Vegan Tofu Parmesan
This Vegan Tofu Parmesan is crispy, satisfying, and so scrumptious! It takes just 10 minutes to whip up this hearty meal that will surely become a family favorite.
As a kid, chicken parmesan was one of my favorite meals. I have fond memories of going to Olive Garden with my family (oh yes, the good ole days…) and sharing a plate of chicken parm with my dad. Even as an adult, before I dove into plant-based food, chicken parmesan was one of my favorite meals.
So, naturally, I had to try my hand at recreating this classic meat and cheese dish using only plant-based ingredients. The result? Well, my husband declared that this vegan tofu parmesan was his favorite meal I’ve ever made. And honestly, I might have to agree. It’s so easy, healthy, and bursting with flavor!
Another reason I’m a huge fan of this tofu parmesan is that it’s great for kids – especially when it comes to hitting everything on the PB3 Plate. If you haven’t heard of the PB3 Plate, it’s a plate we designed which helps parents ensure their children are meeting all their nutrient needs. You can read more about it over on the Plant-Based Juniors website!
Take this vegan tofu parmesan, add some veggies on the side, and it hits all the three main categories – Legumes, Nuts + Seeds (tofu), Grains + Starches (pasta), and Fruits + Veggies (broccoli). Plus, you have your friendly fat + omega-3s (cashews and olive oil), iron + calcium (tofu), and vitamin C (tomato sauce). Tofu and pasta are two of Caleb’s favorite foods, so he gobbles down this dish every time I make it.
Not only is the PB3 model great for kids, but it works for adults too. Typically, we think about our nutrients in terms of macros (protein/carbs/fat) and micros (vitamins/minerals), and this way of thinking actually matches up with the PB3 plate. We have protein (legumes, nuts + seeds), complex carbs (grains + starches), and healthy fat (friendly fat), along with our micronutrients (fruits and veggies) – and this vegan tofu parmesan meets all of these!
Don’t be alarmed by the multiple steps in this recipe – it’s really just dipping into flour, then soy milk, and then breadcrumbs. I usually hate recipes that have multiple steps, but this is actually so easy once you’ve done it once. Pro tip – use a fork to dip the tofu so you don’t get wet sticky breading all over your hands.
Can I bake this vegan tofu parmesan?
Yes! You can totally bake it if you’d prefer (see instructions below), but keep in mind that a little healthy fat from olive oil is great for both kids and adults and not a problem as a part of a balanced diet. For more info on this topic, check out my video on oils! >>
How to Choose the Best Cooking Oil + Is Oil Healthy?!
What Kind of Tofu Should I Use for Vegan Parmesan?
I recommend using extra-firm tofu to get the optimal texture and flavor from your tofu parmesan.
Do I Need a Tofu Press For this Recipe?
No – you can simply use two plates and a heavy jar on top. If you do want to opt for a tofu press, I love this one, but any press will do!
Is Tofu Healthy?
Yes! Despite popular belief, tofu and other soy products have actually shown to protect against many lifestyle diseases – so you can eat this vegan tofu parmesan worry-free! To learn more about the health benefits of soy, check out my three-part series here on the blog. >>
Vegan Tofu Parmesan
This Vegan Tofu Parmesan is full of flavor and so easy to make!
Author: Whitney English
Recipe type: Dinner
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed*
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup soy milk
- ¼ cup cashews
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (or sub another teaspoon garlic powder)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Place the flour on a plate or shallow dish.
- Pour the soy milk into a separate shallow dish.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse the cashews, yeast, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until it is fine and flaky, taking care not to over-process.
- Add the panko and pulse 1-2 times to incorporate it.
- Pour the mixture onto a third plate or shallow dish.
- Make two cross-section cuts through the middle of the tofu cutting it into three rectangles. Then cut each at a diagonal so you have six triangle-shaped pieces. Pat them dry.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium.
- Dredge the tofu in the flour, coating all sides, and shaking off any excess.
- Next, the dip tofu into the soy milk, shaking off excess milk.
- Lastly, the dip tofu into the panko mixture, coating all sides.
- Repeat with each slice.
- Fry the tofu for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.**
- Serve immediately with pasta and marinara sauce.
*I recommend pressing for as long as possible (12-24 hours) to get tofu fillets that are as dense as chicken (if that's your jam). It still works, though, if you just give it a 20-30 minute press.
**You could also bake the tofu, but it won't be as crispy. To bake, spray breaded tofu with olive oil and bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
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I am not a vegan or vegetarian, thankful for good genes to reach age 89, try to eat a healthful diet and am Italian. Vegan tofu Parmesan sounds delicious. Does it keep well in the refrigerator as a left over and does it freeze well? Thank you.
Whitney E. RD says:
I haven’t tried freezing it but it does start to get soggy after about a day in the fridge – although I think it still tastes good :)
Tried this tonight! Rave reviews from my husband and 2-year old daughter!!!
LOVE this recipe! We used it to make our thanksgiving main and it turned out so good!! Just substituted the seasonings for sage, thyme, etc and added some corn meal to the breadcrumbs. Yum!! Thankyou!!