Breaded tofu cutlets are marinated, seasoned and coated in panko and lightly fried until golden. They are perfect as a main protein for lunch, dinner or even Thanksgiving! Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients -- most of these are pantry staples!
Tofu prep: Drain water off of tofu. Slice each block of tofu length-wise into three rectangles. Optional step: Lay tofu out on a baking sheet or cutting board. Don't overlap. Place in the freezer and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. Transfer to the fridge to thaw overnight, or place in a plastic bag and run under warm water until thawed.
Marinade: Whisk together marinade in a small bowl: vegetable broth, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Place tofu in a shallow dish (I use a 9x13 casserole dish) and cover with marinade. Marinate tofu slices for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through for even distribution.
To make pepper gravy: Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add vegan butter. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Slowly add soy milk, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Once bubbling over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low. Let simmer until thickened to gravy consistency, about 5 minutes.
Breading: Retrieve 3 similarly bowls that are big enough to dip tofu slices into. In one bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons ground flax with 6 tablespoons water to make a flaxeed "egg". Let sit for 5 minutes. In another sized bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder. In the final bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs.
Dunk each slice of tofu in the flour mixture, then egg mixture, then panko. Make sure that the tofu is completely covered with each mixture. Set aside on a plate.
Frying: Heat a large skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add peanut oil. Once hot, add breaded tofu, working in batches if needed. Shallow-fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Only flip when the tofu is completely cooked. Place cooked tofu on a paper-towel lined plate to drain off excess oil. Enjoy topped with pepper gravy.
Freezing the tofu for at least four hours before marinating it adds a great texture that readily absorbed marinade. This step is optional. I recommend pressing the tofu for 15 minutes if not freezing it.
Soy milk can be replaced with equal amounts of almond, cashew or oat milk.
Leftovers: This recipe is best enjoyed right away. However, leftovers are best reheated in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat to re-crisp the panko coating.
Nutrition facts: Nutrition calculations are a rough estimate. There will be some flour and Panko leftover that do not contribute. Not all oil is absorbed during frying.