Chicken Fried Tofu Sandwiches will impress vegetarians and omnivores alike. Crispy, pan-fried tofu, spicy mayo, and a simple slaw piled high on a toasted bun for the ultimate vegan sandwich.
The Best Chicken Fried Tofu Sandwich:
I truly can’t describe how swoon-worthy these sandwiches are. They are the ultimate vegan “fried chicken” sandwich experience, and will win the votes of even the most devout meat eaters.
To start, we have ultra-crispy slabs of tofu coated with all the spices of classic fried chicken. Next, a Sriracha-spiked mayo to help anchor the tofu to the toasted buns. And to finish, a supremely simple slaw to add crunch and brightness to the sandwich. In short, they’re a truly transcendent plant-based delight that you absolutely must try.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is made from soymilk that has been coagulated and either curdled and pressed into blocks (firm or extra-firm tofu) or left in its coagulated state to retain moisture (silken tofu). As a result, tofu has a soft, creamy mouthfeel and a mild flavor. Look for it in the refrigerated produce section of most grocery stores.
For these sandwiches (and most of my recipes), I call for extra-firm tofu because it contains the least amount of moisture. I especially love the super-firm, vacuum-sealed tofu from Trader Joe’s, which I’ve found gets crispier than most other brands. Either way, the key is to press as much liquid out of the tofu as possible before cooking. The drier the tofu, the crispier the crust!
Is Tofu Healthy?
Tofu is rich in calcium and protein, which ranges from about 4g in 3 oz. of silken to 10g in 3 oz. of extra-firm. It’s also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. In addition, it’s a top source of isoflavones, a type of flavonoid that has estrogen-like effects and may help lower the risk of certain cancers.
When it comes to buying organic vs. conventional tofu, organic will ensure the soybeans are not GMO.
How to Make Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu:
For these sandwiches, the tofu gets the exact same treatment as fried chicken, which gives it its crave-worthy appeal. However, instead of using a buttermilk, the tofu is marinated in a mix of alt milk (soy, cashew, rice, etc.) and soy sauce to infuse it with savory goodness. After a quick marinade, the tofu is dunked into a mix of flour, corn starch, and spices. You could also arrowroot starch if you’re sensitive to corn products, however I’ve found the corn starch helps achieve the crispiest crust. The tofu gets a double-dredge to ensure the crispiest coating.
When it’s time to pan-fry, it’s best to use a neutral cooking oil (such as plain ol’ vegetable oil), however you could also use extra-virgin olive oil. You’ll also want to use a high-sided skillet, preferably cast-iron, to avoid oil splatter. Ideally, the oil you fry in should register at 350°F before adding the blocks of tofu. At this temperature, the tofu will immediately start crisping once it hits the hot oil. However, once you add the tofu the temperature will drop considerably, so you may need to raise the heat to get it back to that sweet spot.These are, hands-down, the most epically delicious vegan sandwiches I’ve ever tried. Add them to your plant-based arsenal and be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your sublime sandos!
And, if you’re looking for more plant-based inspo, check out some of my other favorite tofu recipes:
- 1 block extra-firm tofu
- ½ cup unsweetened soy or cashew milk
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ¾ tsp. black pepper
- ¾ tsp. garlic powder, divided
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 3 cups thinly sliced/shaved cabbage (green, purple, or mix of both)
- ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (sub vegan mayo)
- 2 tsp. Sriracha
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 4 buns, toasted
- Slice tofu width-wise into 4 even slabs and place in a dry towel. Fold towel over tofu and press firmly to remove excess moisture.
- Combine milk and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce in a small square baking dish. Place tofu in soy mixture and let sit 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
- In a separate baking dish or wide-rimmed bowl, combine flour, corn starch, paprika, black pepper, ½ tsp. garlic powder, salt, and onion powder.
- Heat ½ inch of oil in a large high-sided skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high until temperature registers 350° F. Dip the tofu in the flour mixture, turning to coat, dip back in the soy marinade, then re-dip in the flour to thoroughly coat. Carefully lay tofu into hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until crust is crispy and golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine cabbage, scallions, rice vinegar, and remaining 2 tsp. soy sauce; toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, lemon juice, and remaining ¼ tsp. garlic powder. Spread a thin layer on the tops and bottoms of each bun.
- Place one fried tofu patty on the bottom of each bun and top evenly with slaw.