Buffalo Chicken-Fried Tofu

You read that, right? You realize I mean tofu, fried like buffalo chicken. You think I'm crazy. How did I make tofu that tastes like buffalo chicken? It's magic, really. Or, rather, patience and the artful use of tofu and panko bread crumbs.

You'll love this, I promise. A hard-core, meat-eating man with tons of tattoos and a Harley would love this. So call your cousin Johnny right now and invite him over for dinner.

There's no meat, dairy or nearly any fat. It's not fried. It's baked. That means low cholesterol, low fat and very kind to your body. Johnny will like this. He won't even miss the meat, or the fried batter, or gobs of oil.

Maybe he'll love it so much he'll decide to adopt that puppy you've always wanted. Perhaps he'll be inspired to volunteer at the soup kitchen tonight and ladle out bowls to those in need. Maybe he'll knit a sweater for grandma. Plant a garden. Recycle his used motor oil. Choose a reusable bag instead of a plastic one at the store...

Wow! You've done good. Look at Johnny go! Making all those healthy, positive choices. And it all started with some buffalo chicken-fried tofu.

Buffalo Chicken-Fried Tofu

  • 1 package firm tofu (about 15 oz.)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons hot wing sauce (can also use BBQ sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Freshly ground pepper

To prepare your tofu, drain from container and slice into about 1/4" thick pieces, about 3" by 3" in size. Place tofu pieces in rows on two layers of clean kitchen towel and cover with an additional 2 layers of towel. Use a pyrex pan or other large rectangular, flat bottom dish and set on top of top layer of towels. Use any heavy object(s) and place on top of dish, so it all presses down heavily on the tofu, drawing the moisture out onto the layers of towels. Several cookbooks do a great job. Leave on kitchen counter for about 1 hour.

When ready to cook tofu, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with a spray of oil.

Prepare the breading by combining nutritional yeast (available in the bulk bin at any natural foods store, like Whole Foods), panko bread crumbs, chili powder, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Set aside until tofu is ready.

After an hour, remove tofu from towels (it will be very dry and more solid feeling) and, on a new plate, coat the pieces with the hot wing sauce. Remove from sauce and dredge in your breading mixture. Make sure tofu is coated on all sides.

Place tofu in even rows on oiled baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake for 15 more minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes, sauteed greens (I did chard) and whatever else you like to complement a Southern Feast.