When I was a kid, my dad would experiment with different chicken wings. He would make up a bunch of different sauce combinations, and toss a few wings into each and give them a try. My dad loves to cook, and experiment, and from a very young age, he inspired me greatly. He instilled in me how amazing it is to eat whole foods, non processed junk and to eat all my veggies! In the 80’s and 90’s, everyone was always so impressed that my dad loved to cook, was raising kids by himself, had a full time job and still managed to make most of our meals from scratch. My dad is a hardworking bad ass, who is madly in love with chicken wings, and this recipe is dedicated to him.
One of the best sauces my dad made, was his sweet and spicy sauce. However, from what I remember, he used ketchup and sugar. So, probably not the healthiest choice, and then there is the matter of the chicken. I thought about what I could get to be crispy and firm without frying, and tofu was my answer. Yes, these babies are baked not fried, with a refined sugar free sauce. I felt pretty guilt free downing a couple of these tofu fingers.
I dried and pressed the tofu for a good amount of time first, also pro-vegan tip, salt the tofu before you press it, it will draw out even more moisture! Then I baked the tofu sticks at a high temperature for a while, and bam! Super crispy, crunchy, so amazing, no one will know it isn’t fried tofu fingers! Then I tossed it in the best damn sauce you have every tasted, dunked it in some vegan ranch and holy crap! You will never look at tofu the same way again. Boring old tofu, hell no!
So, to make these tofu fingers so crispy and dreamy, besides the baking at a high temperature, the dredging process is key. Three bowls, three steps, vegan buttermilk, flour with salt and pepper and panko bread crumbs. My pro tip for this process, and to keep your sanity, use one hand for the wet and the other hand for dry ones! Makes life so much easier. I promise this is not a complicated process, easy peasy, and you are on your way to one of the greatest things ever.
Yum, yum. In the oven they go. The sauce is a quick process done in a small sauce pan heated for a few minutes until thickened and you are ready to go! Hope you enjoy!
Vegan Sweet Chipotle Tofu Fingers
- Prep Time: 1h 30m
- Cook Time: 45m
- Total Time: 2h 15m
- Serves: 6
- Yield: About 20 tofu fingers
- Category: Entree
- 1 Block Extra firm tofu
- 1 c All purpose flour
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 2 c Panko bread crumbs
- 1 c Almond milk
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice
- 1/4 c Coconut oil
Sweet Chipotle Sauce
- 1/2 c Tomato sauce
- 1/2 c Agave nectar
- 1 tbsp. Hot sauce
- 1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Chipotle powder
- 1/3 c Cold water
- 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
- Cut tofu into sticks, salt and press in between paper towels for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With three large bowls, put flour and salt and pepper in one bowl, panko in another and almond milk with lemon juice in the last one.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spread coconut oil or oil of choice on the bottom of the pan.
- Dip each tofu stick into flour,then almond milk mixture and then into panko. Make sure they are fully coated. Place each stick onto the baking sheet and repeat until all are breaded. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes. Flipping over each tofu stick half way through the cooking process so they brown on both sides. They are finished when brown and crispy.
- While the tofu is baking, in a small sauce pan, whisk all the sauce ingredients together, except the cold water and cornstarch. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and in a small bowl, mix together the cold water and corn starch. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce pan and whisk. Simmer for about five minutes until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Once the tofu is done, toss in the sauce and serve! I recommend a vegan ranch dressing to dip in, but plain ones are mighty fine as well!