Vegan chicken tenders made with tofu strips dunked into chickpea flour batter and nut parmesan, served with dill pickle ranch sauce! These are the best healthy vegan chicken tenders!
- 2 blocks firm or extra firm tofu (each 14–16 ounces for a total of about 2 pounds)
Chickpea Flour Batter
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Almond Cashew Parmesan
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Dill Pickle Ranch
- 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I love Chosen Foods brand)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 large pickle, finely chopped (I love Bubbie’s brand- find them in the refrigerated section at natural foods stores)
- Non-dairy milk, as needed to thin
- If you wish to press the tofu, do this first. I didn’t bother, and the tofu was still plenty firm and “meaty” once baked, but you can for a firmer result, if desired. Instructions for pressing tofu can be found here.
- Start by slicing the tofu into strips. The size is really up to you; I went with a total of 16 strips (8 strips per block of tofu), for rather large strips.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line one large or 2 medium baking sheets with parchment paper. It is very important to use parchment paper to prevent sticking to the pan.
- In a good sized bowl that fits the tofu strips, whisk together the chickpea flour, non-dairy milk, and a pinch each sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Make the nut parmesan: Combine the almonds, cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder in a food processor. Process until a coarse meal forms. Transfer into a wide, shallow container or dish that fits the tofu strips.
- Make the vegan chicken tenders: Take a tofu strip and carefully place it into the chickpea flour batter, turning so that all four sides are coated. Gently shake off excess batter before placing the strip of tofu in the nut parmesan. Turn to coat all 4 sides and both ends with parmesan.
- Transfer your first tofu strip onto a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tofu. Avoid overcrowding on the baking sheet- leave some space between each strip for optimal crispiness.
- Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and carefully flip. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, or until browned and crispy all over.
- Meanwhile, make the dill pickle ranch: Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding a splash of non-dairy milk to thin, if desired. (I added too much liquid to mine, as you can see in the photos… be judicious with the milk unless you like a runny ranch sauce!) Transfer into a container and add the chopped dill and pickles.
- If there is leftover batter, place it in an airtight jar and refrigerate for a few days. You can use it to batter practically any vegetable, following the same steps as above!
- To serve, arrange the tofu tenders on a platter and serve the dill pickle ranch and ketchup on the side.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 24 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Lunch, Supper
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: North American
Keywords: vegan tofu chicken tenders