Crispy balsamic tofu comes together in just 20 minutes and makes a great plant-based protein to throw on top of a big bed of salad greens, nourish bowl, or over rice! The perfect quick and satisfying meal! Fresh, flavorful, and honestly so addicting – it’ll make anyone a tofu lover!
What type of tofu is best to use to make crispy tofu?
You can honestly make crispy tofu with any variety of firm, extra firm, or high protein tofu. I personally love the extra firm high protein tofu (i buy mine at Trader Joes or Walmart) because you don’t have to press the water out of it and the texture is better, in my personal opinion!
How to properly press tofu
I remember the first time I went to prepare tofu, I was like what.. the.. heck. But it’s not as scary as it can seem! Tofu is stored in water and absorbs it, so you’ll want to press all of the water out of the block, before cutting it and preparing it. There are a few ways you can do this!
These days, you can find anything on Amazon. I got this tofu press and it has made life a bit easier. You just place the tofu inside, crank the knob to press it, and leave it for a few. All of the water will slowly press out.
If you don’t have one of those knifty contractions, no worries! Follow the instructions below:
1. Grab a large cookie sheet and place a wire cooling wrack on top of it.
2. Cut the tofu block into smaller squares and place on the rack.
3. Then, place a clean tea towel on top of the tofu. Place another cookie sheet on top of that.
4. Place heavy objects on top of the top cookie sheet, creating weight to press down on the tofu. Leave it for 30 minutes or so.
5. Remove the top cookie sheet. You can prepare the tofu as desired, just discard the water that drained to the bottom sheet!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Tapioca starch: You can also substitute arrowroot starch or corn starch. All three should yield similar results. I know most grocery chains now carry both tapioca and arrowroot and those are my go-to’s!
Tofu: As mentioned above, make sure to use an extra firm variety!
Balsamic: Opt for a balsamic without added sugars – these can be sneaky!
Dijon: Any variety of dijon or stone ground mustard should work.
Maple syrup: You can substitute honey.
How to make a crispy balsamic tofu salad
It’s super simple!
- Cut the tofu into small cubes and add to a large bowl. Toss in the tapioca flour and seasonings.
- Add the tofu cubes to a pan, with olive oil, and cook, tossing frequently, until crispy.
- Mix together the balsamic sauce in a small bowl. Once the tofu is crispy, add the sauce in and give everything a good mix. It should start caramelizing and stickin to the tofu.
- Assemble your salad with all of your favorite fix-ins, top with tofu, and enjoy!
The best salad formula
When I want to build a salad that is actually filling, satiating, and delish, I always follow this formula:
Healthy fats: Fats are so important to our brain and hormone health. They also are one of the most satiating macronutrients, so it’s incredibly important to ensure you’re adding a healthy fat to your salad to keep you fuller, longer! A sprinkle of nuts and seeds, avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, or your favorite dressing are all easy ways to incorporate some!
Protein: Every cell in the human body contains protein. Wild, right? It’s SO important, especially for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adding a source of protein to every meal is a great way to ensuring you’re on your way to consuming adequate amounts! Obviously here, we are using tofu!
Veggies: I say add as much color as possible! Different sources of greens, carrots, cabbage, beets, radish, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, artichoke – mix it up!
Fiber: Adding a source of fiber will keep you fuller for longer, feed your gut bacteria, and help aid digestion. Prebiotic rich foods are also incredibly important to include. Great sources of both are things like cassava and other root veggies, a sprinkle of chia or flax seeds, but I think my favorite sources are beans or lentils! A great source of starch would be potatoes!
Can i make crispy tofu in an air fryer?
YES! I love it out of the air fryer. Add the tofu to the air fryer basket in a single layer and bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes, tossing half way through.
How to store extra
You’ll want to store extras in an air-tight container in the fridge. To reheat, you can place it in the microwave or to get it crispy again you can reheat it on a skillet.
Other tofu recipes you’ll love
Crispy Balsamic Tofu
- 1 block super firm tofu, pressed if needed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast *optional but YUM
- 2-3 tbsp tapioca flour or arrowroot starch **See notes for subs
Creamy garlic dressing
- 3/4 cup coconut yogurt or greek yogurt
- 2 tbps tahini or cashew butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4-1/3 cup water, to thin
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- herbs, of your choice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Press the tofu, if needed. You can see posts for directions on how to do this! Depending on the brand you use, you may be able to skip this step (if it's super firm/high protein, you usually don't need to press it).
- Cut the tofu into cubes and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper. Give it a good toss, making sure all the tofu is coated.
- In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the tofu. Cook each side of the tofu for 2-4 minutes, until golden and crispy to your liking.
- While the tofu cooks, add the balsamic ingredients to a small bowl, whisking until combined. When the tofu is done, add the balsamic sauce to the pan, giving everything a good toss
- The sauce will bubble and reduce, sticking to the tofu. After another minute or two, remove from the heat.
- Add to your favorite meals and enjoy!
- Blend everything together. Taste and adjust as needed. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.