Crispy Tofu Cutlets with Sweet Potato Quinoa and Lemony Cream Sauce (vegan | plant-based)

This meal is truly something else. It’s pretty easy to make, meal-prep friendly and, let me tell you, f*cking delicious. It’s definitely one of those meals you could make for a meat-eater and they would be like “WHOA, could I be plant-based?” I made this for Matt and myself last night and he absolutely loved it.

I was inspired to make this quinoa salad for us after making it for clients earlier this week. For them, it was the side dish to go with skirt steak and mushroom sauce. I don’t eat steak, so as I was making it for us, I decided I’d also whip up simple of my breaded tofu cutlets to go on top. And when it was all coming together I thought, this really needs a sauce (are we surprised by this?). So I made a super quick, no-cook, no-chop lemon cashew sauce in 5 minutes flat. Perfection.

I serve the whole thing bowl-style, of course. In my opinion, the best way to eat plant-based food (or any food for that matter) is piling everything together and eating it all as one. That way, the flavors and textures can play off of each other and create a party in your mouth.

Crispy Tofu Cutlets with Sweet Potato Quinoa and Lemony Cream Sauce
serves 4


for sweet potato quinoa

3 medium-large sweet potatoes, diced
olive oil
sea salt, fine grain
1 cup quinoa, dry
4 shallots, diced
5+ oz baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

for lemony cream sauce

2/3 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic granules
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
zest and juice of 1/2 large lemon

for tofu cutlets

1 block super firm or extra firm tofu
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
olive oil

To Make

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).

Dice sweet potato, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes. Flip and rearrange. Roast for another 20-25 minutes.

Make the tofu cutlets. Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining ingredients (except oil). Transfer to a low sided, flat bottom dish, like a pie plate. Cut the block of tofu cross-wise into 4 slabs. Brush each slab with olive oil, get all the sides. Press the tofu slabs, one by one, in the breadcrumb mixture until well coated. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Flip and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until desired crispness is reached.

Get the quinoa going. Combine 1 cup dry quinoa, 2 cups plus an extra splash of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 13-14 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for 8 minutes until soft, translucent and browned. Remove from heat and add spinach, carefully toss until wilted. Transfer immediately to quinoa bowl. Mix well. Add sweet potatoes when they are finished roasting and slightly cooled. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

For the sauce, blend all ingredients together until super smooth. Use a small blender cup for this. My blender cup is pretty small so I blended everything except lemon juice/zest first, to decrease volume, and then added lemon for a second blend. Season with salt to taste.

To assemble, make a bed of quinoa and drizzle with sauce. Top with a cutlet. Drizzle with more sauce. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper if desired.

– if using super firm tofu, no pressing is necessary. If using extra firm, press for 15 minutes to remove some of the moisture.
– the tofu continues to firm up as it cools so cook it to a slightly softer texture than you think.

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