Panko Crusted Tofu Nuggets with Sriracha Cream Dipping Sauce

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I rarely buy frozen food products, but as the only vegetarian attending a 4th of July BBQ I decided to bring frozen veggie burgers.  My biggest problem with “fake meat” frozen food products is that they are loaded with fillers and unnatural ingredients.  As I perused the frozen food section, I wondered how I could recreate some of these items without all the unnecessary additives.  Using my Italian heritage, I came up with the veggie version of breaded chicken.  Crusted with panko and cut into 2 inch rectangles, these tofu pieces are the closest any vegetarian will come to indulging in chicken nuggets.  And a chicken nugget isn’t complete without a dipping sauce.  I didn’t want to negate all my healthy cooking with sugar-filled ketchup or sweet and sour sauce, so I created a healthy creamy alternative.  With only two ingredients, the Sriracha Cream Sauce adds big spicy flavor to the delicious nuggets!

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Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 15-ounce package super firm tofu, cut into two inch pieces (about the size of chicken nuggets)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs (you can also use regular breadcrumbs, but panko is crunchier)

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

2 tablespoon of Canola, Sunflower, Vegetable, or Grapeseed oil

For sauce:

1 cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup Sriracha (add more or less based on desired level of heat)

Directions:

1)   Crack two eggs into bowl and whisk.

2)   On a plate, combine panko, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Spread out panko mixture so that it’s flat on the plate.

3)   Dunk tofu pieces in egg, making sure they are completely drenched.

4)   Dip egg drenched tofu pieces in panko mixture and turn until covered.  Place panko covered tofu on clean plate.  Do this with all pieces, like an assembly line.

5)   After all the tofu pieces are covered in panko, heat large skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat for 2 minutes.

6)   Add tofu to hot pan (it should sizzle) and cook first side for 3-5 minutes.  Add second tablespoon of oil and flip all the tofu.  Cook the second side for 3-5 minutes.  Cooking time will vary based on stovetops, but the tofu will be done when each side is golden brown.

7)   Set up a clean plate covered in paper towel.  When tofu is done, take it out of skillet and put on plate with paper towel to soak up some oil.

8)   While tofu is cooking, make Sriracha Cream Sauce by combining Greek Yogurt and Sriracha in small bowl and mixing with a spoon.

Nutrition Notes: 

  • A ½ cup of tofu contains 10g of protein, making it one of the best sources of vegetarian protein.
  • Tofu is high in protein and low in calories.  A ½ cup of tofu contains 10g of protein and only 95 calories, while 95 calories of beef contains only 8g of protein.
  • As a completely plant based product, tofu contains no cholesterol and is a heart healthy food.
  • A ½ cup serving of tofu contains 15% daily value of calcium, which is the same amount of calcium in ½ cup of milk!

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