Let's celebrate everything healthy with these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets (or tofu "chicken" nuggets as I like to call them!) What a great way to start off Tofu Week here at The Cookie Writer!
I love tofu. Even if I was not a vegetarian I would have no issues eating this protein. I actually started experimenting with tofu at a young age while I still lived at home. My dad would often make a huge meat chili, and while I loved chili, I was not the craziest meat-eater. I decided to make my own batch alongside my dad and added tofu. Now, of course at the time I did not realize there was a difference between all the different tofu out there, but I have learned. I worked with silken tofu which basically fell apart in my chili. Still delicious, but not the texture I wanted at all. For most recipes you will find yourself working with firm or extra firm, like I did here with these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets.
Extra firm would be best, but I got away with using firm tofu. Now, tofu holds A LOT of water. A lot. So you want to do something about that because it will inhibit your tofu from nicely browning/absorbing those wonderful flavors. I tend to wrap my tofu in paper towel and set heavy objects on top to push out the water. You may have to do it a couple of times, but trust me, so worth it. My favorite tool is my cast iron pan. Once that prep is out of the way, working with tofu is a breeze!
I was totally inspired by the idea of tofu nuggets and really liked this one recipe from Forbidden Rice Blog. But since January is the month of health awareness (ohhh how the gyms love January!) I wanted to go a healthier route. Replacing the breadcrumbs with cooked quinoa seemed so perfect, and while I did not think the ingredients would stick together, it miraculously worked! And you know what?! These quinoa crusted tofu nuggets were devoured by my husband! Yes, that is right, the meat-eating husband loved these so much he only managed to save one nugget for my daughter, and one for myself. To be fair, Mr. TCW enjoys tofu and his coworkers love teasing him when they see his meat-free lunch 🙂
Any THICK sauce shall do, but I went with BBQ sauce. Yes, I realize the sugar content can be high, but it is all I had. You can make your own sauce or coat the tofu in your favorite variety. Just remember, thick is key because otherwise the quinoa will have a hard time sticking.
Quinoa Crusted Tofu Nuggets (Tofu "Chicken" Nuggets!)
Turn down that breading and standard chicken nuggets and try these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets instead!
- 1 lb firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed of any water
- Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (or any healthy, thick sauce.)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Add a wired rack on top (not necessary but I like this because the heat can get underneath the nuggets.)
- Slice tofu into little "nuggets." I suggest ¼ inch thickness if you are not familiar with tofu. Dip into BBQ sauce (generously) and then coat with cooked quinoa (it can get messy: I kind of placed some extra on top when I brought the tofu pieces out of the quinoa.) Place onto wired rack. Continue until none remain.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is browned and crispy. Serve alongside more sauce if desired!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Another great recipe to use up leftovers (because we know how great quinoa is!)
Bam! Recipe one of Tofu Week complete! If you thought these quinoa crusted tofu nuggets were neat, stay tuned for some more awesome recipes!
I'm always looking for new recipes for when our vegetarian friend is over for dinner. Looks fabulous
My daughter loves tofu. I wonder if she would enjoy tofu nuggets. I know I would and they would be perfect for a nutritious lunch today.
It is definitely nutritious and perfect for the New Year 🙂
Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife
I was just talking about needing more (and better) tofu recipes with friends over brunch this weekend! I love quinoa and will have to try this. Looking forward to more Tofu Week recipes!
Yay! Tofu is a lot of fun to work with and can easily be made to impress 🙂
Gerry @ Foodness Gracious
These are genius, so into these!!!
Chrisy @ Homemade Hooplah
I'm the camp that didn't realize there were different types of tofu, but it's interesting what all you can do with it! Love the idea of these nuggets, especially the quinoa breading 😀
Haha, no worries, it took me some time to realize, too!
Renee - Kudos Kitchen
Can you believe I've never tried tofu? It's never looked or sounded appealing to me. That has all changed now because of your nuggets. I'm going to give this recipe a try. Thank you!
There are so many people who have not, so do not worry, Renee! At least you are willing to try it 🙂
OMG NO WAY!!!!
I think my kids might actually go for these. Can't wait to try it!
Haha, my daughter was a bit hesitant but in the end she really enjoyed them (sugar in BBQ sauce does that!)
