green sauce in bowl with spoon and tofu triangles

This recipe for crispy, breaded, oven-baked tofu paneer is the best way to cook tofu nuggets in my opinion. So quick, so delicious!

It’s here!!! I can hardly believe that it’s really here….roughly two years after I began working on it, Eat More Plants Cookbook is out in the world.

To me, Eat More Plants isn’t just a cookbook. It’s how I live, practice and want to encourage others to explore.

All too often, healthy eating is seen as deprivation. But to me, eating this way is a celebration of abundance. Of flavour. And it’s a way of honouring your body by feeding it the nutrient-dense foods it craves so you can feel really, really good. No dogma, no rules. Just eat lots of plants.

I wanted to share this recipe with you because it’s one of my favourites. As a plant-based eater, tofu isn’t always a slam dunk with my kids, and I get it – it isn’t always a slam dunk with adults, either. But this crispy baked tofu ‘paneer’ takes the guess work out of making tofu taste delicious. And it’s also super versatile:

  • The breaded tofu functions like a ‘veggie chicken strip’ protein main dish for kids (and their parents!)
  • It’s a great protein rich vegan appetizer or snack
  • If you cut it into squares, it makes a great crispy sandwich/burger filling
  • The mint chutney is great as a dip or sandwich spread or grain bowl topping

Tofu vs Paneer

Some of you might be wondering…what is paneer exactly?

Paneer is a soft farmer’s-style dairy cheese typical in India. In my day, I have eaten a ton of paneer pakora, which is paneer cheese that is crispy breaded and fried, usually with a sliver of a spicy green chutney inside.

In fact, that is exactly the dish I was inspired by. Tofu makes a great ‘paneer’ as it is essentially cheese made from soybeans instead of milk, and the texture is quite similar.

Tofu Nutrition

  • Tofu is a complete plant protein, so it has all nine of the essential amino acids
  • Contains anti-inflammatory antioxidant phytochemicals
  • Good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and if made with calcium sulfate, tofu also contains high amounts of calcium (just be sure to check the label!)
  • My post on tofu health benefits covers all you need to know about tofu!

How to Make Truly Crispy Tofu

This recipe is really the keys to my breading kingdom! I used a similar technique for my yummo asparagus fries. It’s a classic technique, where you set up a little breading station and start by dredging in a starch – I use arrowroot instead of cornstarch but you could substitute that if it’s what you’ve got on hand. Then, a liquid and then a crispy coating. That’s it! My secrets for making it extra delicious is seasoning both the starch and the breadcrumb well…and the nutritional yeast. It adds a cheesy-umaminess that can’t be beat!

Mint Chutney Tofu Sauce

  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalepeno pepper with or without seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 clove garlic crushed or grated on a microplane
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a small food processor, add the cilantro, mint, ginger, jalepeno, coconut, garlic, lime juice, hemp oil, water and salt. Blend to form a loose paste, drizzling in another 1 tablespoon (15ml) of water as needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve the Baked Tofu Paneer on a serving dish with the Mint Chutney drizzled on top, or in a dish on the side.

More Vegan Appetizers to Try:

Hope you love it…and be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #eatmoreplantscookbook so I can share all of your creations!

green sauce in bowl with spoon and tofu triangles

Crispy Baked Tofu Paneer with Mint Chutney

These crispy, savoury tofu triangles make a great appetizer or veggie nugget for the kids. The mint chutney is spicy and flavourful – use any leftovers as a sandwich spread or grain bowl topping.
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Ingredients

Baked Tofu Paneer

  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 12 ounce package of extra firm tofu

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Instructions 

Baked Tofu Paneer

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Set up 3 small bowls for breading the tofu on the counter. In the first bowl, combine the arrowroot starch, 1/4 teaspoon (1ml) of the salt, and pepper. In teh second bowl, add the soy milk. In the third bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) of salt, garlic powder, garam masala, and pepper.
  • Cut the block of tofu in half to create 2 squares, and slice each of those squares horizontally to create 2 thinner squares. Cut the squares in half lengthwise so you have 8 triangles.
  • Dredge the tofu triangles in the arrowroot mixture, dip them in the soy milk, and finally dredge them in the bread crumb mixture. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes more so that both sides have crisped and the tofu starts to look a bit puffed up. Remove from oven and set aside.

Notes

Tip! Always taste your jalepeno before using. Some are very hot…others are totally mild. Take a tiny slice and taste it. If it’s spicy, you might want to remove the seeds, and use less. But if it’s mild…leave those seeds in! You want heat in the chutney, without creating a four-alarm blaze.

Photo Credit: Janis Nicolay, with styling by Sophie MacKenzie, for Eat More Plants Cookbook