Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Italian Seasoned Crispy Tofu (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)

The first time I brought tofu home I didn't know what to do with it. It was not something I grew up eating, nor was it something my mother ever prepared! It's this white block floating in water and I was in unfamiliar territory. Well, I'm here to tell you that working with tofu is not as scary as it seems.

To prepare tofu, you take it out of the package, and place on a plate covered with several paper towels. Put some more paper towels on top of the tofu, and add something heavy on top. This is so you can press the excess water out of the tofu, which will make the tofu ready to absorb (what it does best!) whatever seasoning or sauce you want to put on it. After a couple of hours, you slice and cook it. Easy, right?

Now I must admit that in my early tofu days, finding something heavy enough that wouldn't completely pulverize the tofu was something of a challenge. And then there were the times that what I put on would fall off after about half an hour and scare me when it crashed to the floor. Or broke. What works for me is to put another plate on top of the paper towels and tofu and then I use my marble mortar and pestle for weight. You can use whatever you want, just make sure it can't fall off!

This recipe is so simple, delicious, and versatile you will wonder why you hadn't worked with tofu before. Use these crispy, tasty squares on top of salads or pasta, as a protein with veggies, or dunked in marinara sauce as an appetizer. The beauty of this recipe (besides the taste) is that the breading sticks to the tofu without adding an egg mixture. Easy, delicious, and not messy!

Italian Seasoned Crispy Tofu (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)

1 package extra-firm organic tofu
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup gluten-free Italian bread crumbs (I use Gillian's)
salt to taste

Prepare the tofu by removing from package and pressing for two hours. Cut into cubes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. (You want the oil to be hot, but not smoking. The tofu should sizzle when added to the pan). Sprinkle half of the bread crumbs on the tofu and add to the pan. Fry, turning, until golden and crispy (approximately five to seven minutes). While you are turning the tofu, sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the squares. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate with a paper towel. While still hot, sprinkle with salt to taste.

Serve hot and enjoy!


  1. Have you tried Ottolenghi's spiced black pepper tofu, it will change your life! This is also a link to my tumblr, silly and veg.

  2. Thanks Natsu!

    I will check out the spicy black pepper tofu -- I'm always on the lookout for a yummy tofu recipe or spiced tofu that is gluten-free. Thanks!