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Crispy pan-fried coconut tofu nuggets, it’s a mouthful, but a good one I promise! I feel like I can hear the pan sizzling and smell the coconut getting all toasty just saying the name! This coconut tofu appetizer was inspired by one of my absolute favorites – coconut shrimp.
It can be a tricky ingredient to cook with. I admit, it’s kind of bland and has a different texture – but these are some of the reason I love it so much. It is so versatile and really just picks up the flavor or whatever you cook it with!
One of the keys to this recipe is the Naked Coconuts Coco Ghee. If you’re not familiar with Ghee, it is a clarified butter, meaning butter that has been melted to separate the milk solids and water from the butter fat. This leaves you with a concentrated buttery flavor, a higher smoke point, and a reduced lactose or lactose free product (this one is lactose free)- all lactose intolerants celebrate!
Now you may be wondering what the heck is Coco Ghee? It is a blend of 75% coconut oil and 25% Ghee. I love this particular product for a couple different reasons. The coconut… obviously. It smells SO GOOD and gives that rich coconut flavor (not all coconut oils do – choose unrefined vs. refined coconut oil when you’re wanting that flavor) and you can cook at high heat with it! Regular butter has a low smoke point so isn’t the best for pan frying or BBQing, but this stuff can be heated to 475F!
These little tofu nuggets are like a vacation on a plate. They just make me want to drink margaritas, lay out on the patio and pretend I’m a lady of leisure… or maybe move to Hawaii?
Is Tofu Healthy?
As a dietitian, a question that comes up often is whether tofu is healthy or not. In short, it absolutely is!
So why is this such a controversial topic? Tofu contains phytoestrogens which are estrogen-like compounds. In some early animal studies a few years back there were claims that these compounds may increase risk of some hormone related cancers, or interfere with hormone regulation in men leading them to develop increase breast tissue.
I’ve got good news for you – there have since been more quality human studies which have showed that soy is in fact safe for those who have had cancer and will not contribute to breast tissue in men.
Phew. In fact, isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen may even help prevent certain cancers and are not a concern in terms of actually increasing your own estrogen levels.
Nutrition Benefits of Tofu
- Helps build and repair muscle tissues.
- Plays a role in digestive health by keeping things moving through the digestive tract.
- We don’t always expect to see fiber in our protein sources, but tofu adds 1 gram of fiber per 100g serving!
- An essential component of blood cell production.
- Tofu provides around 5.4mg of iron per 100g serving! The average daily iron intake from foods and supplements is 13.7–15.1 mg/day in children aged 2–11 years, 16.3 mg/day in children and teens aged 12–19 years, and 19.3–20.5 mg/day in men and 17.0–18.9 mg/day in women older than 19.
- Some tofu is made with calcium sulphate which makes it a significant source of calcium. Check the ingredient and nutrition label if you are looking for this added bonus!
Other Nutrients to Note:
How to Get Crispy Tofu Texture
There are a couple of things that will help you get that crispy tofu texture just right:
- Fat! Using cooking oil is essential to browning without burning. Don’t be afraid to add more as ou go if you notice it’s all being soaked up as it cooked
- Cook at higher heat. In this case they are pan fried on medium high heat.
- Use a high smoke point cooking oil. To make sure they are golden and not burnt, make sure to use an oil with a higher smoke point. More info on that here!
Other Recipes you Might Enjoy
- Maple Tofu Stir Fry
- Buffalo Tofu Caesar Wrap
- Crispy Honey Garlic Cauliflower Bowls
- No Bake White Chocolate Tart
For more nutrition packed plant-based meals, Vegan versions of The 3-2-1 Method Meal Plans are now available!
If you make this recipe don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @lindsaypleskot so I can see your creations! It makes my day!Print
A crispy, crunchy appetizer, these golden tofu nuggets are like a marriage between chicken nuggets and coconut shrimp – made plant based. Vegetarian. Kid Friendly
- ¼ cup Naked Coconuts Soy Free Seasoning Sauce
- Juice of ½ lime
- Freshly-cracked pepper to taste
- 1 block firm tofu, cubed
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- ¼ cup shredded coconut, sweetened
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Naked Coconuts Coco Ghee
Creamy Sriracha Cashew Sauce
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1 Tbsp Coco Ghee
- ½ –1 tsp Sriracha, adjust to taste
- Juice of ¼ lime (approx. ½ Tbsp)
- 2 tbsp warm water
- ⅛ tsp coarse salt
- Quick soak cashews by covering them in boiling water (completely covered) for at least 30 mins. (Note: soaking them overnight will give a creamier texture but quick soaking works great in a pinch!)
- Whisk marinade ingredients together and set aside. Cut your tofu into ½ inch cubes or preferred bite sized pieces (I slice the block in half lengthwise to half the thickness, and then cut into cubes). Add the cubes into the marinade and let them marinate for at least 30-45 minutes.
- Once cashews are ready, drain and add to a high speed blender along with other sauce ingredients. Pulse until a creamy consistency is reached. It is quite a thick sauce, thin out with more water or lime juice if preferred. Adjust to taste by adding more of any ingredient as needed.
- For the tofu, add the egg to one bowl, scramble with a fork until yolk and white are combined. In another bowl, add the coconut, panko and salt. Stir to combine.
- Dip the tofu into the egg and then the coconut mixture in batches, making sure not to crowd the bowl or get coconut mix too wet. Press the cubes into the mixture, coating all sides.
- In a large frying pan, heat the Coco Ghee over medium high heat and allow it to melt and heat up, 1-2 minutes. Once hot, decrease heat to medium and add the tofu cubes in a single layer. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side, until just golden brown for a total cooking time of approx 5-7 minutes.
- These are definitely best served fresh while hot and crispy. Eat alone as an appy dipped in the sriracha cashew sauce or serve over a salad or grain bowl.
- You can use all sweetened, or all unsweetened coconut if preferred. I just found the mix of the two gave a nice blend of flavor!
- Prep Time: 45 min
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: Better than Fast Food, Kid Friendly
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