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Welcome to the tofu sandwich of your dreams! This incredible vegan sandwich stars crispy breaded tofu, tangy Russian dressing, and crunchy pickles that create a flavor explosion everyone will love.

Tofu Sandwich

Here’s your ultimate tofu sandwich: crispy breaded tofu, tangy Russian dressing, and crunchy pickles create a flavor explosion that will have you wanting seconds after the first bite! We modeled this recipe after a crispy fish sandwich, right down to that savory creamy sauce, and it’s got all the most satisfying flavor and texture contrasts. We tested it on a friend who claims to not like tofu, and she gobbled it right up! It’s a fun plant-based recipe and vegan dinner to impress your friends and family.

The keys to this tofu sandwich

Here’s the thing about a tofu sandwich: tofu has a very soft texture. It’s so soft, in fact, that it can be hard to detect texture-wise when served on bread if you’re not careful. That’s why we created this crispy breaded tofu. To make a satisfying sandwich, you’ve got to have that contrasting texture of the protein.

Add to that veggies, crunchy pickles, and Russian dressing, which is that irresistibly tangy condiment that makes a Big Mac so satiating. (I’m starting to salivate just thinking about it!) Here’s what you’ll need for this tofu sandwich recipe:

  • Extra firm tofu
  • Soy sauce
  • Panko (plain unseasoned)
  • Cornstarch
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Buns
  • Shredded lettuce or greens
  • Pickles
  • Russian Dressing
Tofu Sandwich

Tips for making breaded tofu

The star of the show in this sandwich is the panko breaded tofu, which gives it a lovely crisp exterior similar to the vibe of a crispy fish sandwich. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. Here you’ll press a mixture of panko and seasoned cornstarch onto the outside of the tofu, then pan fry until it’s crispy. Here are a few tips for the process:

  • There’s no need to press the tofu! Many tofu recipes press out the liquid, which takes 30 minutes to 1 hour. But there’s no need for a wait time with this recipe! Simply pat it dry with a towel.
  • Slice the tofu into rectangles. We like to slice the tofu into 8 thin slabs lengthwise, then in half for 16 rectangles total. You can do other shapes, but these are easy to work with. The most important part is having the tofu relatively thin so it gets fully seasoned.
  • Dip the tofu in soy sauce. Place the tofu slabs in a shallow bowl with 4 tablespoons soy sauce, dipping each side in, then remove them to a plate. You won’t use all this soy sauce, it just needs to be a good amount so you can dip in the pieces. Discard the remainder.
  • Dip the tofu slabs into the panko breading mix, pressing it in with your fingers to help it adhere to each side.
  • Pan fry the tofu in batches. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet (or enough to cover the bottom) and add half the tofu slabs. Cook on medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side until browned and crispy. Repeat with the second batch of tofu.
Breaded tofu on plate

A note on the buns

It’s helpful to have a sturdy bun with a texture like an artisan bread for this tofu sandwich, like a ciabatta roll. Many hamburger buns are soft and fluffy, which make for a less satisfying sandwich since the tofu has a soft texture. These work for proteins like hamburger and fish that have a lot of texture, but it’s not as delicious with tofu.

For vegan, make sure the bun has vegan ingredients. Most ciabatta rolls are vegan, as are artisan breads like sourdough or no knead bread.

Making the Russian dressing

You know that creamy, savory sauce that makes you unable to stop inhaling a Reuben sandwich or a Big Mac? Yes, that’s Russian dressing. It’s very easy to make at home, and a slather of it makes any sandwich undeniably delicious. It’s made of mayonnaise, ketchup, and a few other key tangy and savory ingredients that work together to make it altogether addicting.

Russian dressing takes this breaded tofu sandwich over the top, so make sure to include it when you make the sandwich! If you eat fully vegan, make sure to make the sauce with vegan mayonnaise.

Tofu Sandwich

Sides to serve with this tofu sandwich

How to turn this tofu sandwich into a meal? Add a side of coleslaw, fries, or salad and you’ve got a hearty dinner! Here are a few ways we’d accessorize it:

Is tofu healthy?

There’s lots of misinformation about tofu and soy products swirling around. Often we get the question: is tofu healthy? Here’s what to know about eating tofu and other soy products like tempeh and edamame:

  • 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.
  • Tofu is likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. See Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You? for more.

More tofu recipes

There are so many tasty ways to enjoy this vegan protein! Here are some of our favorite tofu recipes:

This breaded tofu sandwich recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free; for vegan, use vegan buns and vegan mayonnaise.

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Tofu Sandwich

Breaded Tofu Sandwich


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x

Description

Welcome to the tofu sandwich of your dreams! This incredible vegan sandwich stars crispy breaded tofu, tangy Russian dressing, and crunchy pickles that create a flavor explosion everyone will love.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu
  • Soy sauce, for dipping
  • 1 cup plain panko 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 4 buns, for serving*
  • Shredded lettuce or mixed greens (or coleslaw mix)
  • 1 handful pickles
  • 1 recipe Russian Dressing (use vegan mayonnaise for vegan)

Instructions

  1. Slice the tofu into 8 thin slabs lengthwise, then in half for 16 rectangles total. Pat them dry with a clean towel.
  2. Place the tofu slabs in a shallow bowl with 4 tablespoons soy sauce, dipping each side in, then remove them to a plate. Discard the remaining soy sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, make the breading station: mix the panko, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt in a small bowl, then pour it onto a plate in a single layer.
  4. Dip the tofu slabs into the breading mix, pressing it in with your fingers to help it adhere to each side.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add half the tofu slabs (or enough to cover the bottom). Cook on medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side until browned and crispy. Repeat with the second batch of tofu.
  6. Make the sandwich by layering the tofu on a bun with pickles, Russian dressing, and topping with chopped greens. Enjoy immediately. Leftover tofu lasts up to 3 days; rewarm in a dry skillet before serving.

Notes

*It’s helpful to have a sturdy bun with a texture like an artisan bread (like a ciabatta roll). A soft and fluffy hamburger bun is less satisfying since the tofu has a soft texture. For vegan, make sure the bun has vegan ingredients.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tofu
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Tofu sandwich

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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4 Comments

  1. So good! We eat a lot of tofu based dishes and so I use super firm sprouted tofu in various ways. This sandwich with the homemade Russian sauce/dressing was so delicious. And, I did serve it on a chewy Ciabatta roll. My husband and 14 y/o granddaughter loved it!

  2. Just to be clear, can you describe better or show a pic or video of what you mean by “slice the tofu into 8 thin slabs lengthwise”? I want to get this right. Thanks!

    1. If I may, when you take the tofu out of the package, it’s a square. Slice it vertically (from top to bottom) to get the thin 8 slices then slice the 8 slices in half for the 16 slices. It should look like the picture above. Hope this helps.