Thursday, March 1, 2012

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips

All pictures from

[UPDATE 10/11/2012: I no longer use this recipe. It is too time consuming and my children prefer to eat Fried Tofu. You may try this if you wish, but it is not one of our favorites.]

There is a myth among regular folk that vegans don't like meat. We don't like cheese. And therefore we don't eat it.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Most of us make this decision for health reasons; which explains why things like Daiya cheese and tempeh are so popular.

Recently I have been totally craving chewy, warm, meaty textures. In my next post I'll be discussing a way to meet those needs by consuming cooked, whole grains and incorporating them into salads, stews, etc. But for now I am totally stoked (and in love!) with these "chicken-like" strips.

Kids love'em. Mine did, but wanted them a little thicker so they could taste the "chicken." Cutting them thicker would be my one suggestion because they tend to shrink down a bit with the water loss from being baked in the oven.

Also, if you have cookie cutters you could slice the tofu and then cut it out into shapes of stars, etc. Kids LOVE fun shapes, and I am going to do this the next time I make these.

And since we've just had an inspiring discussion on the soy debate, we can move forward confidently knowing that these, basically ground-up beans, are good for you.

I am totally lazy so I am just stealing all this stuff from, where I found the recipe.

First, press your tofu to get all the water out.

Angela Liddon just wrapped her tofu in towels, then piled a bunch of heavy books on top of them for at least 20 minutes. I copied her exactly, with great results.

Then slice your tofu. Dip it in the corn starch/nondairy milk mixture. Then dip it in your breadcrumb/cornmeal mixture. Placing it on the pan, it shouldn't need oil at all.

Bake for 18 minutes the first side, then 10-13 minutes the second side, and voila!! "Chickenless" nuggets!! Great lunch, or a great dinner served with potato fries, ketchup, and salad. Dipping these in ketchup and mustard will totally take your taste buds to the next nugget level!

We ate these for lunch today with ketchup and cut fruit; it was thoroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Have fun!

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips

Yield: 2-3 servings

Inspired by cornmeal tofu in Veganomicon


1 package firm or extra firm tofu (I use organic, non-GMO, about 350 grams)
1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (use gluten-free if necessary)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne powder (for a kick of heat)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 large sweet potato + 1 tsp oil + 1/2 tsp cinnamon + pinch salt + 1/4 tsp cumin

1. Press tofu: Rinse the tofu with water and place a couple kitchen towels on the counter. Wrap the tofu with another towel, place another towel on top, and finally several heavy cookbooks on top. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to soak out the water.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and cornstarch in a shallow dish. In another bowl, mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and spices. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F and grease 2 baking sheets with oil. Slice the potato into fries and then coat with 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cumin, and a couple pinches of salt. Lay out on greased baking sheet.

3. Slice tofu into 8-9 strips, lengthwise, depending on how thick you want it. With one hand dip the tofu strip into the milk mixture and then into the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture. Use other hand to sprinkle dry mixture all over the tofu. Coat both sides entirely and then place on baking sheet. Repeat with the rest.

4. Bake tofu on middle rack and fries on bottom rack at 400F. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the tofu and fries, and then bake for another 15-20 minutes until crispy. Remove tofu and broil the fries for a few minutes, watching carefully, until golden and charred in some spots. Remove and serve with ketchup!


  1. I wonder if I made this and told my boys that these were my homemade chicken strips if they would even be able to tell a difference? I cooked brown rice spaghetti noodles and didn't say a thing and everyone scarfed them down and did not even notice. Sometimes it seems like if we as mom's totally downplay it then they go right along and don't even notice!

    1. I have wondered the same thing. Essie and Samuel only think it's weird if I start hounding them with questions, "Is it yummy? Does it taste like chicken? Do you like them? Should I make these again? How come you aren't eating very much?" On and on and on. Poor Essie and Samuel.

      I need to just do my best, put the food in front of them, and be quiet. Let it go. ReLaX, Ashlee!

      The only thing I have noticed that kids seem to really detect is milk. If it is unsweetened almond milk, or even soy milk, most kids who are new to plant based foods (guests and stuff) won't touch it. My kids recently discovered that they love coconut milk. Sweet!

  2. Ashlee,
    tell me, I would like to know what your favorite top 3 books are about turning to whole foods diet and recipes. I would like to invest in 1-2 books and don't know where to start, there are so many!

  3. Seven Secrets Cookbook by Neva and Jim Brackett is my number one suggestion. It is especially great for transitioning.

    They have simple recipes that don't take 2 hours to make, and they are mainstream foods like pot pie, shepherd's pie, cashew cheese, mac n cheese, stir fry, pasta, bread, Mexican food, etc. It can be found on Amazon for $12.

    Then, I would do Peas and Thank you, by Sarah Matheny. She has two small children (some of her recipes can be found on her website -- google Peas and Thank you). She has good things like meatless meatballs, black bean veggie burger, chewy granola bars (also on my blog, we love these), muffins, etc.

    After that, you could do any Dreena Burton. Her recipes are pretty simple, and always delicious. She has three children.

    If you are looking for fancy foods then Isa Chandra Maskowitz (Vegan with a Vengeance, Veganomicon, Vegan brunch, etc) has amazing recipes that are delicious, too.

    For informative books I would definitely start out with something by Dr. Joel Fuhrman or Dr. John McDougall. Furhman's book EAT TO LIVE, and "Disease-proof you child" are both very good. They are super-intense, and I don't follow their advice strictly because my kids need to eat more than just fruits and vegetables with raw nuts. They also need grains, beans, breads, and seeds.
    So if you do choose to read these books, dont get too perfectionist, or you'll want to give up.

    Hope this helps!