Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites
Vegan football food! Is that an oxymoron?
I’m pretty sure it is. If I had to guess I’d say that less than 1% of football fans are vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. But for those of you that are and don’t feel like eating the standard processed faux hot dog, fear not- I’ve gotcha covered.
These tofu bites are bursting with flavor from a spicy buffalo cornmeal breading that pairs perfectly with a cool blue cheese sauce. And they look so much like chicken that even a carnivore will have to take a second look to believe that they’re not.
I mean, can you believe that coating? I still can’t. I was a Nervous Nellie wondering if it would hold up okay but as you can see, it stuck to the tofu like a clingy boyfriend.
So let’s talk about tofu for a second. If you look back at my recipes on the blog you’ll notice that I rarely cook with it because, let’s face that facts, it can be bland and occasionally kind of mushy. <blech
To avoid that, I recommend using extra firm or super firm tofu and possibly one that isn’t soaked in water such as this brand. That particular type is a 20 ounce block which gave me 36 bites total, but you can always use a smaller amount if you’re unable to find the same exact kind.
For the coating I used was a combination of whole wheat breadcrumbs, medium-grind cornmeal, and brown rice flour but feel free to substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs and/or any kind of finely milled flour you have on hand.
The trick to getting the bites to hold so much flavor is to dip them into the hot sauce after they’ve been breaded and then back into the breading one last time. This allows you to have a semi-wet breading to work with so that you can smooth it around the squares with your fingers. The end result is a thick and spicy coating with a subtle crunch from the panko and cornmeal.
We ate them with sweet potato fries and an ice cold beer while watching the game and it made for a delicious snacky kind of meal.
Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites
Yield: 36 bites
Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 40
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Tofu Bites
- 20 ounces super firm tofu, drained and pressed*
- 2 tablespoons ground chia seed
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or water) + 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat/ can also sub gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup hot sauce
Blue Cheese Sauce**
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
- 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons water
Once the tofu is pressed and dry, slice it down the side in the middle lengthwise and then slice it perpendicular to that in one inch intervals. You should have 12 rectangular pieces at this point. Slice those into one inch squares so that there are 36 squares total. You might have less if you are using a smaller block of tofu. Alternatively, you can cut them into strips if that’s what you prefer.
Next combine the almond milk (or water) with 1/4 cup hot sauce and 2 tablespoons ground chia seed then set aside to thicken. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs, cornmeal, flour and spices) and set aside. Place the remaining hot sauce (1 cup) in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Start coating the tofu by rolling each piece in the almond milk mixture and then place it in the breadcrumbs. From there, dip each piece into the hot sauce and then place it back into the breadcrumbs until it’s completely coated. Use your fingers to press the breading around each piece until it feels firm then transfer it to the cookie sheet.
Once all of the pieces are coated and on the cookie sheet, bake them in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and flip each piece over before cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the blue cheese sauce by combining all of the ingredients into a food processor and blending until smooth. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner texture.
Serve tofu bites warm with cheese sauce or place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*To press tofu, place it between two kitchen towels with a stack of heavy books on top and allow to sit for at least an hour.
** Sub vegan blue cheese dressing for a dairy-free option or try this vegan cashew ranch