Give Your Tofu A Coconut Crust For A Uniquely Crispy Bite

crispy coconut crusted tofu bowl
crispy coconut crusted tofu bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

No matter which way you try to slice it (or press it), it remains true that plain tofu can be pretty boring. But with 3.5 ounces of protein per 35 ounces of the stuff, tofu also continues to be a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets. And with the right seasonings, sauces, and recipes, this soy product can turn into a tasty entree that you may crave even if you're normally a meat-eater.

Thanks to this crispy coconut-crusted tofu bowl from recipe developer Miriam Hahn and the Tasting Table staff, you don't need to be an accomplished chef to give this vegetarian protein delicious flavor and texture. You'll toss your cubed tofu in a batter and then coat it in a mixture of coconut flakes, panko breadcrumbs, and sesame seeds, after which you'll bake it for half an hour. This will give your chunks a crispy, golden-brown crust (which perfectly offsets the spongy texture of the tofu), along with a hefty dose of coconut flavor. Yet while this protein becomes much tastier, it's still versatile enough that you can incorporate it into a wide range of dishes.

Read more: 30 Healthy Snack Ideas That Won't Ruin Your Diet

Season Your Batter To Match Your Dish

crispy tofu on baking sheet
crispy tofu on baking sheet - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

If you've ever made breaded chicken, the process of creating a crispy tofu crust isn't too different. The batter contains flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and coconut milk, so you're getting a double dose of coconut flavor with the flakes in the coating. And because the recipe calls for pulsing these flakes in a food processor, the crust's texture will more closely resemble crispy breaded chicken than it will coconut shrimp. Make sure to pick extra firm tofu here so it doesn't fall apart during the tossing and baking, and press it with multiple paper towel layers to get rid of any excess moisture. If you have time, freezing and then defrosting it is another way to keep its shape intact.

While this recipe will taste delicious as-is, feel free to incorporate seasonings in the batter like garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, ginger powder, black pepper, and paprika. Pick the flavors based on what dish you're making, and stick to ones that will mesh with coconut. Aside from this veggie-packed bowl, try tossing your cubes in dishes like silken tofu and soba noodle salad, teriyaki tofu and mushroom stir-fry, or tofu pad Thai. They'd also be delicious in salads, served with a side of roasted veggies or fried rice, or eaten on their own with a sweet chili dipping sauce. With all that flavorful crispiness, you'll never go back to thinking this protein is boring again.

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