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 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
- 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.
- 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:
- Roasted Tomato Salsa with Cashews
- Crispy Asparagus Fries
- Cheesy Pesto Dip
- Golden Ceviche
- Pumpkin Miso Soup
Crispy Baked Tofu Paneer with Mint Chutney
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
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.