Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

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Are pigs flying?

IMG 6318   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

I think pigs are flying.

Wait, maybe tofu is flying.

I know what you are thinking…Ange is eating tofu?

It all started a couple months ago when my friend Sarah treated me to an incredible sweet and sour tofu dish for dinner. A heavenly sweet and sour glaze coated crispy baked tofu all served over steamed vegetables and wild rice. This meal was all I could think about for days! I haven’t tried a lot of tofu because I always thought that tofu bothered my stomach (I tend to have stomach pains after eating tempeh and seitan, for example), however this tofu meal did nothing of the sort. My stomach was fine and my taste buds were smitten!

A few weeks later, I was in the kitchen making a similar recipe…

IMG 5747   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Then, I made eggplant roll-ups with “ricotta” cheese and was also blown away.

IMG 5971   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

[Both recipes may appear in a hopeful future cookbook, but if not, I will certainly post them!]

This week, I was struck with an idea to make a crispy breaded tofu to pair with sweet potato fries. I was inspired by a cornmeal tofu recipe in Veganomicon. One of the meals Eric always ate in university was chicken fingers and fries so I was curious if I could make a tofu version that he’d enjoy. It was a stretch, but I figured it would be an interesting experiment! You know how I love my kitchen experiments.

IMG 6295   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Well, lo and behold it worked…and we both inhaled this meal. Dipped in ketchup and served with roasted sweet potato fries, it was easily one of our favourite easy meals in a long time. I seasoned the fries and tofu with a lovely cinnamon/cumin/chili powder blend which went along nicely with sweet potato fries. I never thought I would see the day when we would both inhale tofu.

IMG 6318 2   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

These crispy strips could turn anyone into a believer…even my chicken finger loving husband.

Print this recipe

Yield: 2-3 servings

Inspired by cornmeal tofu in Veganomicon 

Ingredients:

  • 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!

IMG 6310   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

The first thing I did was rinse and press the tofu. I put down a couple kitchen towels on the counter, then wrapped the tofu in another towel, added another towel on top, and then stacked heavy cookbooks on top. I let it sit for about 20 minutes. This simply soaks out some of the water in the tofu, allowing for a crispier result.

IMG 6290   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Meanwhile, I got my sweet potato on! I used 1 large sweet potato, added 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cumin, few pinches of salt, and 1 tsp oil. Mix it all together and lay out on a greased baking sheet. Set aside.

IMG 6298   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

After pressing, I sliced the tofu into 9 strips (next time I would probably just do 8 so they are a bit thicker)

IMG 6292   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

IMG 6296   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Then I dipped the tofu into the milk and cornstarch mixture, followed by the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.

IMG 62951   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Place on a greased baking sheet. Now bake the tofu and sweet potato fries simultaneously (tofu on middle rack, fries on bottom), for 20 minutes at 400F. Now flip everything and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove tofu and broil the fries for a few minutes, watching very closely!

IMG 6301   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato FriesIMG 6313   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

Amazing, crispy, addictive tofu strips that were made for dipping in ketchup!

IMG 6323   Easy Weeknight Dinner: Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips & Sweet Potato Fries

With the leftovers, I chopped up a couple strips and mixed it into a big salad for lunch. It was a great salad topper with a kick of protein. You could also layer these in a sandwich or wrap too.

If you try it out, let me know what you think!

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{ 223 comments… read them below or add one }

The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh January 18, 2012

The last time the Mr and I tried tofu was probably about 10 years ago. It was jiggly in the pan and one piece actually leapt out of the skillet. I would like to think things have improved since then. You *might* have convinced me to give it another shot. ;-)

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Angela January 18, 2012

My first experience making tofu (must have been a couple yrs ago) was scary too! I’ve found that I prefer it baked quite firm. I’m sure fried would also be killer. ;)

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Sylvia January 19, 2012

Did you really lose 200 pounds? I bet it would be an amazing story to read!

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Teri Cummings January 25, 2012

This was fantastic! I did not have cornstarch or the usual Unsweetened “So Delicious” Coconut Milk so I altered it a smidge and wanted to share this with you.

In place of Cornstarch I used Kuzu and in place of the milk I used 1/4 cup Coconut milk (full fat) that I diluted with water.

I served it with a large sauteed Kale & Garlic salad and regret not photographing it!

Thanks for all your work!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 25, 2012

Thanks Teri!

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Dena July 16, 2012

Great recipe! Tried it with some ketchup and hot sauce and it was amazing!

Keep it up, love the creativity

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Meredith January 18, 2012

I am always looking for easy weeknight dinners and this recipe is definitely one I am going to try. I am been very skeptic when it comes to tofu, but I think I could handle this!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Let me know what you think of it!

