Mabo tofu, a tofu and vegetable stew with a gravy sauce, is one of the most popular homecooked dishes in Japan. This recipe, inspired from a dish made by those homecooked meals, is recreated with a healthy touch and will be enjoyed by children and all ages. It is wonderful to serve with brown rice.

Macrobiotic Mabo Tofu [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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For the Dish:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped burdock root
  • A few pinches of sea salt
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Shiitake or Shimeji mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped lotus root

For the Seasoning Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons barley or brown rice miso
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon mirin (optional)
  • A dash of chili flakes (optional)
  • Half a 14-ounce package medium-firm or silken tofu, pressed for 15 minutes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kuzu, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Scallions, for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add ginger, garlic, burdock root, and a few pinches of sea salt and saute for 3-4 minutes until the burdock aroma turns from woody to sweet.
  2. Add onion, Shiitake mushrooms, and lotus root and keep sauteeing for 3-4 minutes until onion turns translucent.
  3. In a small bowl, make seasoning sauce by mixing the ingredients together.
  4. Add 2 cups of water, seasoning sauce, and a dash of chili flakes, if using, to the skillet, bring to a boil, and reduce flame to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Cut pressed tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and add to skillet. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly add the dissolved kuzu, stirring gently until stew thickens.
  7. Adjust flavor if necessary with shoyu and serve with garnish.


Use milder seasoning and no chili flakes for children. It is also nice to use minced tempeh for children instead of burdock. They like its dynamic, enriched protein, and it helps keep up their energy level. If you use tempeh, add a little more oil when you pan-fry it in the beginning. From The One Peaceful World Cookbook by Alex Jack and Sachi Kato (BenBella Books, 2017).

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 80 | Carbs: 10 g | Fat: 4 g | Protein: 3 g | Sodium: 249 mg | Sugar: 2 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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