Patricia @ Grab a Plate
Love, love, love this recipe! I enjoy tofu, but sometimes I need something a little different...this is it! Genius with the quinoa!!
I totally agree, Patricia! Like any protein, we need to change things up 🙂
These nuggets look beyond perfect! So crispy and totally delicious. I want to dip dip dip with these little nuggets.
Ohhhh, dipping was so much fun (and the "breading" held up surprisingly well!)
What a cleaver idea! I am totally sharing this with my vegetarian friends!
Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama
Wow! These look delicious, and I am totally a meat eater, lol. 😉 I love that quinoa crust!
Haha oh goodness! I am surprised your husband likes tofu! I love the idea of using quinoa!
Haha, Beth, the guy eats everything (except salads!) I sometimes wish he didn't like everything 🙂
Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness
I would have never thought that this is tofu! I love how there is quinoa on them!
Oh my god. IT looks so YUMMY.
we will try to make it tonight. My family love it.
I hope you enjoy them!
Love the quinoa idea as a breadcrumb replacement! Glad you enjoyed the panko-crusted version of my recipe as well. : )
Such an awesome idea! Thanks so much!
This looks so good! I can't wait to try it!
This look awesome; however, what other kind of sauces would you recommend? As a lifelong vegetarian, I'm not really a fan of BBQ sauce
Hmmm, you do want a thicker sauce so the quinoa will stick. Do you have any favourites? I've made my own BBQ sauce and that really makes a difference! My husband I also like picking random sauces off the grocery shelves so you may have some luck if you do that. I have worked with Pulo Cuisine before and they make really nice sauces (I think they are all vegan, too!) Sorry I am not of more help.
Me and my mom both made this recipe and it turned out amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing.
Yay! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Just made this spontanously. To save time I just used popped Amaranth. I did half of them with ketchup and half of them with sweet chili sauce as binding liquid.
Awesome! Hope it turned out well for you 🙂
I'm wondering if the re pie should say 1/2 c uncooked quinoa (which would be 1 c cooked)? I used 1/2 c cooked and that only covered 1/2 my tofu so I had to make more midway through the recipe.
I'm wondering if it had to do with the amount of quinoa on your tofu. My BBQ sauce is a bit on the thinner side so I found I did not have copious amounts on my nuggets. I'll definitely keep an eye on the quantity when I visit the recipe again. Thanks for the heads up!
Wow! These turned out awesome! I wish I could attach a picture. Make sure to dry your tofu thoroughly. Crispy and tasty and filling!
Yes!! It is a bit of a pain, but drying out your tofu is essential!
So i have quinoa flakes, just wondering if that's what you used and how you actually cooked it? The box has no instructions and I'm all new to this... I'll have made the recipe before you reply so I'll let you know how it turns out without cooking the quinoa!
Hi, Max! I used regular quinoa (the whole-grain variety that cooks like rice.) I have never used quinoa flakes before, but if you do happen to try them out, let me know how it goes! Quinoa flakes appear more like oats/oatmeal.
So this is probably a dumb question, but do you need to cook the quinoa first? Or does the sauce and heat kind of cook it but keep it crunchy? Sorry I'm not smart in the kitchen lol
Not a dumb question! You do cook the quinoa first 🙂 Then you roll the tofu in the cooked quinoa and roast in the oven (which kind of gives the quinoa crispiness!)
These were okay, a little bland -- I might try them again with marinated tofu or spiced quinoa. One of my two kids liked them.
Hi. I’m interested in doing these for my daughter. Have you tried freezing them? I’m not familiar with tofu so I have no idea. Thank you!
To be honest, I don't know. However, I looked online and it does say tofu is okay to freeze 🙂 Not sure how the "batter" would hold up as it is already lacking in that crispness that we are used to in traditional breading (but still a favourite of mine!)
Can this be baked ahead of time? Will it be crispy still?
I'm not sure how well the crispiness will hold up (if you refrigerate it I definitely don't see it staying crispy!)
Hi! I want to make these, but I don't have a wire rack. Do you have any suggestions for what else I could do as a substitute?
You could always roll up some aluminum foil to keep them elevated off the pan (you just want heat all around them so there are no soggy parts.)
Cool... I've got some leftover quinoa...I know what I'm doing for my lunch next week. Thanks!!