Tofu can be hard to infuse with flavor, but Mexican hot sauce has just the right amount of vinegar and spice to transform it into a spicy, tangy filling for this vegetarian version of the classic Mexican sandwich. Grill the marinated tofu, then top it with smashed black beans, salty crumbles of Cotija cheese, Pickled Jalapeños, creamy avocado, and shredded lettuce, all inside a soft bun.
What to buy: Traditional tortas are made with either crusty rolls called bolillos or softer buns called teleras. We found that brioche or soft sandwich buns make fine substitutes.
3/4 cup mild to medium Mexican hot sauce, such as Cholula
For the torta:
1 tablespoonvegetable oil, plus more for the grill grates
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) canblack beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
4 brioche or soft sandwich buns, split
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
For the tofu:
Line a work surface with a double layer of paper towels. Place the tofu on the paper towels and cover with another double layer of paper towels. Using your hands, gently press on the towels until they’re soaked through. Remove and discard the paper towels. Cut the tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch) slices.
Pour half of the hot sauce into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Add the tofu slices in a single layer, then pour the remaining hot sauce over them, completely covering them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
For the torta:
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F).
Meanwhile, heat the measured oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beans and water, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Using the back of a fork or wooden spoon, mash about half of the beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When the grill is ready, rub the grates with a towel dipped in oil. Place the marinated tofu on the grill, season with salt, cover the grill, and let the tofu cook undisturbed until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a flat metal spatula, flip the tofu, season with salt, cover, and cook until grill marks appear on the second side and the tofu is warmed through, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate and cover loosely with foil.
Place the buns on the grill, cut-side down, and cook until grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Divide the reserved beans over both halves of the buns in an even layer. Divide the cheese and jalapeños over the bottom buns. Divide the avocado over the jalapeños and season with salt and pepper. Divide the tofu over the avocado, then divide the lettuce over the tofu. Close with the bun tops and serve.