Do you know those tasty salt, lemon and pepper squid bites you get at the Chinese restaurant? Let's do that but vegan! With this recipe, we'll make crispy lemon and pepper tofu bites. They are oven-baked, so you can enjoy the crunch without the guilt.
As you know, tofu is not very flavourful. Some folks make fun of this. We think it's the biggest gift nature has given vegans. Tofu can take on the flavour of anything else around it, and that's what makes it such a powerful and versatile ingredient. Today, we'll infuse it with the zesty and lively flavours of pepper and lemon, then coat it with a panko breadcrumbs crust, and bake it crispy.
These tiny bites will make an excellent snack or appetizer. You can cook a big batch and then re-heat any excess in the oven before serving.
As for serving, you can keep it simple and light by sprinkling the bites with fresh lemon juice. Or go big on that favourite dipping sauce of yours! If you have never tried it before, you could try our healthy vegan tartar sauce. You can also have these lemon pepper bites with your favourite salad, or a bowl of curry rice.
The recipe itself is simple and quick. It will take less than 10 minutes of work, 20 minutes of marination time, and then 15 minutes of baking.
We used a full block of firm tofu and made around 60 bites. If we consider a portion to consist of 8 pieces, a serving will provide you with 125 calories, only 5% RDI of fats, and a tasty 18% RDI of proteins.
Let's start with the lemon marinade.
Squeeze the lemons, and then add the juice to a bowl along with black pepper, salt, and maple syrup.
Rinse and drain the tofu block, and then squeeze it to remove excess water being careful not to crumble it.
Next, dice it into bite-sized cubes, add them to the lemon mix, and leave them to marinate for 20 minutes.
We recommend using a shallow bowl to ensure the tofu bites are floating in the marinade. Also, turn them a few times to coat them evenly.
In the meantime, let's prepare the coating ingredients.
Whisk the flour with water in a bowl until you have a smooth and runny batter.
In another bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs with garlic powder and season them with salt to taste.
First, dip each lemon marinated tofu bite into the batter and then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it's evenly coated.
Repeat this step until you have coated all the tofu cubes.
Finally, bake the crusted tofu bites for 20 minutes at 220°C (425°F) for static ovens or at 200°C (390°F) for fan ovens.
Drizzle the crispy pepper tofu cubes with lemon juice and serve.
If you are allergic to soy, you can replace tofu with seitan.