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Baking instead of frying tofu is a simple, fuss-free way to prepare this dish, but you can shallow-fry these poppers on the stovetop if you prefer. While our homemade Jalapeño Pepper Jelly (page 96) is our first choice, store-bought hot pepper jelly will work just fine. You can find hot pepper jelly in most grocery stores in the deli section or look for it at your local farmers’ market. Serve these poppers hot out of the oven to keep them crunchy.

Baked Tofu Jalapeño Popper Bites [Vegan]

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Ingredients You Need for Baked Tofu Jalapeño Popper Bites [Vegan]

  • 2 packages (12 ounces/350 g each) extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups (500 mL) panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) store-bought hot pepper jelly
  • Sliced jalapeño peppers, for garnish
  • Spicy Mayo, for drizzling or dipping

How to Prepare Baked Tofu Jalapeño Popper Bites [Vegan]

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parch- ment paper.
  2. Press the tofu between 2 sheets of paper towel or a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid. Cut the pressed tofu into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes. Set out 3 medium shallow bowls. Put the cornstarch in one bowl. Put the milk in the second bowl. In the third bowl, stir together the panko crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and paprika until combined. Add the avocado oil and stir to combine.
  3. To prepare the tofu, working in batches, place the tofu cubes in the cornstarch and toss to coat. Remove from the cornstarch, shaking off the excess, and place them in the milk, turning to coat. Place them in the panko coating, lightly pressing the crumb mixture on all sides to coat. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake the tofu until golden brown, about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Heat the Jalapeño Pepper Jelly in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
  6. Transfer the baked tofu to a large bowl. Add the Jalapeño Pepper Jelly and toss until coated. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with sliced jalapeños if desired. Serve hot with Spicy Mayo drizzled over top or served on the side.
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For Gluten-free: Use gluten-free panko crumbs. For Nut-free: Use a nut-free non-dairy milk.

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