This crispy pan fried tofu sandwich is a vegan take on a holiday leftovers classic, using crunchy tofu in place of turkey and paired with subtly spiced chai cranberry sauce.
This week’s Marinate Challenge ingredients included tapioca starch, potato chips, cinnamon and star anise.
I knew right off the bat I wanted to use the tapioca starch and potato chips as breading for crunchy/crispy pan fried tofu. But it took me a little longer to figure out what to do with the spices.
Luckily, I had a stroke of genius and set out to recreate a sandwich I used to make every year around this time.
The original sandwich was just bread with turkey and cranberry sauce leftover from Christmas dinner. But now that I follow a plant-based diet, turkey is obviously off the table.
Instead I made a chai infused cranberry sauce and paired it with the crunchy fried tofu for a vegan-friendly version of that classic holiday leftovers sandwich.
And I gotta say this version is so much better. For one, the pan fried tofu adds a lot in terms of texture – crunchy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside.
I contemplated attempting crunchy baked tofu instead of going the fried tofu route but what’s the point of a sandwich if you have to wait 30 minutes for the filling to bake? This way is quick and easy and while it is still technically fried, it’s a little healthier than deep fried tofu. Balance, right?
Now for the best part – the chai cranberry sauce. I’ve never made cranberry sauce from scratch before but now that I have, I’m not sure I can ever go back to the canned stuff
The ingredient list looks long but I promise it’s only cranberries, sugar, water and spices. Plus a little OJ, if you have it on hand. So freakin simple but bursting with sweet and tart flavour. It definitely elevates this sandwich from pretty damn good to eff yea, I’m making that again.
More tofu goodness:
- fried quinoa with bbq sriracha tofu
- baked rice paper rolls with sweet chili tofu
- black bean tofu sandwich
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- ½ a cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 - 2 cardamom pods
- 2 - 3 whole cloves
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Optional: a splash of orange juice and a sprinkle of black pepper
- 1 block (210g) extra firm smoked tofu*, sliced lengthwise into three smaller blocks
- ⅓ cup vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tsp prepared mustard
- 2 tsp tapioca starch
- 1 cup potato chips, crushed (1/4 cup crushed)
- ¼ cup corn flake crumbs or breadcrumbs of choice
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
- 6 slices bread, toasted
- lettuce, tomatoes and other sandwich toppings
- Optional but recommended: mustard
- Add all ingredients for the sauce to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries begin to pop and soften, adding water as needed
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Whisk together the mayo, water, vinegar, soy sauce and mustard in a medium bowl big enough to fit the one slice of tofu at a time
- Combine the tapioca starch, crushed potato chips, breadcrumbs and seasonings in another bowl of the same size
- Dip the tofu into the mayo mixture making sure to cover it completely
- Dredge the mayo covered tofu through the potato chip mixture, ensuring that it is well coated. Use your hands to pat the breading onto the tofu if necessary
- Repeat with remaining pieces of tofu
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, carefully transfer the tofu to the pan and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 4 - 5 minutes per side. Use a spatula to flip the tofu carefully so as not to disturb the breading
- Spread some of the thickened chai cranberry sauce onto one slice of toast, then add the tofu and finish with toppings of your choice.
- Best when served immediately but leftover tofu will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just reheat in a greased skillet on in the oven
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Want more tofu sandwiches? Try this one: