Vegan Crispy Tofu Tacos with Cilantro-Jalapeño Ranch
These vegan crispy tofu tacos with cilantro-jalapeño ranch are bound to become a staple in your home. Even the most tofu-averse will open their hearts and tummies to this satisfying meal. Tofu cubes are battered and breaded in a seasoned panko breadcrumb mixture, baked to crispy perfection, and nestled into warm tortillas with cabbage, cilantro, and generous drizzles of zesty cilantro-jalapeño ranch.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 12 –16 tacos
Crispy Seasoned Baked Tofu
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (see note* for gluten-free option)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, to taste (optional—omit if you're making for little ones)
- 1/4 cup neutral oil (e.g., expeller-pressed grapeseed oil), plus more for greasing/spraying
- 1 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup spelt flour (see note* for gluten-free option)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 (16-ounce) block super firm, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 recipe Vegan Cilantro-Jalapeño Ranch (recipe below)
- 12 to 16 corn tortillas, warmed until soft and pliable
- Shredded green or red cabbage
- Cilantro, for garnishing
- Lime wedges, for spritzing
Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease a large baking tray.
In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the panko breadcrumbs, chili powder, salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne (if using). Then, stir in the oil until incorporated.
In another large, shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, and lime juice until smooth.
From left to right, line up the tofu cubes, milk batter, oat crumbs, and baking tray. Place a handful of the tofu cubes into the batter, toss to coat, use a slotted spoon to shake off excess batter, and transfer to the oat and spice mixture. Toss to coat and transfer to the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining tofu.
If extra crispiness is desired, spray*** the tofu cubes with a bit more oil.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, tossing a few times throughout baking. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, prepare the Cilantro-Jalapeño Ranch (recipe below) and gather/prepare the toppings and garnishes.
Warm the tortillas just before assembling. Heat them, one at a time, in a small skillet over medium heat for 20–30 seconds per side.
Fill each tortilla with about 5 cubes of tofu, a small handful of cabbage, and a generous drizzle of ranch.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and serve with lime wedges for spritzing.
*No gluten? No problem. GF Option 1: Substitute gluten-free panko for the panko breadcrumbs and brown rice flour for the spelt to make this recipe gluten-free. GF Option 2: Substitute old-fashioned rolled oats for the panko and brown rice flour for the spelt. To prepare the rolled oats, simply process them in a food processor or blender for about 20 to 30 seconds, or until ground into a coarse meal. GF Option 3: Use Rice Chex cereal using this technique to make gluten-free panko style bread crumbs. Substitute brown rice flour for the spelt flour.
**If you can't find super firm tofu, you can use firm tofu instead—you'll just need to press it for 20–30 minutes before cubing it.
***In addition to the pourable grapeseed oil that's added to the breadcrumb mixture, I use a non-aerosol grapeseed oil spray to lightly coat the cubes before baking.
****Crispy tofu method inspired by this recipe.