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Grace - Love Your Healthy Life January 18, 2012

This looks so yummy, I’ll definitely have to try it g.f.! I love the tip of pressing the tofu with books! I never thought to try that : ) Also, I wanted to say I’ve been making some of your best soups of 2011 and they have all been SO good. You are a culinary queen, Angela! xx

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cammy January 18, 2012

I have been a self identified tofu hater for quite some time. I have never been able to acquire a taste for it. However, this post gives me some hope- I plan on making it today and see if Im a convert- thanks for the recipe and the challenge

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Kainyu January 18, 2012

Awesome!! I just sent you an email on Monday asking you to post up some tofu recipes even though you don’t eat it and voila!!!!!!! Thank you so much for this one. Will try it out and tell you how goes for me. Oh and you are awesome!!! Just thought you should know :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

heh that one is for you my dear!

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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) January 18, 2012

Looks super delicious! I am back to eating tofu after having my baby. I could not STAND the taste of tofu while pregnant! I must try this soon! Thanks!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 18, 2012

That is quite the high-tech tofu press you’ve got there! ;) LOL! (I do the same thing.) This looks fantastic, and I bet it would have a lot of tofu-phobics fooled! One of my roommates used to ONLY eat chicken fingers for dinner, and I’d love to try these on her to see what she thinks!

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Mandy Jo January 18, 2012

A few things…
First of all, this recipe looks amazing!! Love me some sweet potato fries!
Secondly, I have been following your blog for about two months now and have loved every blog and every recipe so thank you! It wasn’t until this morning that I started digging deeper into your blog and I read your ABOUT page along with some of your older blogs. Thank you Angela, it was so inspiring to read your story and I related to almost every bit of it. I too struggled with eating disorders when I was in college and have since then been somewhat “obsessed” with body image until about the past year or so. I recently began a vegan lifestyle and have never felt better internally and physically but have felt a lot of the pressures from co-workers/family and friends who already give me Hell for being so thin. I was started to get a little “down” about it but luckily came across your blog: Do You Feel Pressure From Your Job To Be Thin: Take 2 and it really made me realize that you’re so right! I need to worry about me and my body and health, they can worry about theirs (their daily trips to Arctic Circle aren’t helping). So thank you again for always inspiring me and so many others to be healthy. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Hi Mandy Jo, Thank you so much for your comment…you are too kind! I’m honoured that my story could be an inspiration for you. I’m so happy to hear about all of the progress you are making in your life. :) Wishing you a great 2012!

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Amber Shea @Almost Vegan January 18, 2012

So glad you’ve finally been turned on to the magic of tofu! :D

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Beth January 18, 2012

Looks great! I love sweet potato fries. I, like you, am not a huge tofu fan unless it’s dressed up with something, so I will give this a try.
I’d like to see an update on your experiences with the naturopath when you get a chance!

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sarah January 18, 2012

I have tofu in the fridge now and think I will try this with my kids! I know my body has a love/hate relationship with soy too. I find it depends on my cycle weirdly enough. I have had success with sprouted tofu though, so you might want to try it out!

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Amanda Elliott January 18, 2012

These look great! I will be adding this to my meal plan next week. Quick and yummy meals to make after work can be hard to find. I have a couple we have every single week and I’m always looking for more!

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Grace @ What Grace Cooked January 18, 2012

This looks great! I love when “comfort food”-type classics get a healthy make-over, and this is something I can definitely see myself trying out.

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Shannon January 18, 2012

I have missed chicken fingers so much, and nothing has compared. I hope these do it for me! I also love sweet potato fries.

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The healthy hipster January 18, 2012

I definitely feel your love hate relationship with tofu and often opt for tempeh since it is fermented and easier on my digestion. However when it’s done right it can be seriously tasty and this recipe looks just perfect! Can’t wait to give it a try!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 18, 2012

Pressing tofu is definitely the key to making is good. I love it’s versatility – you can try just about any marinade with it!

Eggplant rollatini has been one of my favorite experiments this winter. Yours looks good too!

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Laura January 18, 2012

I’ve been looking for a good breaded tofu recipe – to convert my chicken finger loving dbf to tofu. (last time we then went out for a pint and he ordered chicken wings as well!) My attempts ALWAYS fail, so next time I see him I will attempt this meal on him!

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Greta @ Staying Lost January 18, 2012

This is perfect timing because I’ve been craving sweet potato fries! I love the idea of cornmeal-breaded tofu.

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katie@ KatieDid January 18, 2012

Love the sound of the fries with that spicy seasoning. I’m not a fan of tofu but I love the look of the fries!

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Fiona January 18, 2012

Seitan is made w/ wheat gluten and I thought I read in one of your previous posts that you saw someone who told you that you were not intolerant. So you should be fine eating seitan which is awesome because it’s delicious! And if tofu doesn’t bother you I don’t see why tempeh would! Of course I’m no expert bit I’d hate to see you miss out on some awesome foods if you don’t have to!

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Julie January 18, 2012

I actually have eggplant right now… any chance you’ll give a hint for the rollups?! ;-)

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) January 18, 2012

Yay! This is going to be supper tonight! I think I actually have all the ingredients. We like tofu and sweet potatoes, though have never tried them in the same meal. Now I’ll just have to see if our two little boys will go for it…

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Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious January 18, 2012

Wow, that looks great. I have made a similar version that mimic fish sticks. The tofu was drained and then marinated in a kelp brine. Into the crumbs went some crab seasoning, and it was baked to perfection! Sweet potato fries are the best along side anything! Thanks for the great recipe. I will be sure to try this one.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

So creative! I will have to try that.

