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One of the biggest complaints about tofu is that the texture is too mushy and homogeneous for a lot of people. Pressing can definitely help, but even then, tofu is not an ingredient that offers up a lot by way of texture contrast.
But when you dredge it in something that’ll crisp up in a skillet or in the oven, tofu immediately becomes more appealing to those who think they don't like its texture.
Some recipes call for simply coating tofu slices evenly and lightly in flour or cornstarch before pan-frying, searing, or baking. This is definitely one way to guarantee a crispy exterior, though I like to take things a little further and add ground nuts, like almonds, pistachios, or pecans, for some extra crunch and texture. For this recipe, grinding any three of those nuts finely in a food processor should work in place of the almond meal—as would ground, shelled pumpkin seeds.
Almonds are a good choice because of the mildly sweet flavor, because most of us have them lurking in our pantry somewhere, and because you have the option of using commercial almond meal if you like (in other words, if you made grain-free muffins a few weeks ago and have been wondering what to do with your leftover almond meal ever since). Feel free to add some extra flavor to the almond coating, as well: A pinch of cayenne or dried herbs works nicely.
You can bake or pan-fry the triangles. Pan-frying will get them a little crispier on the outside, but it’s a little messier; baking will result in slightly drier triangles and it takes a little more time.
I like to serve these triangles with a lemony grain pilaf and a fresh salad or some roasted vegetables, but they’re also a great option for savory mid-afternoon snack (and no one will judge you for dipping them in some ketchup—promise).
For the triangles:
- One 14- or 15-ounce block extra-firm tofu, pressed if possible to remove some moisture
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if pan-frying)
- 1 cup commercial almond meal (like Bob's Red Mill) or homemade almond meal (simply grind a heaping cup of almonds to a fine meal in the food processor)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the marinade:
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or tapioca starch