Homemade Crispy Shake and Bake Tofu Tenders

crispy-tofu-tenders

Crispy Tofu Tenders with Homemade Honey Mustard

I have begun to experiment with tofu.

I don’t know why it took me so long to research safe tofu companies. I got in touch with Nasoya and was told their facility is free of dairy, eggs and beef. SCORE!

Let the tofu love begin!

I have made tofu at home three times in a little over a week. I have made a tofu and veggie stir fry twice. Yum!

Last night, I decided to try an old chicken recipe with the tofu.

The result?

Mmmmmm… even the 5 year old liked it! (covered in ketchup, of course, but hey- she ate it happily!)

This recipe comes from allrecipes.com.

I have modified the spices a bit. Feel free to change the spices to ones you and your family enjoy.

I also use homemade bread crumbs, but store bought breadcrumbs or panko would work well, too.

This breadcrumb mixture made more than enough for half a container of tofu. I think I could have used this recipe for the entire package, but I was hesitant to use all the tofu in case this didn’t turn out. But it did and my little family loved it!

So tonight, we are having the other half of the tofu and I’m making these crispy shake and bake tofu tenders again! Along with some garlic mashed potatoes and maybe some stewed fresh green beans. And some homemade vegan gravy for the taters and beans… Mmmm, mmm! I better hurry this post up so I can cook- it’s almost dinner time already!

Ingredients:

2 cups breadcrumbs
3 Tbs canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
pinch (or a peench as we say) of basil, dried parsley & dried oregano
***********************************************************************
2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp of ground flax and 6 Tbsp of water mixed together)

1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed between two plates for about 20-30 minutes (do this in advance and cut the tofu into strips like chicken tender sized)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare your flax eggs in a medium sized bowl and whisk with a fork. When the flax eggs are gelled and gooey, they are ready.
  3. Take everything above the starred line and mix it together in a gallon plastic baggie- adding the oil last. I like to shake the dry ingredients together first and then add the oil.
  4. Dip one tofu strip into the flax egg and then put it into the seasoned breadcrumb mixture and shake. Place the tofu strip onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (foil works, too, but parchment gives you no stick to the pan-ness! 😉 )
  5. Repeat with each tofu strip. If you run out of flax eggs, you will need to make another one (1Tbsp of ground flax & 3 Tbsp of water)
  6. Bake for 5 minutes. Gently flip the tenders. Bake for 5 more minutes. Flip tenders. Bake for another 3-4 minutes, or until tenders are crispy.

Notes:
Serve as you would serve chicken tenders, with a sauce or ketchup. (SG loves it this way.)
The Huzz and I prefer these crispy tenders cut up and served in a bowl along with other food. (Like in a salad or with a pasta dish with the tofu standing in for the chicken.)

It totally looks like chicken- but it doesn’t taste like it. The flavor is all in the crispy coating, so don’t be afraid to spice it up in the bag!

I hope y’all enjoy these crispy shake and bake tofu tenders.   (I’m still working on getting my Southern back, y’all! I kind of lost it from living in Ohio and Iowa for so long!)

 

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Cutlets “Parmesan”

I love chickpea cutlets!!!

They are budget friendly, freeze beautifully and are a great protein for many dishes.

Seriously, these little babies are so budget friendly.  I can get anywhere from 10-12 cutlets per 14 oz jar of beans.  For us, they average out to about 13 cents per cutlet!  What what?!?!

Here is a super easy way to use the chickpea cutlets.  By the way, I have also made these cutlets with white northern beans and they taste exactly the same!

Before you make this recipe, head over to this blog post and make a batch or two of the cutlets.  These cutlets freeze well.  I try to always have a batch of chickpea cutlets in the freezer.

Here’s how I make what I like to “Cutlets Parmesan.”  It has neither meat or cheese, but it’s amazing just the same!

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“Cutlets Parmesan”

Ingredients:

  • Prepared Cutlets (click here for recipe)
  • Safe jar of spaghetti sauce
  • Safe cooked noodles (approximately 1.5 to 2.5 cups, depending on the size dish you make.)
  • Vegan Cheese (We use Daiya Mozzarella Shreds)
  • Nutritional Yeast

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use either an 8×8 or 9×12 glass baking dish.  I use an 8×8 for just the three of us.  I use the 9×12 if we have guests for dinner.
  3. Place a layer of noodles in the baking dish.
  4. Add a layer of spaghetti sauce on top of the noodles.  Spread evenly and gently.
  5. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top of the spaghetti sauce.
  6. Sprinkle a light layer of vegan cheese.
  7. Add cutlets on top of vegan cheese.
  8. Top each cutlet with additional spaghetti sauce and add more vegan cheese on top of each cutlet.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes.  This is to heat the casserole and melt the vegan cheese.  The dish is already all cooked, so it shouldn’t need more than 15 minutes.

