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.
LOVE the chicken tenders! They were so flavorful and crispy. I’ll try to make them with less butter next time though. The potatoes benefited from a bunch of garlic salt. Also made the honey mustard using the ingredients mentioned in a previous comment and it was great!0 Helpful
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