Vegan Coconut Crusted Tofu has a perfectly crisp crust, chewy interior, and lightly sweet and savory flavor! When paired with colorful butter lettuce wraps, it’s a wonderful light dinner that’s loaded with bright vegetables and a creamy peanut sauce.
What is coconut crusted tofu?
Inspired by coconut shrimp, coconut crusted tofu is a crispy and satisfying method for preparing crave-worthy tofu, every time. It is made by breading marinated tofu cubes in coconut and Panko breadcrumbs, then baking to crisp. In this recipe, we are completing the meal by adding the coconut tofu to butter lettuce wraps filled with vibrant vegetables, juicy mango, fresh herbs, and a hearty peanut sauce.
The Best Step-By-Step Method for Breading Tofu
- Press tofu before using to ensure as much liquid is removed as possible. This leaves more space for the tofu to soak up your delicious marinade.
- Speaking of marinade, combine tamari (or soy sauce) with some maple syrup and a bit of fresh ginger (garlic and red pepper flakes are good as well). Pour this over tofu cubes and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Make a batter by combining nondairy milk, lime juice, and cornstarch (or arrowroot, or flour). In another bowl, mix Panko and bread crumbs.
- As you remove each piece of tofu from the marinade, submerge it in the milk batter to coat. Then, immediately dredge the tofu in the coconut/Panko mixture, pressing down on each side to cover fully.
- Bake tofu on a lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, flipping once to ensure even browning.
Tips for the Crispiest Coconut Tofu
- Always press tofu before using. This eliminates as much water as possible. Some people enjoy freezing the tofu before using, as this can change its texture in a nice way. To be honest I never remember to do this but have enjoyed it in the past, hah.
- Slice tofu into large but evenly sized cubes. This ensures it cooks at an even rate and has enough surface area to cover in coconut shreds.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place the baking sheet in the middle. High heat is crucial here.
- Use Panko, not regular bread crumbs, for coating. Panko is made from crustless bread and is this much more airy and crispy, with large pieces. Crushed saltine crackers make a useful substitute for Panko if you can’t find it.
How to Make Crispy Coconut Tofu with an Air Fryer
While I don’t have an air fryer, if you’d like to try it follow all steps in the recipe until directed to the oven. Instead of baking in the oven, air fry for 10-15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
How To Assemble Coconut Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Feel free to really get creative with your butter lettuce wraps. Here are the toppings I recommend:
- Sliced red bell peppers and carrots (similarly sized)
- Strips of ripe mango
- Chopped green onions
- Fresh herbs, including basil, cilantro, and/or mint
- Sesames seeds
- Sriracha or other hot sauce
- Peanut sauce or soy sauce for serving (detailed below)
Peanut Sauce Ingredients:
For peanut sauce:
- 3 TBS peanut butter
- 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 TBS maple syrup
- 2 TBS soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
- Juice from 1/2 medium lime
- 1 TBS rice vinegar, optional
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 TBS sesame oil, optional
- Water to thin
Mix all ingredients together and serve alongside wraps!