 

Chickpea Cutlets

8×8 dish in progress.  I use rotini noodles.  You can use any large noodle that is safe for your family.

 

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Side View.  I don’t measure for this dish, so I hope this pic helps.  Now this pic is making me hungry!!!

 

Christmas Meal Prep Plan

 

For Christmas this year, I’m pretty much making exactly what I made this past Thanksgiving, with a few changes to the dessert menu.

Here’s my menu and the breakdown of what I make ahead. I make as much in advance as I can to make it a little easier on the big day.

I’m breaking it down between four days. You can do it in two days if you’re pressed for time. I’m spreading it out slowly because I’m not rushed for time this year.

Day 1:

Make a double batch of Buckeyes and freeze them.  Use dairy free subs and coconut oil instead of shortening.

Day 2:

Make Homemade Bread (I use this to make the breadcrumbs I need for Day 3’s Cutlets recipe.)

Make Fudge and refrigerate.

Make Sugar Cookies and decorate.

Day 3:

Make Pumpkin Pie and refrigerate.

Make Cornbread.

Make Double Batch of Chickpea Cutlets and refrigerate.

Peel Potatoes in the evening and completely cover potatoes with water in a bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Keep in fridge until it’s time to make the mashed potatoes the next day. (Optional step. Can omit and do this on day 4.)

Day 4:

Start Dough for Homemade Dinner Rolls early. When dough is ready, prepare rolls and bake.

Boil and season fresh green beans (I use vegetable broth and season with Adobo, garlic powder and onion powder.) Transfer to a crockpot and cook on high for approximately 4 hours.

Make Gravy. A triple batch. Use the suggested variation of adding poultry seasoning and sage to the gravy.

Make Cornbread Dressing.

Make Holiday Mashed Potatoes.

I hope this breakdown helps. If you need any last minute recipes for Christmas, these recipes will not disappoint!

I hope you have a wonderful week leading up to Christmas.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Savory Vegan Gravy

You guys.  Y’all.  This gravy is awesome.  It really is awesome sauce!

My 5 year old is now spoiled and wants this gravy on everything: baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, cutlets… You get the picture, right?

This gravy is also the superstar in my upcoming “Southern Cornbread Dressing” recipe.  Stay tuned for that bad boy!

Here’s how I make gravy in our house.

Savory Vegan Gravy
(I’ve made some changes from this original recipe, which is yummy, too. You can click here to see the original recipe from about.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Directions:

1.  Heat the vegan butter over medium heat in a medium sized pot and add all of the spices and flour.  Whisk together.

2.  Add the vegetable broth and cornstarch and whisk well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer, whisking constantly.

3.  When the gravy has thickened, add the nutritional yeast and liquid aminos and cook for one more minute, continuing to whisk the gravy.

**Variation:  Add 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of sage in addition to the spices listed above.

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Close up of gravy and my homemade mashed potatoes.  YUM!

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

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On Thanksgiving day, I decided to deviate from my planned homemade ranch mashed potatoes, and try my hand at “regular” mashed potatoes.

It turned out perfectly!  The Huzz told me to please write down what I did before I forgot how I made them.  Yes!

If you are looking for creamy and “normal” tasting dairy free mashed potatoes, then you must try my Holiday Mashed Potatoes!

Here’s how I made them, on a whim.

Holiday Mashed Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • SO Delicious Lite Culinary Coconut Milk
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Vegan Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic Powder

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop potatoes.  Add to cook pot as you chop.  Keep a small amount of water in pot to keep the potatoes from browning.
  2. Place pot on burner and set to medium high until the water boils.  Reduce heat to medium.  Boil potatoes until tender, stirring occasionally.  I use a wooden spoon across the top of my boiling pot to keep the water from boiling over.
  3. Drain potatoes in a colander.  Return the potatoes to the pot.
  4. Mash potatoes using potato masher.  Use an immersion stick blender for even creamier potatoes.
  5. Add several large spoons of vegan butter and a generous splash of coconut milk.  Add a small splash of vegetable broth.  Mash a bit more.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste along with 1 or 2 generous shakes of garlic powder if desired.  Mix well.
  7. Taste.  Add more coconut milk, vegetable broth and butter, a little at a time.  Mix well, taste, and repeat until desired consistency and taste is achieved.
  8. Serve with homemade gravy. (Optional, but totally amazing!)

Allergy Friendly Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlets with Homemade Gravy over Baked Potatoes (mashed) and Grilled Asparagus.  Plant Strong Comfort Food!

