Having lived in the great state of Texas, I got to know Chicken Fried Steak intimately.......specifically, from a fast food joint called Grandys. I mean Chicken Fried Steak to go? Be still my heart.
So in an effort to recreate that Texan comfort food I once loved, I made this Chicken Fried Tofu.
And oh boy howdy y'all, is it ever good!
There's just something about that chewy, deep-fried goodness, especially with that flavorful breading and all smothered in gravy....
MAN was that good stuff.
Yes, even as a converted meat-eater I still miss this kind of food too. I mean it was comfort food! And I think that is one of the main reasons so many new folks fail when they try to make the switch to plant-based....
They miss their favorite comfort foods!
And something like this? Deep fried steak? This would normally be completely out of the question!
But IS it?
What if we took something else besides meat, like breaded TOFU and baked it instead?
Extra-firm Tofu, dipped in a flavorful batter and dredged in those 11 secret herbs & spices, baked to a crispy perfection... Would it taste just as good?
Well, I'm here to tell you YES! This was PERECT , even BETTER than what I remembered.
And the best part? If this recipe helps just ONE person stay on track, then I will have succeeded.
And that's really what Brand New vegan is all about:
Recreating those comfort foods we loved, so you don't feel like you're missing a thing.
So with that said, let's make some Chicken Fried.....
Chicken Fried Tofu
Start with a 14oz package of Organic, Extra-Firm Tofu. Make a slit in the package and drain all the water out, then lay the block on a cutting board.
We're going to cut this into 3 equally thick slabs, about ½" thick. Lay these on a kitchen towel or paper towels, cover them with more toweling, and then place something heavy like another cutting board on top. I go as far as to put something even heavier on top of the cutting board.
The idea is to press as much water out of the Tofu Steaks as possible (this makes them chewier).
Let them sit for a good 20 minutes or more, changing the paper toweling out every 10 minutes or so.
Next, let's prepare the batter and breading. Since this part is exactly like my Kentucky Fried Cauliflower recipe, I'll just copy and paste those instructions here.
Ok so first, let’s make the breading
Combine the Panko, and all the dry breading ingredients together in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly and then pour this into a flat, shallow pan we can use for dredging.
Next, let’s get the gravy started
We’re going to whisk ¼ cup of flour, the nutritional yeast, sage, salt, pepper, and thyme together in a small bowl and pour this into a large frying pan. We want to toast the flour and spices just slightly (1 min or so) before slowly whisking in 3 cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk.
Simmer over med-low heat, stirring often, until it thickens to a gravy-like consistency (it will thicken even more when it cools).
Now the batter
Whisk ½ cup of chickpea flour (or regular flour), the onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Meanwhile, whisk 2 tsp of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar together with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk to make the ‘buttermilk’.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to make a thin, pancake-like batter (it should not be thick). Pour this into another flat, shallow pan and let’s start dipping.
The dredging process
By now our Tofu should be nice and dry.
For the actual dredging process, professional chefs will use what is known as the “wet/dry hand” method here. What that means is, they will use one hand to place the Tofu into the wet batter.
I used a pastry brush to make sure the Tofu was evenly coated without handling it too much. Then with that same wet hand, I gently placed it into the breading.
Then with my other (dry) hand, I gently spooned the breadcrumbs over it evenly until it was thoroughly coated.
For the baking pan, I used a normal cookie sheet with a cooling rack placed on top. This allows the Tofu to cook evenly without having to flip or turn. Here is a photo sent in by one of my readers showing the same method she used to make my Kentucky Fried Cauliflower.
Thanks for the idea Pam!
So once our Tofu is battered and breaded, gently place them on the pan.
We're going to bake them in a regular oven at 400° F. Check often and remove when they are brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.
Here are some alternative ways of using this recipe that may be helpful.
Convection: If you have a convection oven, the cooking time will probably be less. Check often.
Air Fryer: If you have an air fryer - I'm not sure my little 3 qt Air Fryer would have room for 3 Tofu steaks without touching. If you want to experiment by making smaller pieces, go for it. I would say check them frequently and give them a little shake from time to time.
