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

226 comments

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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{ 226 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily (Edible Psychology) January 18, 2012

I think my dinner plans for tonight may have just changed! Looks wonderful!

~Emily~

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Melissa January 18, 2012

It’s never good to look at your blog when I’m hungry! Everything you make is a masterpiece and all your recipes keep me coming back for more! I can’t wait to try out your Tofu strips!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Thanks Melissa! It makes me hungry too (and I’m usually all out of what Im blogging about!)

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Katrina January 18, 2012

Aww, yeah! This sounds like the perfect dinner!

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char @ char on a mission January 18, 2012

If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s crispy tofu. I wonder if these would be a hit with children or not? I see bribing my niece and nephew in the near future!

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DessertForTwo January 18, 2012

Whenever I make tofu ‘chicken’ strips, I always freeze & defrost my tofu first. It gives the final product a ‘meatier’ texture. Try it! :)

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Nicole January 18, 2012

These look interesting! I printed out your recipe and am definitely going to try em sometime soon.

I’ve commented on here a few times before, but I just wanted to tell you that your blog was one of the first I started reading. In fact, it gave me the motivation to start my own (which I literally just started this week!), so thanks for the inspiration!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Thank you Nicole! going to check it out… :)

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Audrey January 18, 2012

This looks amazing! Tofu is so versatile and delicious. I love it and I’m going to have to try this meal. :)

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Audrey January 18, 2012

P.S. Random question, but what brand of ketchup is that? It looks so thick and yummy!

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Audrey January 18, 2012

Oh, I just found the answer from another person who asked the same question. I should’ve read through the comments before I posted. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

no problem!

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Laura @ She Eats Well January 18, 2012

I absolutely love the picture of the tofu under all those books. Too funny. And I think there is nothing better than sweet potato fries. I eat sweet potatoes so much, I think I might turn orange soon.

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Shannon ~ My Place In The Race January 18, 2012

I SOOOO love sweet potato fries! Yummy! :P

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 18, 2012

oooh yummm I love tofu my boyfriend won’t eat it, I am thinking this is how I will get him to eat it :)

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 18, 2012

I’ve eaten tofu in just about every shape and form, but I’ve never tried breading it before! This is definitely going to be my dinner tomorrow night! :D

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Cait's Plate January 18, 2012

Now that is my kinda meal! I love the idea of breading tofu and I never think to do it. I definitely need to try that!

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Lauren (Maillard'sMistress) January 18, 2012

I’ve tried making sweet potato fries a few times/ways and have never been able to get them crispy in the oven. Did yours come out crispy? I have progressed beyond soggy fries but then they were just rather dehydrated.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

I can’t get them crispy either…and I’ve tried every trick in the books! I think the only real way is to fry them…

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Lauren (Maillard'sMistress) January 18, 2012

And that seems a little self-defeating…glad to know I’m not the only one!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

hehe maybe for a special splurge!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 18, 2012

This looks delicious!! Such a quick and nutritious meal!

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Melissa January 18, 2012

SOOO happy to see some tofu love! Obviously I wouldn’t recommend eating it every day, but I do think tofu gets a worse rap than it should. As long as it’s organic, I have no problem with eating it a couple times a week.

If you want your tofu to be even firmer (assuming you buy extra firm already), try freezing it. It makes it easier to press the water out, as freezing it draws the water out. Though I would still press it for 20 minutes. If I don’t freeze it, I usually press it for longer.

Lastly, I’m really surprised that tempeh gave you an upset stomach. It’s even easier to digest since it is fermented, and truly the best way to eat soy. Maybe you can brave it, and try it again one day.

Can’t wait for the cookbook! It will be a hit!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

hope you enjoy it Emily!

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kaity January 18, 2012

this looks awesome! cant wait to use it once im back at school bc its easy, i just got hooked on tofu a few months ago after avoiding it for so long and i loveee it! so versatile

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Amanda January 18, 2012

These sound awesome! I’m a big fan of tofu in all forms (even raw!) and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. My go-to method is to bake it in a little bit of olive oil, braggs, maple syrup, and garlic. I think the key is pressing out as much water as possible to create that perfectly crispy, chewy texture. Can’t wait to give your recipe a try!

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Andrea @ Vegvacious January 18, 2012

What a fantastic idea!! Chicken strips is one thing that I miss since I stopped eating meat – I will definitely give this a try, although I’m not sure if my husband will be into it!

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eieen January 18, 2012

Hi Angela,

I use tofu a lot. We find, It comes out best when you lay it on a cookie sheet in the oven @ 350-ish for about 20-30 minutes. it firms it up ,and gives it a not so fragile texture. You can also do this in a dry frying pan. Then, prepare as desired…

I love it breaded too… great post and welcome !!! :)

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Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles January 18, 2012

I JUST bought sweet potatoes with the intent to make fries! Perfect timing!

