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Crunchy Tofu Nuggets

One of the most popular snacks loved by kids and adults equally is chicken nuggets. They are comforting, juicy, and super delicious from the inside and crispy and crunchy from the outside.

Being vegan clearly means you can’t eat chicken nuggets. That’s because the vegan diet is purely plant-based. But it doesn't mean you don't have alternatives to enjoy the texture and flavors of the nuggets. Here is a delicious chicken nugget recipe that is not just delicious, crispy but is also vegan. These nuggets use tofu instead of chicken, and the breading is on spot.

Tofu has been used by the Chinese since ancient times. Also known as bean curd, it is made from condensed soy milk. Tofu is known for being low in calories and high in protein. Furthermore, it is also high in minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. As a result, it is beneficial for health. It is a versatile ingredient, and you can use I in salads, curries, and snacks.

Why make tofu chicken nuggets?

Whether you follow a vegan diet or not, there are many reasons you should make tofu chicken nuggets. Here are a few:

  • This recipe is vegan! All the ingredients are plant-based, so you don't have to worry about the ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make. The whole process takes no more than 10 minutes.
  • All the ingredients are always available in the kitchen pantry. Furthermore, the dish is quite economical.
  • It is a very convenient snack. Because you can freeze tofu for a long time, you can fry it quickly and enjoy it any time of the day.

Main components

Crunchy tofu nuggets are an amazing snack. They are super easy to make with three main components. These are:

  • The Tofu: Because these nuggets are made with tofu instead of chicken, it is the main component of the dish.
  • The Dry mixture: The dry mix is what coats the nuggets. It adds the crunchy and crispy element we all love.
  • The Wet batter: The wet batter helps the dry mixture to stick onto the tofu. You can add different seasonings to the wet batter to make it more delicious.

Ingredient breakdown

Here is a detailed breakdown of everything you need for this recipe:

  • Tofu: Tofu is the main ingredient of this dish. Tofu is an amazing vegan ingredient that is known for its many benefits. It is made from condensed soy milk and is then pressed into blocks. There are several types of tofu available. From silken tofu to extra firm, these types depend upon the texture and water content in the tofu. Because these are vegan chicken nuggets,we are going to use extra-firm tofu. However, you can also use firm tofu and place it underweight for 20 minutes. This way, you will get rid of excess water.
  • Oil: You can use any cooking oil. Olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil work well.

Wet Batter

  • Milk: Because it is a vegan recipe, we are going to use non-dairy milk. You can use any non-dairy milk for the purpose. The results will be the same whether you use coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Just make sure that it’s unsweetened.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best for this recipe. It gives the batter the consistency that makes the nuggets crispy and crunchy. However, you can use gluten-free flour as well.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder brings in a savory and garlicky flavor to the batter.
  • Onion powder: Onion powder does the same and brings a slightly sweet and savory flavor to the dish.

Dry Mixture

  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are perfect for this dry mixture. You can use homemade, flavored, or seasoned breadcrumbs as well.
  • Potato chips: If you love a bit of extra crunch, you can also use plain potato chips. For added flavor, you can use nacho chips or flavored chips as well.
  • Seasonings: Sea salt and black pepper are enough to boost the taste of the dish.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic powder brings in a garlicky flavor and depth to the dry mixture.
  • Onion powder: Onion powder also brings in a savory flavor and enhances the flavor profile of the nuggets.
  • Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper brings in a spicy element and heat to the dish. You can also use smoked paprika or scotch bonnet powder instead.

How to cook fried tofu nuggets?

Here are simple steps to cook fried tofu nuggets:

Step 1: Start by pressing the tofu to drain excess liquid from it. Next, you have to cut it into chunks.

Step 2: In a large bowl, add all-purpose flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and non-dairy milk. Mix well using a whisker to get a smooth consistency. If you feel the batter is too thick, you can add more non-dairy milk to it.

Step 3: In a food processor bowl, add panko breadcrumbs and plain potato chips. Start the processor and let it work until you get fine crumbs.

Step 4: Put the dry mixture in a large bowl. Add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Step 5: Set the tofu, wet batter, and dry mixture bowls line-wise. Take a tofu chunk or piece and put it in the dry mixture. Next, dip it into the wet batter and back into the dry mix. Repeat the steps with all tofu pieces and place them on a plate.

