Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu

I have a sneaking suspicion that this dish will dethrone teriyaki tofu as my go-to tofu recipe this year. It checks all the boxes for an easy and satisfying weeknight dinner: it requires only a few ingredients, can be paired with any of your favorite dipping sauces, and it's irresistibly crispy without being fried. Sesame seeds add a deep roasted flavor to the simple panko breading.

If you can get your hands on high-protein or super-firm tofu (the kind that comes vacuum-packed, rather than in water), I recommend using it! It has an extra chew to it that almost mimics chicken nuggets in this recipe. If you use firm or extra-firm tofu, I recommend wrapping it in a tea towel and pressing out the extra moisture; this will ensure that your breading crisps up beautifully.

My favorite way to cook these is in my air fryer – they're done in about 10 minutes! If you happen to have one of these magical contraptions, I highly recommend this method; just spread your breaded tofu evenly along the bottom of the basket. Leave some space between them to allow the breading to crisp up on all sides.

If you're making a larger batch, it'll be more practical to bake them. I give them a quick spritz with cooking oil just to encourage them to brown (although this can be skipped) and bake them on a lined tray for easy cleanup.

Sweet chili sauce is my favorite companion to this tofu, but I also recommend a ginger-lime dressing, peanut sauce, or something lighter such as ponzu. If you want to go the extra step, you can even marinate your tofu for a few hours or overnight in your sauce of choice.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 30 mins

ingredients:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • sauce of choice, for dipping

instructions:

  1. Wrap tofu in a clean tea towel and press out extra moisture. I recommend stacking it with a cutting board and a few heavy cans for an hour. (Or, use high-protein/super-firm tofu and skip this step.)
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Cut tofu into cubes or steaks.
  3. Set up your breading station. In one shallow dish,  whisk together cornstarch and a generous pinch of salt. In another shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, onion and garlic powder, nutritional yeast and sesame seeds. Pour some soymilk in a bowl.
  4. Toss your tofu pieces in cornstarch. Dunk into soymilk and then press into breadcrumbs to coat generously.
  5. Arrange tofu on a lined baking tray. (Optional: Spritz lightly with cooking oil.) Bake for 15-20 minutes,  until breading is golden brown.  Alternatively, air fry at 450°F for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

notes

For extra flavor, feel free to marinate tofu in your favorite sauce for 30 minutes before breading it.
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