tbe basil, walnuts, salt, and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor.
  • Pulse once or twice to break down the ingredients a bit.
  • While continuously running the machine, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
  • Taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Set aside.

Make the Tofu

  • Add the oil to a nonstick skillet over medium heat and allow it to become very hot but not smoking.
  • While the oil heats, add the cornstarch, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder to a zip bag or storage container with a lid. Add the tofu and give it a few shakes.
  • Add the tofu to the skillet. Fry on the first side until it is golden brown and completely released from the pan, at least 20 minutes.
  • Flip the tofu carefully and fry on the second side for at least 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once the tofu is fried to your preference, remove the tofu from the oil, keeping the oil in the pan. Life the tofu out with a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or a draining rack over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.

Make the Green Beans

  • Put the skillet with the oil back over medium heat.
  • Add the washed, dried, and trimmed green beans to the skillet.
  • Sprinkle with a bit of salt, stir to thoroughly coat in oil, and saute until green beans are browned and fork tender.
  • Add half the pesto to the skillet, thoroughly tossing with the green beans.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and plate the green beans. Top with crispy tofu and more pesto. Garnish with fresh lemon zest, freshly grated parmesan cheese, or ripped basil and serve immediately.