Panko-crusted Tofu Tenders
with cauliflower and potato mash / baked tomatoes
This is our healthier, vegetarian take on a classic combination - fried chicken and mashed potatoes. A thin layer of melted butter and a roast in the oven gives these panko-breaded tofu "tenders" a crisp, flavorful exterior without the need for traditional frying. To lighten the mashed potatoes, we're adding cauliflower florets which have the added bonus of giving it a nice nutty flavor. Enjoy the dish with homemade honey mustard sauce for dipping!
- Tofu, extra firm (vacuum packed preferable) - 16 oz, sliced into 3/4" / 2cm thick rectangles
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika, smoked - 1/2 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Buttermilk, low-fat - 1/2 cup
- Panko breadcrumbs - 3/4 cup
- Flour, all-purpose - 1/4 cup
- Foil - for lining pan
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Honey - 2 Tbsp
- Mayonnaise - 2 Tbsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 Tbsp
- Vinegar, white wine - 1 tsp
- Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz, grated
- Thyme, fresh - 1 tsp, leaves torn
- Tomatoes, medium - 2, halved
- Cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen - 12 oz
- Potatoes, russet - 8 oz, cubed
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first. Then slice into 3/4” / 2cm rectangles (make these a good size to hold for dipping). (Can be done up 1 day ahead)
- Make tofu spice mix - Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make honey mustard sauce - (Double if making Tuesday’s meal.) Whisk together honey, mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cauliflower / Cheese / Thyme - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine cheese and thyme in another container. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Potatoes / Tomatoes - Prep as directed. (Peel the potatoes or leave them unpeeled for a more rustic mash.) To slice tomatoes, set them stem-side up on a cutting board. With your knife parallel to the counter, slice tomatoes in half.
- Prep breading stations - Pour buttermilk into one shallow container. Combine panko, flour and spice mix in a second shallow container.
- Heat oven to 400F / 204C.
- While oven heats, combine potatoes and cauliflower in a saucepan. Cover with water and season with some salt. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer until both potatoes and cauliflower are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with foil. Place butter on top of foil and transfer sheet pan to heated oven. Leave sheet pan in the oven until the butter is fully melted, ~3 minutes (keep an eye on it to avoid burning).
- Working in batches, coat tofu first in buttermilk and then press into flour / panko mixture until it coats all sides. Take heated pan out of oven and place tofu in a single layer on pan. Bake until tofu is golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip and continue baking ~5 minutes more.
- Once tofu is baking, place tomatoes in a small baking dish, cut-side up. Top tomatoes with cheese and thyme leaves. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Return to potatoes and cauliflower. Once they are tender, strain off water and add butter. Mash with a fork (or use an immersion blender to get it really smooth and creamy). Season with some salt.
- Serve tofu with honey mustard dipping sauce (reserve half if doubled for Tuesday). Enjoy potato / cauliflower mash and roasted tomatoes on the side.
The butter really made them soggy and I had to broil them to get it crispy. All in all we enjoyed them and will make them again. I didn't make the sides, just the chicken.0 Helpful
Rookie mistake - I crowded the pan, won’t do that next time! Mash was great!0 Helpful
I make the chicken tenders ALL the time!0 Helpful
Loved all parts of it!0 Helpful
Loved this! Made the honey mustard sauce from previous recipes! Also got pre-riced cauliflower that saved some time and money!0 Helpful
Chicken tenders easy and delicious0 Helpful