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Baked McTofu Nuggets

Tofu. It’s so… “vegan” isn’t it?

I can’t tell you how many nights of sleep I’ve lost (zero) trying to figure out how to remove the stigma associated with tofu. The problem isn’t the ingredient, it’s the preparation. Think of tofu like a block of white canvas just waiting for you to do something great with it. It can have amazing flavor and texture only IF you treat it with the care it deserves.

Lately this recipe has been one of my favorite ways to prepare tofu in a snap. All we’re doing is coating the tofu in a simple breading of masa harina (the cornmeal used to make tortillas) and seasonings, and then baking it. Baking makes this recipe much healthier than frying, but it also transforms the tofu’s texture into something soft and chewy, like a chicken nugget. The end result is a crispy coating around a dense but moist nugget of tofu. In all, it takes a few ingredients and 5 minutes of prep work to put Ronald McDonald to shame.

Tofu_Nuggets

Makes 12 nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz block extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2/3 cup masa harina (cornmeal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Tofu_Nuggets_Pan

Preheat oven to 375º F

Step One

Cut the extra firm tofu into little squares (any size between 1-2 inches wide) and approximately 1/4 inch thick. Then press them between paper towels to remove as much internal moisture as possible.

Step Two

Pour a bit of soy milk into a bowl. In another bowl, mix the cornmeal with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt (the exact measurements aren’t important, adjust to taste). Then, simply dip each square of tofu into the soy milk and then into the cornmeal mixture until completely coated. Transfer each slice onto a lightly-oiled baking sheet.

Step Three

Bake at 375º F for about 20 minutes on one side, then flip each square and cook for another 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool before serving with your favorite sauce (or perhaps over some cauliflower fettuccine Alfredo). Interestingly, I love these cold as well. Cut into strips and served on a salad? Incredible.

Tofu_Nuggets_Bite

21 Comments

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  1. I’m glad you posted this! I’m going to use this as inspiration to make breaded baked veggies! I developed a soy allergy a year and a half ago, & I do miss tofu. But I still find this recipe exciting, because it reminds me of the only way I ever liked (& actually loved) okra. My cousin coated them in cornbread mix and deep fried them! So, I am going to be inspired by both of you & enjoy making the best baked not fried veggies, ever!

  2. I was glad to see this recipe pop up in my email today, these were great with the sides (of veggies!) I had planned for dinner. I didn’t expect the masa harina to stick so well or for them to be so easy to make! But they came out perfect and they looked just like yours and tasted great dipped in homemade ketchup! (: Thank you!

    • Awesome!! I’m so glad you like them. It’s interesting how the masa sticks, isn’t it? As the tofu cooks, it seems to release moisture into the cornmeal, which helps it stick. That discovery was completely an accident 🙂

  3. Another delicious looking one! I have everything but the cornmeal, which I’m wondering if it can be replaced with breadcrumbs. Also I love the idea of baking and not frying!

    I am new to everything vegan and blogging, but not new to nutrition and healthy eating. I downloaded and read your manifesto, and agree with so much in it! We truly are in charge of our future and our health, and the food industry has a way of controlling so many people inadvertently because of convenience and efficiency. Recently I have been reading books like Eat to Live (by Dr. Fuhrman), Whole (T. Colin Campbell), and will be starting Fat Chance (Dr. Lustig) shortly. There are so many great nutritional resources that expose the negative affects of eating the way we do in today’s society.

    I am not a good cook. I have just used my crock pot 3 times in the past 6 days (when I started my vegan kick) and I am on a mission to find quick, easy, fun, healthful recipes.

    Thanks!

    • I’m so happy to hear that, C! 🙂 Those are some great books.

      I couldn’t say for sure, but if the breadcrumbs are very fine, they might work well, actually. Good luck!

  4. Hi Andrew!
    Finally made it tonight for dinner and it is really good! Husband was speechless that it was vegan (of course, I do not eat chicken!!!!).
    Thanks again for being so creative and good at what you do.
    Cheers

  5. I have a question about the masa harina. There is the masa that you use to make corn tortillas. There is the cornmeal that you use to make cornbread. The first is really just corn flour. The other is slightly more grainy. Which one should I use?

    Thanks tons! I love your site!!

    • That’s a good question, Elna. For these, I would use a fine cornmeal / corn flour instead of one that is more coarse. It will stick better and have a nicer overall feel. In my experience masa harina (which is treated with lime unlike regular cornmeal has a more distinct tortilla taste), is typically pretty fine.

  6. Hey, I stumbled upon this recipe and cannot WAIT to make these! Do you happen to have any nutrition info on these?

  7. Was disappointed with this recipe. Using the measurements above ended up with a final product that tasted like nothing and felt like a waste of 50mins of cooking. Needs far more interesting seasoning.

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