These quick tofu crumbles are an easy way to a meatless dinner! Use this vegan meat substitute in tacos, salads, pasta, and more.
Need a meatless dinner…fast? Here’s one of our favorite shortcuts: these quick and easy Tofu Crumbles! They’re savory, meaty and the perfect plant-based substitute you can use in endless ways. If you’re not a tofu fan…you will be after you take one bite! (Promise.) Use these as a taco filling like in Tofu Tacos, or try them on salads, pasta, bowl meals…even as a savory breakfast! There’s nothing these crumbles can’t do.
What to expect as a vegan meat substitute
These tofu crumbles are quick and easy to make on the stovetop. While there are some methods for baking tofu crumbles, we prefer cooking them up in a frying pan to keep it quick and easy. That said: the texture of the crumbles is fairly soft. Don’t expect it to taste like ground beef!
The skillet gets the crumbles lightly crisp on the outside, but it’s not chewy like meat would be. However, these are very delicious once you’ve got the correct expectation! Got it? OK.
Ingredients for quick tofu crumbles
You only need a few ingredients for this recipe: but they’re all important for bringing big flavor! Here’s what to have on hand:
- Extra firm tofu: This is key! Extra firm tofu is the consistency you’ll need to make crumbles. Check the label carefully at the store
- Soy sauce or tamari: Substitute coconut aminos for soy free and gluten free
- Apple cider vinegar
- Spices: Garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt
- Olive oil
How to make tofu crumbles (basic concept)
It’s beyond easy to make tofu crumbles: and this concept along with our tofu scramble has been fueling our dinners lately! There’s really no trick to it…just crumble your tofu and cook it up! Here’s what to know:
- Crumble the tofu with your fingers. You want roughly bite-sized crumbles here — they can all be different sizes. This part can be a little cold on your fingers, but do it quickly! It should take about 1 minute.
- Mix the tofu with the seasonings. Get the crumbles completely coated with the seasoning.
- Cook 8 to 10 minutes until lightly crispy. There will be quite a bit of water at first, then it will completely cook out and you’ll be left with lightly crispy crumbles with a deliciously soft interior.
Oven baked method
You can also cook these tofu crumbles in the oven to get the texture even more chewy and crisped. As we mentioned above, we typically make them on the stovetop for a fast and easy meal. If you prefer a crispier texture that’s more of a vegan meat substitute, you can spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Ways to use tofu crumbles
- Tacos: Try them in these 20-minute Tofu Tacos.
- Salad: Spread them over Caesar Salad for a meatless Caesar, or make our Ultimate Taco Salad.
- Bowl meal: Add them to a Easy Rice Bowl or Easy Grain Bowl.
- Pasta: Add them to spaghetti with marinara, or spaghetti squash spaghetti.
- Stir fry: Make them with Cauliflower Stir Fry or Broccoli Stir Fry.
- Main dish: Add broccoli and rice and it’s a main dish.
How are you planning to use them? Let us know in the comments below!
Lastly, is tofu healthy?
There’s a lot of misinformation related to the health benefits of this soy product, so we get this question a lot. Here’s the thing: Tofu in moderation is part of a healthy diet (several times per week).
Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. For more, go to Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?
More tofu recipes
Tofu is such a quick and easy vegan meat substitute, we love eating it in recipes of all kinds! Some favorites you might enjoy are:
- Whip up our Go-To Tofu Stir Fry
- Try larger cubes of Perfect Pan Fried Tofu
- Make an Easy Tofu Scramble, an ultra fast breakfast, lunch or dinner
- Go for cozy Tofu Ramen
This tofu crumbles recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-freePrint
- Make the tofu crumbles: Drain the tofu container, then pat the tofu dry with a clean dish towel. Place the tofu in a large bowl and use your fingers to break the tofu into roughly bite-sized crumbles. (It might be a little cold on your hands: don’t worry, it should only take a few seconds!). Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the tofu and cook on medium high for 8 to 10 minutes, breaking up large pieces into bite sized chunks and stirring occasionally, until browned and lightly crispy and the liquid evaporates. (The exact timing depends on the tofu brand.)
- Category: Essentials
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegan
Keywords: Tofu Crumbles, Tofu Taco Crumbles, Vegan Meat Substitute, How to make tofu crumbles
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.