Crispy Vegan Schnitzel Cutlet Made with Tofu – A Twist on a Classic German Dish
Are you tired of the same old plant-based dishes? Look no further! This crispy tofu schnitzel is a delicious vegan twist on a classic dish. It’s simple to make, has a satisfying crunch, and tastes surprisingly like chicken. Whether you serve it as a main course with a side salad, or use it as a base for parmigiana or katsu curry, you won’t be disappointed.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Schnitzel
- Tastes surprisingly like chicken: This tofu schnitzel has a similar flavor and texture to meat schnitzel, making it a great choice for those who are transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Versatile: Serve it on its own, with a side salad and lemon, or as a base for parmigiana, katsu curry, or your favorite sauce.
- Quick and easy to make: You only need 25 minutes to prepare this delicious meal.
- Budget-friendly: With a cost of only $7, this recipe is an affordable option for dinner or lunch.
- Meal-prep friendly: If you want to do the bulk of your cooking ahead of time, prepare the schnitzels so they are breaded then freeze, thaw and cook when you’re ready.
What You’ll Need To Make This Vegan Schnitzel
Luckily tofu schnittys don’t require too many ingredients, and many of these are pantry items. Here is your shopping list:
- Soy sauce
- Chickpeas (aquafaba only)
- Panko crumbs
- Nutritional yeast
- Smoked paprika
- Vegetable stock powder
- Sunflower oil (or any oil suitable for frying)
- Mayonnaise or aioli
How To Make Vegan Schnitzel
Step 1: Press the Tofu
- Take the extra firm tofu and place it on a clean, non-fluffy tea towel or paper towel.
- Weight it down with a chopping board and heavy objects such as a cast iron dish or cook books.
- Let it sit for 10-20 minutes to press out excess moisture.
Step 2: Marinate the Tofu
- Cut the pressed tofu into 4 large pieces.
- Place them in a tray and cover with soy sauce.
- Let it marinate for a few minutes, flipping the tofu occasionally to ensure even absorption.
Step 3: Prepare the Crumb Coating
- In a bowl, mix together panko crumbs, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and vegetable stock powder.
- Transfer the mixture to a dinner plate.
Step 4: Coat the Tofu Cutlet in Crumb Coating
- Drain the chickpeas and reserve the aquafaba.
- Place the cornstarch on a separate dinner plate.
- Have a third dinner plate ready for the crumb mixture.
- Dip each marinated tofu piece in cornstarch on both sides, then in aquafaba to form a sticky layer.
- Coat the tofu in the crumb mixture, pressing down to ensure it sticks well.
- Shake off any excess crumb, then transfer the tofu to a separate plate.
Step 5: Fry the Vegan Schnitzels
- In a large shallow frying pan, heat up a generous amount of sunflower oil over medium-high heat.
- Check if the oil is hot enough by adding a breadcrumb – if it sizzles immediately, it’s ready!
- Fry the tofu schnitzels until golden brown on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil, then let it cool slightly before serving.
- Serve with a side of mashed potatoes, gravy and steamed vegetables for a classic meal.
- Top with passata or marinara sauce and vegan cheese, then broil/grill to make Parmigiana.
- Pile it high on a vegan burger bun with lettuce, tomato, and pickles for a tasty sandwich.
- Serve on top of a bed of rice and with a side of stir-fried veggies for a filling meal.
- Slice and serve on top of a salad for a crunchy and protein-packed option.
- Enjoy as is as a satisfying snack or appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Whip up a Japanese curry sauce and make Katsu curry.
- Panko crumbs: If you don’t have Panko crumbs, you can use regular breadcrumbs as an alternative.
- Soy Sauce: If you prefer not to use soy sauce, you can opt for Tamari or Coconut aminos as a substitute.
- Nutritional Yeast: If you can’t find nutritional yeast, it can be omitted from the recipe.
Storage Instructions for Vegan Schnitzel Cutlets
Tofu Schnitzel can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To store it, simply place the cooked schnitzels in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator. You can reheat in an airfryer or oven to get that crispy texture on the crumb, or if you’re not fussed, simply microwave them to reheat.
These tofu schnittys are also great for meal prep! Freeze them after they have been breaded but before they have been cooked. Place the crumbed schnitzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them for 1-2 hours. Once they have frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer bag or container. Freezing this way stops them from sticking together. When you’re ready to eat them, simply thaw and cook following the regular cooking instructions from point 7 onwards in the recipe card below.
Vegan schnitzel can be made from a variety of ingredients, including seitan, mushrooms, and jackfruit. This particular tofu schnitzel recipe uses extra-firm tofu as the main ingredient.
Aquafaba, which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas, is used in place of eggs in this tofu schnitzel recipe. The consistency of aquafaba is similar to egg whites and helps the crumb coating stick to the tofu.