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kathleen @ the daily crumb January 18, 2012

i have to admit, i have yet to find a tofu recipe that i LOVE… but breaded and crispy is making this one sound like a potential winner! can’t wait to try it out :)

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Roanne January 18, 2012

Yay! Tofu! :D

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 18, 2012

I do this sort of thing with tofu a lot because it’s one of the few ways I actually enjoy it but I’m never diligent about pressing it long enough. I bet it would be even better if I actually had the patience for that!

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Carolina January 18, 2012

Hmm this looks great! Would you mind sharing your homemade ketchup recipe?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

It’s not homemade…just an organic kind (which is why it is darker!)

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Carolina January 18, 2012

Oh i see, too bad…I’m looking for a good recipe to try for at home ketchup :)

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Dana January 18, 2012

Those tofu strips look soooo good! I need to make them ASAP (maybe I can finally convince my tofu hating boyfriend that it is delicious??).

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Danielle January 18, 2012

Haha, you read my mind. I was so confused when I read the title… I’m glad you decided to give tofu another try! One other thing you might want to try (if you are getting in the habit of eating tofu) is a tofu press. I have one and I love it! It’s so convenient and gets rid of a lot of moisture!

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Christina January 18, 2012

I’m selfishly SO happy you are making tofu recipes now!!! Yayyyyy :D

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Whitney January 18, 2012

WOW! This looks terrific and easy enough! I have been transitioning to vegetarian eating lately and tried tofu a few ways… I haven’t LOVED any preparation of it yet, but still looking for a way to love it. I will definitely try this with the block of tofu in my fridge. Thanks for the recipe, Ang! I have had great luck with every recipe of yours so far. :)

A question for you: what type of Ketchup do you buy/make? I haven’t found a good one that doesn’t use HFCS! Yours looks thick and “real”!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Hey Whitney! we buy Simply natural and presidents choice organic. The PC one os most similar to heinz

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Malva January 18, 2012

Funny I was looking at that same recipe in V-Con just yesterday!

We love tofu around here! We like the texture of thawed tofu best, you should try it. I just freeze it as is (normally firm La Soyarie tofu, ONFC carries it), in its package. Once thawed, you can press it between your hands and all the water will drip right out, no need to spend 20 min pressing it. Then use it however you want.

But for riccotta-ish applications, the Mori-Nu shelf stable tofu is best.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

I’ve heard of that before….sounds intriguing! Will have to try it.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 18, 2012

yum! I just bought some tofu and was looking for a recipe! Perfect! Thanks :D

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Mary January 18, 2012

Those fries look wonderful! Perfect timing too, I bought a couple of sweet potatoes on a whim during my last grocery run and I hadn’t touched them yet. Unfortunately I won’t be trying the tofu recipe as I am allergic to soy. I’ll be making these tonight with your perfect veggie burger, I haven’t yet found a recipe to beat yours!

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Therese January 18, 2012

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I never seem to be able to make tofu crispy at home so I’ll definitely have to try this soon! I remember when If first met my fiancé and he told me he wasn’t really into tofu. On our second date I convinced him to try a piece from my favourite restaurant and he’s never turned back! LOL Tofu just takes experimentation!

I also remember when I lived in Japan I was taken to a restaurant where the entire meal, from drink to entree to dessert was nothing but tofu! It was amazing!

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Elisabetta January 18, 2012

I’m looking forward to buy tofu and try this recipe, it sounds so good! Just a question: the ingredients are for two persons? Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

I would say it serves 2-3. Enjoy!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed January 18, 2012

I JUST wrote about trying tofu for the first time. I really thought I’d hate it, but I actually liked it! This looks yummy… I love chicken nuggets, so maybe this would fill the void haha. I feel like getting my boyfriend to try tofu will be pretty hard, but maybe this recipe will be the trick. Those eggplant roll ups look yummy too!!!!

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Beks January 18, 2012

Whoa. Last time I attempted to make tofu “chicken” strips was from a recipe in my first vegetarian cookbook when I was seventeen. Needless to say my mom and I have been scared to attempt anything tofu in our kitchen(s) since. I really might have to try this, now. We’ve got tofu in the fridge that needs used up. And I LOVE Sweet Potato Fries!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 18, 2012

I love ketchup so anything that I can make to eat more of my favorite dip, is a bonus.

Those tofu sticks look so dense, firm, and great. I hate mushy tofu and those look wonderful.

As do the sweet potato fries. I like adding cinnamon to mine, too. Sometimes I add ginger or nutmeg, too…just depends on what I’m feeling like.

Great meal!

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Kristina January 18, 2012

Hi Angela,

I’m sensitive to corn so I don’t use cornstarch or cornmeal. I know I can use arrowroot flour instead of the cornstarch, but what can I use instead of cornmeal?

Love your blog!

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Dana January 18, 2012

Panko crumbs would probably work well!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

I used Panko for the breadcrumbs so I would just add another 1/3 cup of those :)

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