When my brother and I were kids, we were super picky eaters. So much so that for a long time, whenever our parents would take us out to eat, the only two things we ever ordered were chicken nuggets or pasta with butter sauce. We were a little ridiculous.
So, when I first ventured into the unknown world of the adult menu, it should come as no surprise I chose and fell in love with the classic chicken parm. Because this is the logical next step, yes? 😋
From that point on, chicken parm was my dish. I loved everything about it: The crispy breaded chicken that was full of pepper-y parmesan flavor POW, the melty gooey mozzarella, the mountain of pasta it lied atop. My mouth legit waters when I think about it.
Obviously, these days, I like to practice a more “hug it, not nugget” relationship with those sweet little chickens (and interestingly enough, my brother does too), so I knew I eventually had to create a killer version of my favorite childhood restaurant order.
I’ve tried a few different recipes for vegan chicken parmesan over the past 4 years. All were good, but none were truly great. None of them took me back to that table surrounded by family, digging into my favorite comfort food. There is a chicken parm sandwich our favorite vegan pizza shop, Blackbird Pizzeria, makes that comes damn close (legit – I have dreams about this sandwich), but I haven’t found a recipe that 100% hit the nail on the head…until now, that is. 😎
Friends, allow me to introduce you to our restaurant-style vegan chicken parmesan recipe, made with TOFU!
Okay, okay, I know how oh so typically “vegan” it sounds, but please believe me when I say this is not an ordinary tofu recipe. We have a few tricks up our sleeve to make the most tender, meaty, flavor-filled tofu you’ll ever taste.
How To Make This Vegan Chicken Parmesan
- Press, freeze, and drain your tofu! If you’ve frozen tofu before, you know what a kickass texture it takes on after being thawed. So meaty!
- Slice + marinate! Now that your tofu is drained and ready to soak up alllll the flavors, it’s time to give it what it wants. We used a hefty dose of our vegan chicken bouillon recipe in the marinade to really get that nostalgic flavor going.
- Bread + bake! I love this part, mostly because it means I’ll be eating vegan chicken parmesan soon. 😋 We use a mix of breadcrumbs and our cheesy garlic butter blend here, which is the secret WOW factor that makes the breading so reminiscent of that pepper-y restaurant-style chicken parm.
- And finally, top with vegan mozzarella and get it all melty under the broiler for a few minutes. You can use any vegan mozzarella – store-bought or homemade – you like. We used some of our marinated vegan mozzarella balls, which worked so beautifully.
- Lay it atop a mountain of saucy pasta, and dig in!
And wait, there’s more: The tofu cutlets freeze so well, you guys! Just bread, bake, let ’em cool, and freeze. I have so much nerdy excitement for the freeze-ablitiy of this recipe!! 🤣
And I’m not the only one who has fallen head over heels for this vegan chicken parmesan: When T first tried it the other night, he looked at me and said, “You know, I used to love chicken parm too, and this is definitely among the best I’ve ever had.”
I happen to agree. 😁
I can’t wait to make this vegan chicken parmesan for my family and basically every single person I’ve ever known! 😄 If and when you give it a try too, let us know about it! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below or tag us in your mouthwatering photos on Instagram. We’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
Enjoy the hell out of this, friends!
Yield: 8 cutlets
Serving Size: 2 cutlets784
The BEST vegan chicken parm with meaty tofu cutlets, peppery breading, and melty dairy-free mozzarella. This would be great for a family dinner, as it appeals to a variety of tastes and ages!
- 1 16-oz block extra firm tofu
- marinara sauce
- vegan mozzarella , sliced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp vegan bouillon powder
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs (be sure to check ingredients, as a lot contain dairy)
- 2 Tbsp cheesy garlic butter blend
- 1/2 cup corn or tapioca starch
- Prepare your tofu: Drain and press your tofu. Place it in an air-tight container and freeze overnight. In the morning, take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw. When the tofu is thawed (about 8 hours), squeeze the tofu gently over the sink to expel excess liquid. It should be pretty sturdy and spongey, but still handle with care, so you don't break the tofu.
- Next, slice your tofu into 8 equal "cutlets" and mix all the ingredients for your marinade in a small bowl with a whisk. Pour the marinade over the tofu slices and cover. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- When you're ready to make the cutlets, turn your oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Time to make the cutlets: Get out two shallow bowls or pie plates. To one, add the starch. To the other, add the bread crumbs and cheesy garlic butter blend and mix with a whisk. Dip each tofu cutlet in the starch, then back in the marinade, then in the bread crumb mixture. Be sure to coat the cutlet completely during each phase.
- Place your cutlets on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, flip each one carefully, and bake another 20 minutes. If you're freezing the cutlets, stop here, let them cool, and freeze. Otherwise, continue.
- Top each cutlet with a slice of vegan mozzarella. Turn on your broiler and broil for about 5 minutes or until the mozzarella is all melty and beautiful.
- Serve on top of a mountain of pasta or a long hoagie roll with marinara sauce and cheesy garlic butter blend !