I’m always hesitant around tofu as I haven’t found a way to make it in a way that I love. Yet I do love a good chicken nugget recipe. Hot, crispy nuggets are my jam, so if I can find a plant-based version I can’t help but try it! These tofu nuggets have been tested and perfected and I’m ready to share them with you. They remind me of vegan chicken nuggets and might just be what you need for vegan game day appetizers this weekend.
I’m not the biggest football fan, yet I love a good food spread and will cheer for the underdog every time. Tofu nuggets make a great dish to share, and I dare you just to set them on the table with no caveat about them being vegan… just let friends + family try them and sit back while they rave.
Table of Contents
How to Make Vegan Chicken Nuggets
Tear (don’t cut) the pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes and put them in a bowl. These don’t have to be exact, yet they will cook more evenly if they are roughly the same size. Tearing the tofu creates a jagged edge which helps them crisp up better (think Chick-fil-a style nuggets instead of McDonalds).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Pour the pickle juice, water, garlic powder and onion powder over the tofu. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. You can also marinate overnight.
Drain the tofu. In a shallow dish combine the cashew milk and lemon juice.
In a second dish combine the flour and sea salt, and in a third dish combine breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt.
Dip the tofu into the milk mixture then shake off the excess. Coat in the flour, dip into the milk again, then cover in the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to the tray and repeat with all the tofu pieces.
Once all the tofu nuggets are covered and on the tray, make sure to spread them out so they aren’t touching. Spray or brush the pieces with cooking spray or olive oil and bake 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through.
Serve your plant based nuggets with your fav dip (I’ve got some options below) and enjoy!
I know these plant-based nuggets have a few more ingredients than some other recipes I’ve shared. Read on for quick swaps that will still give you a tasty result:
Swap cashew milk with any plant milk. I like cashew milk because it’s creamy and a little thicker than almond. Oat milk is a great option too though you can use any milk of your choice.
Use an all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. My fav option is King Arthur’s flour. To make your vegan chicken nuggets completely gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs in place of the panko breadcrumbs.
Pickles may not be your thing (though I can’t understand why; they’re delicious!). You don’t have to worry about your tofu nuggets tasting like pickles. If you really don’t want to use pickle juice then pick another brine for soaking.
Need any other swap suggestions? Just drop a comment below and I’ll help you out.
Dipping Sauce Options
Let’s be honest, many good party recipes are truly all about the sauce. These tofu nuggets are basically a crunchy, blank canvas for the perfect creamy sauce. Hot sauce is always a winner, as well as coconut sriracha, a nutty hemp hearts sauce, vegan ranch dip, cashew cream, a fun pesto recipe or fresh avocado crema.
Feel free to try buffalo sauce, BBQ sauce, or even a vegan cheese sauce. Elevate this recipe with a whole sauce bar! You do you.
Tofu Nugget FAQs
If you’ve ever made homemade chicken nuggets, the recipe steps are similar. You need a marinade or brine, breading mixture and batter for both recipes. My tofu nugget recipe is oven-baked so I don’t need as much oil, and there is much less mess than skillet-frying. Even the spices are similar in my vegan chicken nugget recipe compared to homemade chicken nuggets.
Yes! Once the baked tofu has cooled completely, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze. Once the nuggets are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. They should last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Nope! I bake my crispy tofu nuggets in the oven and honestly, they are super crispy. Oven baking uses less oil and creates less mess, yet still yields a crunchy result.
Vegan Versions of Game Day Food
While I do eat meat, I honestly don’t get that excited about meat based dishes. However, I do love good comfort foods and also love figuring out how to turn traditional recipes into delicious plant based creations. So here are a few of my fav vegan options to bust out for parties:
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Crispy Potato Wedges
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Avocado Caprese Salad
- Potato Salad
- Thai-inspired Lettuce Wraps
- BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
- Blackberry Coconut Sorbet
- Strawberry Milkshake
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Fudgy Brownies
Toss in these crispy tofu nuggets and you’ve got a winning spread! Vegan recipes don’t have to be sub-par. I don’t want to eat food that’s sort of good… I want the real deal. So when I find a fav recipe that can be delicious with plant based ingredients you better believe I’m making it right away!
Give this recipe a try, then leave a rating + review to let me know how it turned out for you (and definitely include what dipping sauce you used; that’s as important as the nuggets!).
Crispy Tofu Nuggets
- 1 block extra firm tofu pressed overnight
- ½ cup pickle juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¾ cup cashew milk unsweetened
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- olive oil
- Tear the pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes (the smaller the better crunch!). Place in a large bowl.
- Pour the pickle juice, water, garlic powder and onion powder overtop the tofu. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a tray with parchment paper while the tofu is marinating.
- Drain the tofu. In a shallow dish, combine cashew milk and lemon juice.
- In a second dish, combine flour and sea salt. In a third dish, combine bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and salt.
- Dip the tofu into the milk, shaking off excess, then coat in flour, dip into the milk again, then cover with breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to the prepared tray. Repeat with all pieces of tofu. Once all the tofu is coated brush the tops with olive oil before baking.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with your fav dip.
- Swap all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour
- You can use any plant based milk in place of the cashew milk.
- For the strongest flavor from the brine, soak the tofu + brine overnight. If you are pressed for time though, 20 minutes will be fine.
- Swap the panko breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs of your choice.
- Make sure to leave space between the tofu nuggets on the baking sheet so that they can crisp properly on all sides.