Chickpea Cutlets with Homemade Gravy over Baked Potatoes (mashed) and Grilled Asparagus. Plant Strong Comfort Food!

I was very skeptical when I first made Isa’s Chickpea Cutlets from her website the Post Punk Kitchen. I thought cutlets made from chickpeas? How weird. But man, was I wrong!

I made a few changes to Isa’s recipe to fit our diet. In the end, my version doesn’t quite look like hers.  But that’s okay.  I think it’s because I don’t use vital wheat gluten.  I was nervous because I read through the recipe and comments and it seemed the recipe had to have vital wheat gluten. My HyVee carries it, but it is made in a facility that also processes milk. Can’t do it. Not safe.

So, I crossed my fingers and subbed plain ole unbleached white flour. And I made my own breadcrumbs from our frozen bread ends. I swapped the soy sauce for liquid aminos. And I’m just not a thyme girl. I kind of HATE it. I used poultry seasoning instead of thyme. The recipe called for sage and sage and poultry seasoning just go together in my mind. It worked!

As a matter of fact, these cutlets are AMAZING! They have become a family favorite.

These are also super budget friendly!!! I purchased my jarred glass of Randall’s Garbanzo beans for just 99 cents. We get 2-3 meals out of each cutlet batch. That’s 33 cents to 50 cents for our protein per meal. Our grocery budget needs a little breathing room, and these cutlets provide that.

I have found an amazing vegetarian gravy recipe that pares well with this recipe. I use vegan butter and liquid aminos in this gravy recipe. I also use an immersion blender to blend the onions in the gravy and make it smooth and creamy. My 4 year old has no idea there are onions in her favorite gravy. She doesn’t like onions. Hehehe!!! Click here to see the gravy recipe.

I’ve also discovered these cutlets make an excellent “Cutlets Parmesan.” That post is in the works.

For now, here’s how I make my new favorite food, chickpea cutlets.

Chickpea Cutlets
(Adapted slightly from Isa’s Chickpea Cutlets. Click here for the original recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 15/16 oz jar/can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup plain homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons of jarred minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you use store bought breadcrumbs, skip to step three. If not, start with making homemade breadcrumbs. I usually use frozen ends of bread I keep in the freezer for just this purpose. Set the oven to Broil on High. I use 4 slices of bread. Watch them closely. The bread will burn quickly if let in too long. By too long, I mean 2 minutes on one side. I usually set a timer for 60 seconds. Check. If crisp enough, turn bread and set timer again for the other side. If the bread isn’t crispy enough, set timer for 20-30 second intervals. Once the bread is crisped enough, rip them into about four pieces each and put in a small food processor. Put all four slices in and grind and chop until the bread turns into breadcrumbs. This should make just over a cup. Measure out the cup you need and put it into a bowl.
  3. Add the flour, poultry seasoning, paprika and sage to the breadcrumbs and give it a good stir with a fork to spread the spices. If using store bought breadcrumbs, don’t forget to add them in this step.
  4. Use the same small food processor to grind up your fresh garlic. If using minced garlic, you can add it to the food processor with your chickpeas. Add the rinsed chickpeas to the food processor. I pulse it continually until it looks like tiny chickpea rocks. I hope that makes sense!
  5. Add the chickpea and garlic mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl.
  6. Add the olive oil, vegetable broth and liquid aminos and stir with a fork.
  7. Use your hands to knead the mixture in the bowl a little bit. I do it for maybe 30-60 seconds.
  8. You need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for this next step. I take blobs of the cutlet mixture and spread them out with my fingers into circle shapes. I try for a school cafeteria chicken patty shape. 🙂 The mixture is very sticky and doughy. But it all comes together in the end.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the cutlets once after 15 minutes.
Uncooked Cutlets

Uncooked Cutlets. I usually get 11-12 of these per batch.

Uncooked Cutlets

Close Up of the Uncooked Cutlets

Here’s what my cutlets look like cooked on top of the noodles for “Cutlets Parmesan.” I’ll share that recipe in the future.

Cooked Chickpea Cutlets.  I forgot to take a close up pic of just the cutlets.  Sorry y'all!

Cooked Chickpea Cutlets in my Cutlet Parmesan recipe. I forgot to take a close up pic of just the cutlets. Sorry y’all!

The Huzz also thinks these will make great sammies. As soon as I buy some lettuce, we want to try these as sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and onions. Mmmm! Can’t wait.

These also freeze beautifully.  I love having these babies ready to go in the freezer.  It makes me happy. Happy is good.

And we certainly LOVE these! We hope you love these cutlets, too.