Step 6: In a frying pan, add oil. Place it on medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add breaded tofu pieces one by one.

Step 7: Let the pieces cook for a minute or two on each side or until they turn golden brown. Place the cooked tofu pieces on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.

Step 8: Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce.

Ways of cooking tofu chicken nuggets?

There are different ways you can cook and enjoy these vegan nuggets. Here are the most commonly used ways:

  • Pan-frying: Pan-frying is a very easy and convenient way of cooking these tofu chicken nuggets. It requires only a dash of oil enough to fry the nuggets. Because the quantity of oil is less, it is considered a healthy option to enjoy this delicious snack.
  • Deep frying: If you want to enjoy the crunch in the traditional way, the most popular used way is to deep fry it. Although the deep-fried nuggets are cooked to perfection, it uses a lot of oil and therefore is not considered as an ideal option.
  • Baking: Most people love to bake vegan nuggets, and why not? It is also a very convenient and healthy way to enjoy the flavors. To bake these nuggets, you have to place these on a parchment-lined baking tray and place it in a preheated oven at 400-degree F for 25 minutes. Flip halfway during the cook for perfect results and even cooking.
  • Air frying: Probably the easiest and the healthiest way of all is cooking the nuggets in an air fryer. It is an amazing kitchen gadget that uses hot air to cook the food. It is a perfect imitation of frying without using oil at all. For air frying, place it in the air fryer basket and air fry for 25 minutes at 350-degree F. flip halfway for even cooking.

How to store tofu nuggets?

Storing cooked tofu nuggets is pretty easy. Simply place the leftover vegan chicken nuggets in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. They are good to go for 3 to 5 days. When reheating, put them in the oven or air fryer for 5 minutes until they are crispy again.

You can also store uncooked and breaded tofu nuggets by placing them in a baking tray and flash freezing for 3 to 4 hours. Then, remove the tray and place the frozen nuggets in an air-tight container or zip lock bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you plan on cooking these, you don't need to defrost the nuggets.

What to serve with tofu nuggets?

Tofu nuggets are perfect for snacking and as a side dish. They go super well with different types of dips and sauces. Here are a few to name:

  • Vegan cheese sauce: creamy, healthy, and rich vegan cheese sauce is a perfect sauce to go with tofu nuggets. It is made from soaked cashews and is very easy to make.
  • Soy sauce: Plain soy sauce has a deep and rich flavor.
  • Tofu and tomato dip: Try this delicious dip made with sun-dried tomatoes and silken tofu. It is creamy, rich, and yum.
  • Hummus: If you love middle eastern flavors, you can serve the tofu nuggets with hummus. It is not just rich but is super healthy as well.
  • Vegan ranch dressing: You can easily find vegan ranch dressings at most grocery stores these days.
  • Ketchup: Nothing can beat ketchup. It is everyone’s favorite.
  • Vegan Honey Mustard Sauce: Everyone's favorite dipping sauce for nuggets. Who needs McDonald's when I have a homemade vegan recipe for you HERE.

Crunchy Tofu Nuggets

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb block tofu pressed and drained of liquid
  • Oil for pan-frying

Wet Batter

  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder

Dry Mixture

  • 2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup plain potato chips optional – pulse until they form crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional

Instructions
 

  • Use a tofu press or wrap tofu in clean towels and place a heavy pan on top until the liquid is completely drained.
  • Cut the tofu into nugget sized chunks/pieces.
  • Add the flour, non-dairy milk, and seasonings to a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. If the wet batter is too thick, add a little more liquid. You want to be able to dip the tofu without it getting stuck in the batter.
  • Add the panko breadcrumbs and chips (if using them) to a food processor and pulse until fine, two or three times.
  • Pour the dry mixture into a separate bowl.
  • Line your wet batter and dry mixture bowls side by side.
  • Take a few tofu nuggets and dip it into the dry mixture, shaking off any excess, then into the wet batter. Shake off the excess wet batter, and then dip it back into the dry mixture. Set the ready pieces to the side.
  • Heat oil over medium to high heat. When oil is hot, add a few tofu nuggets. Cook for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove and add to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  • Continue to cook the rest of the tofu nuggets, but don't overcrowd the pan.
  • Serve warm and with your favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

To BAKE: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Add battered tofu nuggets on the baking sheet making sure to give enough space in between them. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown, flipping once at the halfway mark. Enjoy!

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