Baked Tofu Nuggets (Gluten Free)
These baked tofu nuggets are the perfect healthy plant based alternative to store bought vegan chicken nuggets, with a super simple gluten free crispy coating. I love to make meals from scratch using whole food ingredients, so I can’t wait to show you how to make your own healthy vegan tofu nuggets too!
Baked tofu nuggets- vegan chicken nuggets
Sometimes I really crave simple comforts, but just wish they were a little bit healthier. These tofu nuggets are baked in the oven with a crispy ground almond coating. With only a light spray of oil for cooking, they make the perfect healthy alternative to chicken nuggets.
I love how convenient they are, not only for dinners but for healthy, protein filled snacks or even meal prep. Just like a vegan chicken nugget, they’re great on the side of homemade fries, dipping sauces and roasted vegetables. They’re freezer friendly too, so you can have them to hand whenever you need a quick meal.
A recipe for the tofu skeptics
This recipe is really simple to make, meaning it’s perfect for those who are new to the vegan diet or just want to give it a try. If you liked chicken nuggets, then you’ll love this healthy whole food alternative. This is up there with one of my all time favourite recipes!
If you aren’t sure about tofu, tofu chicken nuggets are a great way to try it out. Tofu can be a tricky one to get right, so you might have tried it before and not liked it. I encourage you to give it a go one more time. If you follow my steps for the best vegan tofu nuggets, I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Are tofu nuggets healthy?
There are plenty of meatless and vegan chicken nuggets that you can buy in stores, as vegan food is becoming more and more accessible. Foods like this are great if you’re in a pinch, but they are filled with additives and unhealthy fats and sugars. It’s always best to cook from scratch if it’s possible for you.
These tofu chicken nuggets are super healthy. They are full of protein from the tofu and ground almonds. I’ve baked these rather than frying, which means I’ve only had to use a little spray of oil to get a lovely golden colour and crunch. They contain far less fat than store bought alternatives, which can often be greasy, and they contain no added sugar.
Tofu nuggets with no breadcrumbs?
Yes, you can make tofu nuggets without breadcrumbs! These are completely gluten free due to their chickpea flour and ground almond coating. This also makes this a great low carb recipe, if you’re looking to cut down on simple carbohydrates such as breadcrumbs.
To make these nuggets taste like chicken nuggets, I’ve used just 7 simple ingredients:
- Chickpea flour
- Dairy-free milk
- Ground almonds
- Garlic powder/granules
- Onion powder/granules
It’s that simple! If you want to experiment with flavours, you can add your favourite herbs and spices into the flour or ground almond mix, but this basic recipe tastes great as it is.
Best equipment to make tofu nuggets
The only stage of this process which could require special equipment is the tofu pressing stage. There are several types of firm tofu on the market at the moment, some of which don’t require pressing, and some which do.
Check the packaging to see which type of firm tofu you have. If you aren’t sure, generally the tofu which is sitting in a lot of water will need pressing; tofu which is vacuum packed with only a tiny bit of water will not.
It’s really important that you press your tofu, as it will help with the ‘meaty’ texture of these nuggets. The best equipment for pressing tofu is a tofu press. I press tofu so often, I’d be lost without it!
How to DIY press tofu
If you want to press your tofu the DIY way, slice your tofu in half down the middle so you end up with two flat rectangles. Wrap them in a few pieces of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, and place a heavy pan on top. You can add extra heavy things to the pan to help it along- think cookbooks or cans of beans.
Whether you’re using a press or the DIY method, leave the tofu to be pressed for at least half an hour before cooking. The tofu should look much more dense after pressing.
How to make crispy tofu nuggets
Making vegan chicken nuggets with tofu is super easy. If you haven’t already, take your pressed tofu and slice it down the long edge to create two flat rectangles. Tear or cut each of these flat rectangles into 12 pieces.
Prepare 3 plates or bowls- one with the chickpea flour, one with the milk, and one with a mixture of ground almonds, salt, and garlic and onion granules.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with baking paper and give the paper a really light brush with some oil.
One at a time, roll the tofu pieces in the flour, then in the milk, and then in the ground almond mix. Make sure to shake off any excess coating between each stage.
How to bake tofu nuggets
Place all of the coated tofu pieces on the lined baking sheet, then spray them lightly with a little bit of oil. I use this oil sprayer to get a really light and even coating of oil when I’m in the kitchen.
