These Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets are the perfect meal prep staple! Tofu is frozen, thawed, sliced and soaked in a bath of zesty lemon pepper flavor. Then, they’re slow-baked to achieve that perfect meaty texture. Slice ‘em up for salads, use them for sandwiches, or serve ‘em over a mountain of rice for a filling and easy vegan dinner!
These delightful little lemon pepper tofu cutlets have become lovingly known as “salad chicken” in our house. This is mostly because they are delicious and wonderful and absolutely perfect when they are when diced up and thrown into salads, but also because they are actually getting me excited about the salads in the first place!
That’s right, friends. The pickiest eater I know (me) is actually enjoying the pants off some salads this summer, and these lemon pepper tofu cutlets play a HUGE part in that!
For as much as I go on and on about how I’m not a huge fan of salads or vegetables, that’s only partly true. Before going vegan, one of my most favorite summer meals was a BIG salad (usually Caesar or at least some kind of creamy rich dressing) with fresh grilled chicken and croutons…ALWAYS croutons. I. LOVED. THAT. STUFF.
And these lemon pepper tofu cutlets have totally taken me back to those days! The taste is exquisite and goes with almost any flavor combo. And thanks to a killer freeze + press method, this texture is meaty beyond belief.
I’ve served these cutlets in a variety of ways and to a variety of people this summer (most weren’t vegan and a few were self-proclaimed tofu-haters) – ALL with stellar results.
Needless to say, I’m pretty pumped to be sharing this recipe with you today!
The Tofu Freezing Method
Have you ever tried freezing tofu before cooking with it? This is actually one of the first tricks I learned about tofu back in my vegetarian days, although I wasn’t skilled enough in the kitchen yet to really put it to good use.
(These were the days when I could barely boil water, friends. Dark times.)
In the past couple years though, I’ve been putting this to work on a wide variety of recipes (like our heavenly Chicken(less) Parm), and I have to say: The meaty, firm texture of the tofu is incredible when you follow this method.
It does take some time (not effort, just time), but trust me when I tell you it is worth it. This trick will change your life and relationship with tofu forever!
Okay, enough about that; let’s talk about how you do it:
- First, go to the store and buy extra firm tofu.
- When you get home, place the tofu in the freezer. Do not open the container. Just take it from your shopping bag and place it in the freezer and shut the door. Leave it there overnight. You got this.
- The next morning, remove the tofu from the freezer and place it in a shallow dish on your counter or in the fridge until it thaws completely.
- From here, open and press your tofu as you normally would. You can also give it a gentle squeeze over the sink to get out even more liquid.
That’s it! That’s the freeze + press method. And it’s magic.
How to Make Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets
To complete this particular recipe, you’ll take your pressed tofu and slice it into cutlets.
Then, you’ll marinate those cutlets in a flavor bath of lemon zest, olive oil, black pepper, and our amazing chicken-style bouillon powder.
You can let these cutlets sit in the marinade for about an hour or overnight.
And for the truly ambitious meal-preppers out there, you can even freeze the cutlets IN the marinade. That way, you can make a big batch of these at the beginning of the month to make weekly meal prep easy AF.
What?! I know, I know. I get so nerd-ily excited about this stuff.
Finally, after your cutlets soak up allll that delicious flavor, you’ll bake ’em,
And, voila! You just made lemon pepper tofu cutlets which makes you pretty incredible in our book!
Other Tofu Recipes You’d Dig:
I honestly cannot wait to hear all the fun and creative ways you find to use these lemon pepper tofu cutlets! They are a total meal prep staple in our house, and I really hope you and your family will love them as much as we do. 🙂
If and when you give the recipe a try, don’t forget to let us know! You can rate the recipe and leave a comment below or tag us in your creative and delicious photos on Instagram! If you’re not already following along, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
Yield: 8 cutlets
Serving Size: 2 cutlets45
These Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets are the perfect meal prep staple! Frozen + thawed tofu is sliced and soaked in a bath of zesty lemon pepper flavor. Then, they’re slow-baked to achieve that perfect meaty texture. Slice ‘em up for salads, use them for sandwiches, or serve ‘em over a mountain of rice for a filling and easy vegan dinner!
5 based on 1 review(s)
- 1 16-oz block extra-firm tofu
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp veggie bouillon powder
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- First, you’ll want to freeze your tofu. Place the whole container (do not open it) in the freezer overnight. In the morning, remove it from the freezer and set it in a shallow dish on your counter to thaw. This will take several hours.
- When the tofu is thawed, squeeze it gently over the sink and press it with a tofu press or on paper towels to remove any excess liquid.
- Place your tofu on a cutting board and slice it into 8 equal “cutlets”. Place these cutlets in a shallow container and pour the marinade over them, making sure each cutlet is coated. Cover and place them in your fridge for at least an hour or overnight.*
- When you’re ready to bake your cutlets, preheat your oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cutlets on this baking sheet and bake them at 350F for 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Depending on the thickness / brand of tofu you’re using, you may want to flip and cook them another 10 - 20 minutes until they are browned and meaty. We end up cooking ours an extra 10 most times.
- Finally, let your cutlets cool slightly before slicing them up for all your salads or pasta or bowls throughout the week. They will firm a bit as they cool. You can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge or freeze them for up to 8 weeks!
*Since these cutlets are such a staple in our kitchen, I will usually marinate a large batch of them at a time, separate them into several containers and freeze them in the marinade BEFORE baking. This makes it easy for me to defrost and pop a batch in the oven for salads each week, AND I’ve found it gives them an even better texture. Highly recommend this method!