Tofu: In addition to the Tofu, I also use this same process to batter and bread 3 large Cauliflower Steaks. I basically removed the leaves and stem of a large head of Cauliflower and then sliced it into 3 large, 1" thick slices. It was good, but cutting the Cauliflower into steaks was a messy process and I lost a lot of it as it crumbled into smaller florets.
Well, gang - that's about it for this week.
Please let me know how you like my Chicken Fried Tofu, and as always, keep those comments coming.
Chicken Fried Tofu
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 3 1x
- Category: Comfort Food, Main Course
- Cuisine: McDougall, Oil-Free, Vegan
Having lived in Texas, I got to know Chicken Fried Steak intimately.... specifically from a fast-food joint called Grandys. So in an effort to recreate that Texan comfort food I loved, I made this Chicken Fried Tofu. And oh man y'all - it IS good!
- 14 oz Tofu ((extra firm))
- 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice)
- ½ cup Chickpea Flour
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tbs Paprika
- 2 tsp Garlic Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Dried Mustard
- 1 tsp Celery Seed
- ½ tsp White Pepper
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Ground Thyme
- ½ tsp Dried Basil
- ½ tsp Oregano
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper ((or to taste))
- ¼ cup Flour
- 1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Rubbed Sage
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper ((or to taste))
- 1 pinch Ground Thyme
- 3 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk ((or more to thin))
- Drain tofu and slice into 3 equally-thick steaks (about ½" thick)
- Wrap the Tofu Steaks in paper towels and place something heavy on top to press out as much moisture as possible.
- Press and drain for at least 20 minutes, changing paper towels as needed.
- Whisk all dry ingredients together in a bowl, then spread evenly in a flat, shallow pan for dredging. Set aside.
- Whisk all dry gravy ingredients together and then pour into a large skillet. Toast dry ingredients for 1-2 minutes over med-low heat, then slowly stir in 3 cups of almond milk.
- Whisk to remove any lumps and stir often as it begins to thicken.
Once the gravy has thickened to a thick, gravy-like consistency, remove from heat and set aside. ( It will thicken even more - thin with more almond milk if necessary)
- Whisk all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Also, whisk either lemon juice or vinegar into almond milk to make the 'buttermilk'. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Pour batter into a flat, shallow pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
- With one hand place a Tofu Steak into the batter. Brush batter evenly to make sure it's evenly coated. With the same wet hand, place the battered Tofu into the breading.
- Using your other (dry) hand, spoon or scoop the breadcrumbs evenly over the Tofu until evenly coated. Place Tofu Steak on pan.
- Bake at 400 degrees F until brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.
I've tried many of your recipes with varying degrees of success but this one chicken fried tofu) was the first one that was BAD. For me and my husband, the seasoning was unpleasant, the texture not good and the gravy tasted spoiled. Sorry,
It doesn't mean the recipe was bad - it just means you didn't like it. And that's ok if you don't. I personally loved it as I'm sure other's will too.
That was a little harsh Ruth and, rather rude. I think it was delicious and, so did my family...
I wanted to give my review, since the only other one is negative. My family thought this was amazing. I'm not a huge fan of tofu. We're split down the middle in the family with 2 that like it and 2 that do now; however, we all agreed that this needs to be added to our weekly line-up. I did make one modification on the breading, since I did not have the celery seed, white pepper and ground ginger. I used 2 teaspoons of Trader Joe's 21 spice salute and added the paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Otherwise, I followed it to the letter.
I really like it! It had a lot more flavor then any recipe I have had. Im really impressed! This was really a great subisitute.
I just made this recipe last night. It was delicious will definitely make again
Hi! I just found your recipe on Pinterest and gave it a try. It is delicious! Thanks for sharing and I will definitely make it again.
I loved it! and the gravy is my go to when I want biscuits and gravy!
This was amazing. I made mine in the air fryer at 200 C for 15 minutes.
I followed the recipe to a T. The tofu breading is OK, but the bread crumbs don't much stick and overall it remained very bland. It didn't help either that even after over an hour, the gravy was thicker but no where near thick and it didn't taste flavorful at all. I gave up and used a spicy mayo sauce on the tofu (now cold) instead to actually have some flavor. I was very disappointed how this didn't turn out and the waste of so much almond milk.