Place them in the oven at 200 degrees until they’re golden and crispy, around 25 minutes. You can flip them half way through cooking if you want to get a really even colour.
Can I fry them?
I have never tried frying these veggie chicken nuggets, as I know I can get great results from baking. If you would rather shallow fry, then I’m sure they would come out just as good- they just wouldn’t be quite as healthy.
I’ve heard great things about using an air fryer for low fat frying, so if anyone tries making these tofu nuggets in the air fryer, I would love to hear how it goes!
What to serve with tofu nuggets
There’s so many yummy ways to serve these nuggets. They really go well on the side of or on top of any dish, but here are some of my suggestions to get you started:
- Serve with your favourite dipping sauces, such as ketchup, garlic mayo, or mustard dip.
- Make a homemade dip such as hummus or Mediterannean dip to take it up a notch!
- Serve them on the side of a bowl of soup, or as a healthier take on croutons.
- They’re a great way to bulk up a salad with extra protein.
- Try them in a buddha bowl, on top of noodles, or on the side of traybaked vegetables.
- These are delicious in a sandwich, wrap or pitta, with crunchy veggies and mayo.
- Or the classic option, with a big pile of homemade chips and a bowl of baked beans (British people you’ll know what I mean!).
Tofu nuggets FAQs
To store vegan nuggets, package them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled down. Store the nuggets in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze tofu nuggets for up to 3 months.
The nuggets will get less crispy once they have been stored in the fridge or freezer. For this reason, I would recommend reheating them in the oven at 200 degrees. For frozen nuggets, this will take around 15-20 minutes, and for refrigerated, 5-10. Make sure they are hot all the way through before eating.
If you want to microwave them you can, but they won’t be crispy. They will need 2-3 minutes in the microwave, depending on how many you are heating. If you are heating them from frozen, they will need about 5 minutes.
When it comes to the coating, I would suggest keeping the recipe as close to the original as possible, to ensure crispy baked tofu. If you have nut allergies then you can swap out the ground almonds for the usual panko breadcrumbs, or make your own from gluten-free bread.
- The tofu- it’s really important that you choose a firm or extra firm tofu variety, as soft or silken tofu just won’t do. Pressing the tofu is a really important stage, so don’t miss this part out!
- Tearing not cutting- I’ve suggested tearing the tofu into pieces above. This gives a rougher edge for the coating to stick to which results in crispier nuggets. It also gives them a more ‘chicken nugget’ like appearance.
- Baking- When you bake the tofu, make sure it’s not cramped on the tray. It’s important that there is space between each nugget so that air can pass through, allowing them to crisp up.
- The delicious gluten free coating- This high protein coating option can be used to coat whatever you might wish. It makes great crispy cauliflower, and is also a tasty way to make zucchini fries or breaded green beans.
If you like tofu…
Then you might like these recipes:
- Healthy eggless vegan breakfast frittata (a great brunch option for the family)
- Vegan Mongolian beef (tofu coated in rich Mongolian sauce-what’s not to like!?)
- Silken tofu scramble (perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast)
- Baked teriyaki tofu and cauliflower (I love to meal prep this one)
- Vegan goulash with mushrooms and smoked tofu (Real comfort food!)
- Pierogi with potatoes, tofu and smoky mushrooms (Totally worth the effort, I promise!)
Baked Tofu Nuggets (Gluten Free)
- 1 block firm tofu ~300g, pressed*
- 80 g chickpea/gram flour ~⅔ cup
- 250 ml almond milk ~1 cup
- 120 g ground almonds ~ 1 heaped cup
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp onion granules
- Take the pressed tofu and slice it down the long edge to create two flat rectangles. Tear or cut each of these flat rectangles into 12 pieces.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with baking paper. Give the paper a really light brush with some oil. Preheat the oven to 200°/fan 180°.
- Prepare 3 plates or shallow bowls- one with the chickpea flour, one with the milk, and one with a mixture of ground almonds, salt, and garlic and onion granules.
- One at a time, roll the tofu pieces in the flour, then in the milk, and then in the ground almond mix. Shake off any excess coating between each stage to stop it from clumping on.
- Place all of the coated tofu pieces on the lined baking sheet, then spray them lightly with a little bit of oil.
- Cook in the oven until they’re golden and crispy, around 25 minutes. You can flip them half way through cooking if you want to get a really even colour.
Made this recipe?
I’d love to know how you got on- let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
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