This vegan crispy baked tofu recipe is brought to you in partnership with my friends at GT’s Living Foods and COCOYO Living Coconut Yogurt. As always opinions are 100 percent my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site and my gluten-free salad cravings possible!
Let me tell you quickly about one of my all-time favorite fast casual salads.
It hails from Cowgirl Café in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan where I lived until the age of 2. Needless to say, I don’t think I ate said salad during my youth (I remembered the place mostly because of the rock candy). But when I graduated college, my first job was around the corner and 90% of the office would order the chopped chicken salad every day for lunch.
There was nothing particularly exceptional about the ingredients except for the lemon poppy dressing, which was sweet, creamy, and often something I would lick from the delivery container with my fingers, much to the horror of my coworkers.
Like many chain restaurant salads, it was the type of salad that probably has more calories than a sandwich, despite selecting it thinking you were making a healthy choice.
Luckily, this crispy baked tofu has all of my favorite elements from said salads of yore—the crispy protein and creamy dressing–but is vegan and dairy-free thanks to COCOYO Pure, which I use in both the tofu breading and the creamy lemon poppy dressing.
Ever since going low FODMAP for my SIBO treatment, I’ve been a dairy-free yogurt convert, and especially love finding brands that use sustainable packaging. COCOYO is a plant-based probiotic powerhouse simply crafted with real, raw young coconuts. Its three ingredients (coconut meat, coconut water, and probiotic cultures) are authentically fermented to offer 200 billion living probiotics per jar…which, for the record, is made of glass!
It’s made by my favorite Kombucha company, GT’s Living Foods, so I trust them implicitly with all things fermented.
The dual use of COCOYO in this recipe provides a few functions. First, COCOYO in its raw form in our dressing provides a probiotic punch. Second, we know that cooking fermented foods with high temperatures can kill off the good bacteria, decreasing their potential benefit to the gut, but COCOYO still serves as the perfect binder for breading our crispy baked tofu. The crisp of choice is brown rice crispies, which I pulse in a food processer to make it more crumb-like. And I can’t exactly explain why, but the resulting crispy tofu tastes like a bite of mac and cheese.
A rich, creamy texture can be hard to find in dairy-free yogurts, which is another reason why a little COCOYO Pure goes a long way in our dressing. It has 0g of added sugar, but to add a little sweetness as an ode to my Cowlgirl café favorite dressing, I mix in a little maple syrup. The yogurt and poppy seeds add some yummy fiber to offset it.
The salad itself is a bed of kale and romaine, though you could use cabbage or radicchio too. To round out the bowl and make it more colorful, I use sliced carrots, beets, sugar snap peas, and radishes. These are all seasonal for spring, but you can easily adjust the toppings depending on the season at hand.
This crispy baked tofu recipe and the dressing is completely low FODMAP and the salad can be modified with a few changes to be as well.
Read on for instructions on how to make this vegan crispy baked tofu salad. I’d love to hear what you think of COCOYO too if you try it! Let me know in the comments.
With health and hedonism,
Crispy Baked Tofu Salad with Creamy Lemon Poppy Dressing (Vegan and low FODMAP)
For the tofu:
For the salad:
- 2 heads of romaine about 6 cups, thinly sliced
- 2 cups finely shredded kale
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
- 2 small beets thinly sliced
- 2 small carrots thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small food processor, pulse the rice cereal with the salt and paprika until finely ground. Remove to a shallow bowl or plate.
- In another shallow bowl, combine the Dijon and COCOYO Pure. Season with salt.
- Working one by one, carefully coat the tofu in the yogurt mixture. Dredge the marinated tofu in the rice mixture, pressing down until fully coated, and shaking off any excess. Arrange the tofu in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven until golden and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray until safe to touch, then slice each piece in half lengthwise so you have two strips.
- Meanwhile assemble the salad: arrange the romaine, kale, radishes, sugar snap peas beets and carrots on a large serving platter or salad bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl or cup measure, make the dressing: whisk together the COCOYO Pure, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, maple syrup, poppy seeds and ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary.
- Arrange the crispy baked tofu on top of the salad. Serve alongside the creamy lemon poppy dressing.
This vegan crispy baked tofu recipe is brought to you in partnership with my friends at GT’s Living Foods and COCOYO Living Coconut Yogurt.. As always opinions are 100 percent my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site and my gluten-free salad cravings possible!