This entire past week has been a whirlwind of paper cutting, screen printing, fabric cutting, sewing, and packaging; all in preparation for the huge two-day Crafty Wonderland Spring Show in Portland we're attending this coming weekend. I have had less time to think about putting a complete meal in front of my face than I care to admit.
Considering I'm a big time snacker (I prefer to nibble my way throughout the day because it keeps my energy and my sanity in tact); weeks like this may be considered a snackers paradise. But when you start to realize that you've been nibbling on cheese sandwiches, cookies, and fruit for the past few days, it starts to get to ya.
If I had planned for this onslaught of busy days by pre-making meals and having them in the freezer at my every whim... well then I might not have made these tofu sticks, and I'd only be pretending to be that organized. So when I found myself craving something with a little more substance to snack on, protein filled tofu came to my rescue. Sure it took an hour of my precious time, but I managed to get a piled up counter of dishes washed and the floors swept; things that also needed to get done, while the tofu marinated and baked. Plus it made enough to last a couple days, possibly even longer if we didn't finish them off so quickly.
I usually have a block of tofu in my fridge because along with beans it's a staple in my diet, but this was my first attempt at breading and baking it, so it was definitely a new experience. They turned out to be the exact healthy, crispy-crunchy, protein snack I needed. They were delicious right from the oven, as much as they were the next day, and the day after that. I topped off my salad greens with them for a light lunch one day and it was perfect.
If you have the best dipping sauce that you just have to dip everything into, well be my guest and use that, these tofu sticks are the perfect backdrop for a multitude of flavors. If you want to enjoy them warm the next day, reheat in a 350˚F oven for 10-15 minutes, they'll come out warm and crispy to enjoy again, but I found them just as good cold from the refrigerator too. *I used almond flour, but you could also use whole wheat or all-purpose flour too. If you don't regularly have bread crumbs in the cupboard, whirl a piece of toast in the food processor, that's what I usually do, works great.
Baked Tofu Sticks
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classicsmakes 12 sticks
1 cake firm tofu (16 ounces), drained and pressed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne, or to taste
3 tablespoons almond flour *see note above
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
Cut the cake of tofu horizontally into three equal slices. Stack the slices and cut down through them vertically in parallel lines, dividing the cake first into halves the quarters, and finally eighths, to yield 24 sticks. Arrange the tofu sticks in a baking dish in a single layer.
Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic and drizzle over the tofu sticks. Set aside for about 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes, so the tofu absorbs the marinade evenly.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly spray or oil a baking tray.
In a large sallow bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the almond flour and water until smooth. Dip each marinated tofu stick into the flour mixture and then coat well with the seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange the breaded sticks on the baking sheet so they're not touching and bake for about 30 minutes, until crisp and hot.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients. Serve the baked tofu sticks warm, accompanied by the dipping sauce.