Crispy Tofu Recipe

One of the many excuses I hear from people who think transitioning to a vegan lifestyle will be too hard, is that it takes too much time to cook! To me, this is just an excuse because it is easier to keep doing what we’ve always done vs. learning new ways. Truly –  if you have time to cook that chicken breast, then you have time to make some delicious and nutritious plant based meals!

If you’ve read my past blogs about the “soy debate” and the discussion about tofu, then hopefully you are ready to dive into your first delicious tofu recipe. If not, perhaps take a minute to familiarize yourself with the types of tofu in my last Blog post. When you’re ready, get a skillet, chopping board & knife, and marinating dish and let’s get started. Trust me, this is delicious…

Now, if you are one of those people who don’t like to try anything new, then this may not be for you – you really have to have an open mind to this! I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it tastes like “chicken” because it isn’t chicken!! I personally think it tastes better because it is fresher and doesn’t have all of the inhumanities involved with getting the dead chicken to your refrigerator. Sorry, too harsh for you? Okay, I’ll stay on topic and teach you this easy recipe that I really hope you’ll give a try!

There are folks out there who say they don’t like tofu. Okay, it’s not for everyone…and I can say that I’ve had tofu that I didn’t like too! If not prepared properly, it may not taste good – I agree! But when done properly, it is a delicious way to get more plant-based proteins into your diet.

Just remember for tofu, you want to ALWAYS buy organic and that you need to press it to remove the moisture so that it takes on the flavor that you want!

Let’s get started…

You will need these Ingredients:

  • 1 block (16 oz.) of extra firm tofu (be sure it is organic)
  • ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (you can squeeze if fresh, or I often use Lakewood Organic Lemon Juice)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • About 3 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil (for the pan to fry the tofu)

Start by pressing your tofu (in a tofu press or put it between 2 cutting boards and press down repeatedly (do this over the sink because a lot of moisture will be pressed out!). If you have a tofu press, let it press for about 15 minutes (follow the directions on your tofu press).

While your tofu is being pressed, prepare your marinade.

In a pan with sides (I use an 8” x 8” glass baking dish), add ¼ cup EACH of Bragg’s Liquid Amino and Lemon Juice. Add about 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 ½ teaspoons of dried thyme. Stir it. I like the flavor of these 4 ingredients together, but feel free to get creative with whatever marinade excites you.

After the tofu has been pressed sufficiently (at least 15 minutes), chop the tofu into cubes about ¾”; add it to the marinade. Let it marinate at least 15 minutes, but you can do it as long as overnight (keep it in the refrigerator!)

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet (or you can bake this too to limit your oil! (If you want to bake the tofu, see my note below!) Carefully add the tofu to the hot oil in the skillet and cook over a medium-high heat until all sides are crispy and brown. DON’T Stir it for the first 4 minutes or so to let it get a start on browning, then you’ll want to flip the tofu nuggets around several times for the remainder of the cooking time. It will take about 15 minutes total to get it browned on all sides with a nice firm texture.

If you really like crispy, before putting the tofu in the skillet, add it to a about ¼ cup of arrowroot powder (cornstarch works too) in a shallow pan to coat each of the pieces and then put the coated tofu in the skillet. You may need to do this in 2 batches if you don’t have a large skillet because you don’t want the tofu pieces to touch each other (they will fry up better if they aren’t all clustered together!) You will need a little more oil to fry the coated pieces to make them super crispy!

While the tofu is cooking (keep an eye on it and turn it frequently!) make a nice salad or sauté some greens (like spinach or kale) and beans to serve with the tofu!

Once the tofu is browned on all sides (about 15 minutes total), remove the tofu to a plate lined with paper towels.

Enjoy this crispy tofu as a breakfast treat with some sautéed spinach and tomatoes, as a snack by itself, on a salad or sandwich/wrap for lunch, or with some quinoa and kale for dinner! It is delicious and versatile. I always have a bag of this handy in my fridge!

I hope you can give this a try. Please leave me your comments about this dish or if you tried any other marinades that you loved!

*Note about baking (instead of frying the tofu): Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes – turn the tofu every 10 minutes to allow it to brown evenly)