Breaded Tofu Tenders

For this recipe, pieces of tofu are breaded using the same technique commonly used for preparing chicken or fish, and you get to decide whether they'll be baked or fried. They can be served as a main dish or side dish, or as a sandwich filling with your choice of fresh vegetables and condiments like vegan mayonnaise, mustard, or barbeque sauce.

1 pound firm or extra-firm regular tofu
2/3 cup soymilk or other nondairy milk of choice
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup whole wheat flour or 2/3 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup cornmeal or 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground {black pepper}
Gently squeeze the block of tofu over the sink to remove any excess water. Cut it in half lengthwise, turn each half cut side down, and cut each half into 4 slices to yield a total of 8 pieces.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet and set aside. Place the soymilk, tamari, and lemon juice in a small bowl, stir to combine, and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.

Place the flour on a large plate. Using your hands, thoroughly dust the tofu pieces with the flour on all sides. Place the pieces on another large plate and set aside. Stir the cornmeal, nutritional yeast flakes, Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper into the flour.

Using your hands, dip each floured piece of tofu into the soymilk mixture, then into the cornmeal mixture, pressing down slightly to thoroughly coat each piece on all sides. Place the breaded pieces on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown all over. Flip the pieces over with a metal or heat-proof spatula. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until the pieces are golden brown on the other side. Serve hot or cold.

Alternatively, for a crispier crust, the breaded tofu pieces can be fried in a little olive oil in a large skillet. Drain the pieces on paper towels to remove any excess oil before serving.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 20-30 min

Servings: yields 8 pieces (3 to 4 servings)

Recipe By: Beverly Lynn Bennett

From:  Vegan Bites
Used with permission of Book Publishing Company

Chef Suggestions
Variation: Replace the tofu with 12 ounces of tempeh, sliced.

If you don't have Italian seasoning blend on hand, you can substitute 1 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano.