Knowing what to cook for dinner on a busy weeknight is an eternal struggle. You need to make something quick, easy, affordable, filling and delicious. That’s a tall order! It’s even harder when you’re a vegetarian or just trying to cut down on meat consumption. But that’s where one handy appliance and one handy protein comes into play. Yes, it’s time we talk about how to cook tofu in the air fryer.
Cooking tofu in the oven can take upwards of half an hour, which simply will not do when your kids are ravenous after a long day of school, soccer and homework. The air fryer means that your tofu will be hot and crispy in under 10 minutes. You can’t even make spaghetti that fast!
To make this recipe, first press your extra firm tofu by wrapping it in a towel and placing something super heavy, like a cast-iron skillet, on top. Ideally, you’ll want to do this for 30 minutes or more, but if you’re super pressed for time, feel free to skip this step. However, pressing your tofu will result in a crispier final product.
Then, cut your tofu into bite-sized pieces, and dip it into egg and then into a coconut-panko mixture. Spray it with vegetable oil and toss it in the air fryer, where you only need to cook it for about eight minutes. That’s all there is to it!
This coconut tofu is the perfect protein for plant lovers of all ages. Adults, build a healthy bowl with quinoa or rice, roasted or pickled vegetables and a spicy mayo or simple Sriracha. If you have leftovers, this is a great meal prep recipe you can bring along with you to work the next day.
Kids will also love the slightly sweet taste of this tofu, and the crunchy breading will remind them of chicken nuggets. For little ones, serve alongside some favorite stir fried vegetables (like carrots, zucchini, sugar peas or bell peppers), a few pieces of mango, white rice and teriyaki or sweet-and-sour sauce.
This is just one recipe that proves the magic of the air fryer. This popular kitchen tool can make anything super crispy super quickly, from falafel to chicken wings. If you’re a convert to the church of air frying, then make sure you add more air fryer dinner recipes to your recipe rolodex.
Step 1: Cut the tofu lengthwise through the middle so you have two equal squares. Put on a clean dishtowel, top with another clean towel and pile on a cast iron pan or something else heavy to help press the water out of the tofu. Press for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer. (If you are short on time you can skip this step, especially if using extra firm tofu, but it helps the tofu get nice and crispy.) Cut the pressed tofu into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: In a shallow bowl, mix together 1 cup panko, 1 cup shredded coconut and 2 teaspoons salt.
Step 3: Put the 2 whisked eggs in a separate bowl.
Step 4: Working in batches, dip the pieces of tofu into the egg and then into the coconut-panko mixture. Toss and press so the breading sticks to all sides of the tofu cubes. Transfer to an air fryer basket.
Step 5: Generously spray the breaded tofu with cooking spray.
Step 5: Air fry at 375F for 6 minutes. Flip and air fry at 375F for another 2 minutes. Remove from the air fryer and serve.