In order to make this recipe you have to be good at making gravy and making chicken fried anything..also, you have to taste, taste and taste again..Everyone's palate is unique, the quantities 9f spices are an estimate. You must tweak it to your taste ie if you don't like food salty, peppery and/or a certain spice use common sense and your palate to use spices you like. Gravy is a very difficult sauce to get perfectly every time, even when you've made it a 100 times. If its bland, add more salt/pepper/spices until it no longer is bland. Don't follow a recipe "to the t" because food is intimate and personal. Follow the basic part of the recipe, but always keep tasting until it fits your tastes. There is no way to create a recipe or food that will please everyone. True cooks know this. Its not the recipes fault.
I've made *many* fried tofu recipes since going vegan and my partner and I INHALED these. They tasted great! A trick I like to incorporate in marinating the tofu in a "no chicken" broth then begin the breading process. The spices were amazing and we did a combination of baking and air frying. Thanks for sharing this!
These beans look amazing, I can never cook them like that. Can you please let me know your secret? xx
Thank you so much for this recipe!! It is delicious!!! I sliced mine into 4 pieces instead of 3. And i changed it little bit. I didn't have panko so i used italian seasoned bread crumbs because that is what i had. I will most definitely be making this again!! I have 2 pieces left and some gravy too. My dinner for tomorrow night!
I made a few changes to this recipe, because of what I had on hand. I used soy milk, and it was a fabulous substitute for buttermilk with the lemon! I did not have one of the seasonings the celery, but everything else on hand and it was still great! Thanks so much I am going to share it.
This recipe is amazing!!! The breading and gravy are so flavorful and tasty. Even my non-vegan relatives absolutely loved it. Definitely a comfort food recipe and I’ll be making this often!!! Thank you Chuck!!!
Delicious! A bit of work, but really good. Perfect with vegan mac and cheese, green beans, or mashed potatoes.
Delicious! Very easy to make. I would probably skip the garlic salt. It’s a touch overpowering (still very good though). I found that I had A LOT of batter, breading, and gravy leftover. I even served this with mashed potatoes, and we went heavy on the gravy for both the tofu and potatoes. Not a big deal, because I can enjoy the leftover gravy on something else later. Still, I will use an extra package of tofu next time I make this. I tossed out a lot of batter and breading. I used soy milk for the “buttermilk”, as I find it works well. Again, this is super delicious and easy. Thank you!
Tried this with a few tweaks because i was missing some ingredients. Had to sub ritz crackers for panko, oatmilk for almond, and i was lacking sage. However it still came out great. I added some veggie stock to the gravy in place of some milk and just a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. The tofu patties came out beautiful and had a nice looking texture.next time i want to marinate the tofu in the buttermilk before making it a batter.
Definitely a keeper! My husband and I both loved the tofu steaks (which I divided into 4 pieces instead of 3). I also used oat milk instead of almond. The gravy wasn't my favourite. Next time I will use this one: https://www.heynutritionlady.com/amazing-vegan-gravy/
This was really good. Next time I'll use soymilk as almond milk tastes a bit sweet. I do watch the labels because sometimes it says unsweetened but if you check the ingredients, there's sugar. I had a lot of breading and batter left, but the beauty of that is there's no egg contamination so I'll figure out something to make with it. Oh yeah I cooked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes in my airfryer. Flipping halfway thru.
Loved it!!! I'm going to use the extra breading and batter for veggie burgers.
Winner Winner no chicken dinner! Amazing recipe!!!!!! The gravy was superb and the tofu was crispy and seasoned perfectly. I’ve been a vegan for 8 years and really miss southern comfort food. This hit the spot.
Chuck, I have been wanting to make this for a while. Despite near 100* heat, I made this for dinner tonight. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. It was delicious! I tasted as I cooked, tweaked some spices to our liking. What an amazing recipe! I did have a lot of batter leftover, so will make less next time, but there will be many next times., thank you!