Aquafaba is a popular alternative to eggs for breading in vegan cooking. The term “aquafaba” comes from combining “aqua”, meaning water, and “faba”, meaning beans. The liquid from a can of chickpeas works as a binder and helps the crumb coating adhere to the food being breaded.
Yes! To make this recipe gluten free, simply use tamari or coconut aminos as an alternative to soy sauce and use gluten free breadcrumbs.
Tofu schnitzel is a delicious and versatile dish that everyone should try at least once! Whether you’re a vegan or just looking to switch things up, this schnitzel will not disappoint. From the crunchy exterior to the tender and savory interior, you’ll be amazed at how flavorful and satisfying this dish can be.
Also, if you’re looking to use up those leftover chickpeas, why not try this easy Chickpea Pumpkin Salad for lunch, or my viral Thai-Inspired Chickpea Peanut Curry or Tahini Chickpeas.
So, grab some tofu, grab your frypan and get ready to impress your friends and family with this amazing recipe. Don’t forget to share your results in the comments below and let me know how you served it. Happy cooking!
Vegan Schnitzel Cutlet
- 450 g extra firm tofu pressed
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 400 g canned chickpeas reserve aquafaba
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- sunflower oil for shallow frying
- 100 g panko crumbs
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
- If you have time, press the tofu for 10-20 minutes. To do this, place the tofu on paper towel or a clean, non-fluffy tea towel and weigh it down with a chopping board and some heavy objects (a heavy cast iron dish or cook books work nicely).
- Slice the tofu into 4 large pieces. Place them in a tray with soy sauce to marinate while you prep the crumb. Flip them over after a few minutes so they absorb evenly.
- Combine all crumb ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Transfer onto a dinner plate.
- Drain chickpeas and reserve the aquafaba. The chickpeas themselves are not needed for this recipe, so pop those into an airtight container in the fridge and keep for another recipe (suggestions in notes). Carefully pour the aquafaba onto a dinner plate.
- Place the cornstarch onto a dinner plate. You will now have 3 dinner plates – 1 aquafaba, 1 crumb mix and 1 cornstarch.
- Coat each schnitzel in a thin layer of cornstarch on both sides, then dip into aquafaba to form a gelatinous egg-white like layer. Next, coat the schnitzel in the crumb mixture on both sides. Sprinkle extra crumb mix over the top and and press down to get it to stick well onto the tofu. Give it a light shake so any excess crumb falls off, then transfer to another plate. *Note you can freeze the schnitzels at this point if you would like to keep them for another day.
- Add a generous lug of oil to a large shallow frying pan over medium-high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough for frying, add a breadcrumb to the pan and if it sizzles immediately, it's ready! Fry the schnitzels until golden brown on both sides – it takes about 2 minutes each side.
- Transfer schnitzels onto a plate lined with paper towel to remove any excess oil and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve with a leafy green salad, a wedge of lemon and mayonnaise or aioli.
Amazing, my family loved it
Lauren Batres says
This was delicious!! Will definitely add to my recipe staples.
Liz Douglas says
It’s such a handy hack right?! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review 🙂
It’s sooo easy and just tastes way too good. That’s one of my go to food when I want something delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!
Lizanne Gordon says
Love this recipe. Thanks and HB 🎂
very nice recipe 💥
Such a great recipe, will definitely make these on tge regular. Thank you so much for the clear instructions!
Liz Douglas says
They’re such a nice easy meal hey!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review Elli 🙂
I can’t wait to try this!!!
Totally going to try this!!! Looks delicious 😍 will update soon…. Lol
Next level crunchy! A little bit more effort than just tossing in breadcrumbs but very worth it 👏
Amelia Oates says
Tiffany Castle says
I’m just starting out as vegan – about one month. So far I haven’t missed animal products at all. This sounds great. I’ve always loved tofu, even in my meat eating days.
You have to try this recipe! My partner and I are both vegan and he is also coeliac which makes getting his favourite thing a ‘chicken’ schnitzel so hard. I tried this recipe with gluten free bread crumbs and it’s honestly a game changer. We’ve had it nearly every week since I first made it 🙌🏼💗
It’s so yummy! Can’t wait to share this recipe with my family.
Lyn Doering says
Oh my gosh I am not one to write recipe reviews however, this was excellent I just bought double the ingredients to make a double batch this week 🙂 I have shared this recipe with everyone I care about because it was just so so delicious it tasted like and was the texture of fried chicken, crunchy crispy. Perfect texture and taste love love love it. Thank you so much. Not to mention all the fun things you can do with the leftover chickpeas.😍
Looks so delicious!! I will be trying this recipe. Thank you:)
This looks so tasty!! Definitely on my “Need to make soon” list.
This tofu schnitzel is absolutely delicious! One thing I’ve missed since going veg has been the guilty pleasure of tonkatsu, and this recipe absolutely scratches the itch. Crispy, salty, just the right amount of chew in the tofu, but still tender. 10/10, I’ve already made it twice and will definitely be making it again on Friday nights or weekends.