Vegan Tofu Parmesan (Parmigiana)

GFGluten FreeNFNut FreeVVegan

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This Crispy Tofu Parmesan is breaded and pan-fried until golden, then baked in the oven until extra crispy! A cozy and hearty vegan main with a gluten-free option. 

Looking for a cozy, hearty, and satisfying dinner? This Crispy Tofu Parmesan recipe has it all – layers of crispy seasoned breadcrumbs, tangy marinara, and gooey (vegan!) cheese to top it all off. It’s the perfect plant-based twist on a classic Italian-American recipe, and just as delicious as the original.

tofu parmesan on plate with steamed broccolini and bite taken out of it

INGREDIENTS FOR TOFU PARMESAN

This dish is my plant-based interpretation of Chicken Parmesan – I like to swap the animal protein with tofu to make the dish extra hearty (and not soggy, which eggplant can be). This dish was originally created by Italian immigrants to the US in the 1950s, and based on how delicious it is, I don’t think it’ll be going out of style any time soon 😉

ingredients for tofu parmesan in small bowls on marble background

I decided to use a combination of broth + cornstarch to replace the classic egg wash. The cornstarch will thicken and crisp as the tofu is pan-fried! I saw Lisa of Okonomi Kitchen use this method for her Tofu Katsu Curry and am happy to report that it worked perfectly. Plus, this recipe is easily made dairy-free by using both vegan mozzarella cheese and vegan parmesan cheese for a gooey and crispy topping.

***Super Firm Tofu vs. Extra-Firm Tofu: I used super firm tofu for this recipe, which is pre-pressed and comes in a vacuum sealed package. I prefer the firmness of super firm tofu, but if you can’t find it you can also use extra-firm tofu. Just make sure to press the tofu well and pat dry to get out any excess moisture.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN TOFU PARMESAN

step-by-step guide to making tofu parmesan in a photo collage

This recipe has a few steps, but I promise it’s worth it 😉 and fairly straightforward too! I prefer to make my tofu parmesan on a baking sheet and only lightly topping with sauce – this keeps the texture nice and crispy, and you can always serve with more sauce later if you prefer.

  1. Marinate the tofu in broth for a stronger flavor.
  2. Bread the tofu – dredge in the flour mixture, dunk in the “egg” mixture, then coat in breadcrumbs
  3. Pan-Fry in oil until both sides are golden brown
  4. Transfer to a baking sheet, then layer the tomato sauce and vegan cheese on top
  5. Bake until the cheese is bubbly, then serve warm and enjoy!

The smell of this Crispy Tofu Parmesan immediately takes me back to my favorite childhood Italian restaurant. It’s just so cozy and satisfying! I chose to serve mine with some steamed broccoli for a lighter side, but you can also serve this recipe over pasta for a heartier main.

tofu parmesan on plate with steamed broccolini and bite taken out of it

COOKING TIPS + FAQ:

  • Gluten-Free: you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs instead
  • Baked Tofu: If you prefer not to pan-fry the tofu you can bake or air-fry it instead. See the recipe notes for further instructions!
  • Tofu replacement: you can also make this recipe using a vegan chicken cutlet (like Gardein’s Chik’n Scallopini) – if you go this route, you do not need to marinate the faux meat.

Baked tofu parmesan topped with vegan cheese and marinara sauce on baking sheet

If you’re looking for more Italian-inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Vegan Penne alla Vodka, this Vegan “Chicken” Piccata, and these Italian-Style Vegan Meatballs!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

 

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Vegan Tofu Parmesan

This Crispy Tofu Parmesan is breaded and pan-fried until golden, then baked in the oven until extra crispy! A cozy and hearty vegan main with a gluten-free option. 

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 16 ounce block tofu, cut into 4 thin pieces*
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegan chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour*
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (62 g) panko breadcrumbs*
  • 1/31/2 cup (80-120 ml) olive oil*
  • 1 cup (240 ml) marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup (55g) vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (28 g) shredded vegan Parmesan 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, for serving 

Instructions

  1. Marinate: slice tofu and soak in liquid covered for  at least 30 min, or overnight for stronger flavor. Remove the tofu from the marinade and place on a plate; reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade, and discard the rest.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 450F and grease or line a baking sheet. Then, prepare the three-step breading process:
    1. Flour: place the flour, Italian seasoning (if using), salt, and pepper on a shallow plate. Mix well.
    2. “Egg” Wash: Whisk the reserved 1/3 cup of the tofu marinade with the cornstarch in a shallow bowl or plate with a lip.
    3. Breading: place the breadcrumbs on a shallow plate.
  3. Prepare the Tofu: dredge both sides of the tofu in the flour mixture first, then briefly in the “egg” mixture, then into the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Set aside and repeat with the remaining pieces of tofu
  4. Pan-Fry: Warm the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the breaded tofu to the oil and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer the tofu to a plate lined with a paper towel briefly, to absorb the excess oil.
  5. Bake: Transfer the tofu cutlets to the prepared baking tray and top each cutlet with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of sauce, 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese, and 1 tablespoon of vegan Parmesan. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serve: Transfer to serving plates and top with fresh herbs. Serve warm; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and are best reheated in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.

Notes

  • Oil: the amount of oil you need for frying will vary based on the size and type of your pan. I used a large nonstick ceramic pan and only needed 1/3 cup of oil, but if your pan is larger and made of stainless steel or cast iron you may need to add more oil to prevent sticking. 
  • Baked: Prepare the tofu cutlets as written, then spray both sides generously with spray oil. Place the cutlets on a prepared baking sheet and bake plain for 15-17 minutes before removing from the oven, flipping, topping with sauce, and returning to the oven to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. You can also make this recipe in the air-fryer, but may need to reduce the cook time by 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Gluten-Free: use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

Keywords: vegan tofu parmesan, vegetarian tofu parmesan,

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. So delicious! I air fried this and it turned out perfectly. Thanks for a fun recipe.

  2. This is my new favorite recipe of yours! Before it was the pumpkin mac and cheese and my regular is doing the crispy tofu recipe to throw it in loads of things but this takes the cake! I’ve sent pics and links to my friends and told them they need to try this out. 10/10

  3. Absolutely delicious, I saw this on IG and knew I had to make it for Sunday dinner! Growing up my dad always made homemade red sauce to pair with chicken parmesan on Sunday nights as a special treat to end the weekend and it was always a family favorite! I haven’t had it since before going plant-based 2-1/2 years ago, and I forgot how much I missed this dish. It was a perfectly savory and crispy tofu preparation, and I can’t believe how much flavor the tofu gained after marinating in vegan chicken broth. I added on top Miyokos liquid mozzarella and baked it til golden, then broiled it with a little vegan parmesan on top for a couple minutes and finally topped it off with fresh basil, it was SOOO delicious! I served it with a side of noodles (tossed with vegan butter and parm), garlic bread and sauteed spinach. This is hands down going to be on our Sunday night dinner rotation from here on out. Thank you so much for the inspiration to make one of my childhood favorites 🙂

    1. So glad you were able to make one of your childhood favorites with this recipe, Allison! ♥