I like tofu best when it’s extra crispy and this easy popcorn tofu gets it done. I was always a fan of popcorn chicken growing up so I took a few cues when coming up with this recipe. But first thing’s first… freeze the tofu. Freezing and thawing tofu before pressing and cooking it gives the tofu a heartier, meatier texture (just be sure it’s completely thawed before using it).
Next comes the press. Pressing tofu releases liquid and for this recipe, creates a crispier and quicker cooking nugget. After pressing I tear the tofu into irregular pieces to give them a similar look and feel to that popcorn chicken I was talking about.
Finally, brush with olive oil and coat with crispy panko bread crumbs laced with poultry seasoning, a one-stop shop for deliciously savory flavor. All that’s left is to bake, dip and enjoy!
2 blocks extra firm tofu (frozen, thawed, pressed for 30 minutes)*
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs (make sure to check that they’re vegan if necessary)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1.25 teaspoons sea salt, fine grain
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
Combine the bread crumbs with nutritional yeast, poultry seasoning, granulated garlic and 3/4 teaspoon salt. I like to pulse the mixture in a small blender cup or food processor to create a finer mixture, it will stick to the tofu better. Set aside.
Gently tear each block of tofu block in about 32 pieces. In four batches, lay tofu nuggets onto a plate, tightly packed in a single layer, and brush with olive oil. Gently flip/toss and brush with olive oil again. You’ll need roughly 1 tablespoon for each whole block, maybe slightly less. In a small bowl, gently toss/coat with the bread crumb mixture. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batches.
Bake tofu for about 35 minutes. Flip and rearrange, then continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes.