Baked tofu nuggets: crispy and delicious yet healthy


Baked tofu nuggets


Time:        prep. 5 mins
                  bak. 25 mins
Difficulty: easy
Yields:      2 portions
Cost:         low

Baked tofu nuggets always bring back memories.
Yeah, I wasn’t always conscious about eating well; like other choices in daily life, my nutrition bore the clear signs of consumerism: with their ridiculously low cost and appealing taste, nuggets were a quick, satisfying and feasible meal, even for a student’s budget.
By the time we moved to live on a sailboat back in 2008, I had long since said goodbye to some typical examples of consumerist existence including enviable knowledge of fast food menus.
However, the real revolution for me came, not when I broke with the past, rejecting toxic delicacies, but when I realized that I could prepare (almost) anything I wanted by myself, using healthy ingredients and cooking methods: this is how my delicious baked tofu nuggets were born.

Baked tofu nuggets perfectly mimic the originals (I mean chicken nuggets of course), but only in what really matters; they are delicious (especially the kids love them), cost a pittance and are really quick to prepare, but at the same time they are:
ethical; home cooking counteracts the power of multinational fast food companies;
sustainable; baked tofu nuggets if made with organic tofu and plant-based milk become decidedly sustainable; plus they remove any doubts about animal welfare by easing consciences;
healthy; containing few saturated fats, few simple carbohydrates and, on the contrary, generous amounts of proteins and minerals, tofu is undoubtedly a healthy food (and even better if homemade); add the fact that it simulates frying by baking (or pan-frying) with little oil, and preferring wholemeal flour and breadcrumbs instead of refined colleagues, and you have a delicious food, suitable for people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or excess weight.


Like all things, baked tofu nuggets also have a disadvantage: because one pulls the other, they run out quickly! So if you don’t want any arguments at the table, don’t skimp on the quantities.

Ingredients for baked tofu nuggets

250 g firm tofu (better if homemade or at most organic)
salt, pepper
soy sauce (optional, but increases the umami taste incredibly; better if organic and without added MSG)
oil for cooking: 2 tablespoons of evo oil, better if sprayed for better distribution

For the breading

– 3 tablespoons wholemeal wheat flour, or corn flour, or rice flour (if you want to avoid gluten)
– 100ml of sugar-free plant-based milk (you can make an excellent soya milk at home, find out how here) or cow’s milk (if you are not vegan) + 1 tablespoon of soya sauce (to improve the umami taste: optional, better if organic and without added MSG)
– 3 tablespoons wholemeal breadcrumbs, or whatever you have at home (also gluten-free)

To serve

homemade ketchup: combine 5 tablespoons of tomato puree with 2 tablespoons of grated onion, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey, or maple syrup, or grape molasses (or, for ease, use 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar); season with salt, pepper and chilli and a drizzle of raw evo oil;

alternatively, tahini sauce: 2 tablespoons tahini (find out here how you can make it at home and at low cost), 2 tablespoons vegan yoghurt (non-vegans can opt for Greek yoghurt), 1 clove of grated garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt, extra virgin olive oil to taste


If you really don’t like the taste of tofu, I suggest you follow all the advice listed in this guide. However, no guest of mine has ever complained about the ‘strange taste’ of their tofu, despite the fact that I (almost) never ‘pre-treat’ tofu.

Cut small pieces of various shapes and sizes out of the block of tofu with your hands; the difference in size must not be that big, otherwise some problems may arise during cooking: the small pieces will burn, while the large ones will remain raw. Using your hands instead of a knife, as well as reducing preparation time, will give a more faithful look to the original nuggets.
Prepare 3 large bowls: one containing the wholemeal flour, one with the chosen milk and soy sauce, the third with the wholemeal breadcrumbs.

preparing the breading of the baked tofu nuggets
Take the pieces of tofu and place them one by one first in the flour, then in the milk with soy sauce and finally in the breadcrumbs: drop the lumps of flour or breadcrumbs, shaking the pieces between your hands for a while.
In the meantime, turn the oven on to 190 degrees and once the temperature is reached, place the tofu bites on a lightly oiled or paper-lined baking tray: it will only take about 25 minutes to obtain a delicious crispiness and a golden, inviting color (taking care to flip them upside down halfway through).
In case you don’t want to turn on the oven, you can still cook them in a frying pan without frying; cook them on low-moderate heat for about 7-9 minutes each side, or until golden and crispy.
In case you own a hot air fryer, you can use it for this healthy recipe.


Serve the tofu bites with a little homemade ketchup and/or tahini sauce, or with
aquafaba mayonnaise.

Smart combos

Actually, baked tofu nuggets contain almost everything the body needs: complex carbohydrates, dietary fibers, proteins of high biological value, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals.
Nonetheless, I am greedy for antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin C; and in my humble opinion, the best way to get an exaggerated amount is through salads, dressed simply with lemon juice and a little extra virgin olive oil: the vitamin C, i.e. ascorbic acid, in the salad bowl will not only enhance the flavor of the nuggets, but also make the iron content in the tofu more assimilable (read here to understand the magic)[*].

In case you don’t have a great fondness for the lettuce family, I suggest you consider these 5 ideas, all of which are delicious and original.

Another good source of vitamin C is guacamole: in our hemisphere, avocados are harvested during the winter months, so you are still in the right period to prepare it without worrying about its carbon footprint; the other months of the year (summer and late spring), to never run out, use my smart trick.

Finally, to respect the seasons and, why not, fortify the umami taste, instead of fresh tomatoes, you can add sun-dried ones (for more tips on how to improve the taste of healthy dishes, read the umami guide).

Enjoy your baked tofu nuggets and have a good revolution

*:Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419


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