Ask just about anyone to name common “kid foods” and chicken nuggets will be one of them. Crispy Oven Fried Tofu Nuggets have a similar texture with a crunchy bread crumb coating, and they’re baked not fried.
Nathan and I have started eating a lot of tofu lately. Although we’re not vegetarian we love it’s versatility, and as a Registered Dietitian, I love knowing that there’s research to support the health benefits of consuming soy products like tofu. Studies have found that regular intake of soy foods can help reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer and help protect against bone loss. There is also preliminary research that shows soy foods may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar and may help to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
The key to making crispy tofu is to drain it well. Wrap the block of tofu in several layers of paper towels, and place it on a cutting board. Then place something heavy on top; I usually use a cast iron pan. Let it drain for about 20 minutes before cubing the tofu.
For this recipe, we’re using a wet batter that will allow the breadcrumbs to stick and adds a lot of flavor. Tofu is basically a sponge and takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with, so always be sure to season liberally. Using panko breadcrumbs ensures extra crispiness.
We love eating the tofu nuggets with a quick Dijonnaise but you can enjoy them with your favorite dipping sauce. And channel your inner child. Something tells me these would be delicious with mac and cheese.
Wrap tofu in several layers of paper towels and place on a cutting board. Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy object on top of tofu. Let drain for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Unwrap tofu, and cut into ¾-inch cubes.
Whisk together milk, flour, Dijon mustard, egg, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir together breadcrumbs and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Working in batches, dip tofu in milk mixture, and use your left hand to transfer tofu to dish with breadcrumbs. Use right hand to coat tofu with breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Place coated tofu nuggets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and use tongs to flip tofu nuggets.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until browned and crispy. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Be sure to use a baking sheet without raised edges for the crispiest result. For a vegan option, use a plant-based milk and omit the egg.
Recipe adapted from Omnivore's Cookbook, https://omnivorescookbook.com/baked-crispy-tofu-nugget/
Check out my Crispy Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus Sheet Pan Dinner recipe for more crispy oven-fried goodness.