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Kilee January 18, 2012

I was once a tofu-hater. Until I tried Averie’s mango ginger tofu. I ate the whole pan… in one sitting. It’s amazing have removing the moisture from the tofu and adding a delicious sauce or marinade will transform tofu into an incredible meal.

Good luck on the cookbook!

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ali janine @ This Ninja Eats Broccoli January 18, 2012

Thank you! I have tofu in my fridge and sweet potato on my counter and I was looking for ideas for both of them! Trying this tonight :)

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Brooke January 18, 2012

I’m making these tonight. I have everything except the sweet potato. If you are wanting a more fry like consistency on the potato you can cut in strips, set them in water for an hour and add corn starch! Crispy sweet potato fries! I learned that on pintrest. Thank you for all the recipes Angela. Everything I’ve tried so far has been great!

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Brooke January 18, 2012

Oh and here’s the link to try the fries. Of course they are not perfectly crispy because they are still backed in the oven, but the closest I’ve come for sure! http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/guaranteed-crispy-sweet-potato-fries-sriracha-mayo-dip/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

Thsoe look fab… do you know how much oil you’d use for 1 sweet potato?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2012

great tip thanks!

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Rachel Runs January 18, 2012

i LOVE sweet potato fries.. have you ever drizzled them with warmed up raspberry preserves?? SOOOO delicious!!

I had avoided tofu for the same reasons, but lately I’m all about it with no stomach woes :) its so versatile I don’t know what I’d do without it and as college Nordic ski racer I need the protein!! Last night I made a big stir fry with tofu and added Bebere.. have you ever heard of it? Its an ethiopian spice mixture I found the recipe for in a Moosewood Cookbook and I am HOOKED!! It has a delicious warm spicy taste that sort of reminds me of some Indian curry dishes. I thought you might enjoy!!

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Tamara January 18, 2012

thanks so much for this recipe. I always order tofu similar to this when we go out because I thought it was way too hard to make at home….. I’m going to try this soon & see how it turns out! So excited that I may be able to treat myself to delish tofu anytime now!!!
T

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Sonia the Mexigarian January 18, 2012

Tofu and I have a love hate relationship. I love eating it at resturants in already prepared dishes. I buy tofu at the store with every intention of using it in some dish, but it sits there until the expiration date and Hubby ceremonially tosses it out. The one in the fridge right now, will not hit the expiration date. I am totally making these!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit January 18, 2012

I’m totally going to make these next week for Kevin and I! We’re not big on tofu, but when it’s prepared right, it’s SO good. Thanks again Angela :)

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 18, 2012

I feel like you do about tofu, so maybe I a would like these.

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Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy January 18, 2012

Oh those look delicious, and sweet potato fries are my favorite!

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Amber K January 18, 2012

I’m definitely going to have to try it again, because I’ve had many tofu disasters! But there has to be a reason so many people like it.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life January 18, 2012

I’m excited about trying this, because no matter how I season or cook tofu it always tends to just taste like tasteless rubber at the end of the day haha. I do prefer it crispy but at most I’ve only ever been able to get the very outer skin crispy and the inside is still rubbery and unflavoured.

I’ve been to a sushi restaurant where they serve inari strips on top of salads and those are AMAZING but at home I’ve had no success in recreating, so I look forward to trying this!

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Karen January 18, 2012

This recipe looks really super Ange. G;ad you are warming up to tofu.

I’m surprised that tempeh causes stomach distress for you. My experience is that the fermentation process of tempeh makes it very easy to digest, even for those bothered by other forms of soy. For that reason (and b/c it’s considered one of the least processed forms of soy) I usually favor it. I hope you’ll give it a shot again – I buy the slabs by Lightlife in the freezer section of WF. Marinating and baking it or sauteeing it works great!

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Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner January 18, 2012

Wow.. this really does look so good. I have never cooked with tofu because I feel I would never know what to do with it… although this is a great idea and has me tempted!

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes January 18, 2012

Never thought of breading tofu before- great idea!

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Char @ www.charskitchen.ca January 18, 2012

I loooove tofu!! I’m actually making some for dinner tonight. The best one I’ve made is a peanut butter crunchy baked tofu. Dallas loves it, too!

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Mindy January 18, 2012

I made that recipe from Veganomicon. It was really delicious! Marinated fried tofu and this baked variety are pretty much the only way I like tofu as well. Or mixed into things like bread or casseroles so you barely know it’s there ;)

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Ashley January 18, 2012

We love tofu around here!! I haven’t tried breading it yet, but can imagine it’s amazing. Glad your stomach is able to handle it now. I’ve GF’d breaded tempeh, so I know it will work for this too. Yummm

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Jeralyn January 18, 2012

I’ve never tried tofu but these pictures make me want to.

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