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tofu nuggets for kids
Compared to certain other proteins, we admit that tofu is a bit weird. This should, actually, make it a big hit with kids, to whom the weirder the food is, the better.
The key to getting children to wolf down tofu the same way they would a burger and fries is all in the preparation. The tastier the tofu, the more they’ll eat of it, especially if you cook it in a way that improves its slightly-freaky texture.
That’s why this recipe for Tofu Nuggets is one you should bookmark immediately!
What is Tofu?
Basically, tofu is pressed soybean curds. Sounds appetizing, right?
Tofu has been a staple of Asian cuisine for thousands of years, and it’s still produced today in the same traditional way – albeit with the intervention of modern technology.
Soybean curds are formed by combining the milk of soybeans with a coagulant like gypsum or nigari. The curds are then gathered, strained of any whey, and pressed together into a block. It’s a process similar to making cheese, only without the dairy.
The length of time that the soybean curds get pressed determines how firm the resulting block tofu will be. Soft tofu is pressed for the least amount of time, while extra tofu (the type we’ll use in this tofu nuggets recipe) is pressed for the longest.
Is Tofu Good for Kids?
Absolutely! Tofu is typically classed as a whole food since it doesn’t contain any added fat, sweeteners, or additives. It’s about as pure an ingredient as you can get. The pureness of tofu also makes it a sponge for flavors and marinades, and since it doesn’t have a distinctive taste or odor, it’s super-friendly to sensitive palettes too.
Tofu is often used as a meat substitute on vegan and plant-based diets due to its high protein content – 8g of protein per 100g – but it’s also packed with micronutrients that make it ideal for a growing body. As well as all nine essential amino acids, tofu is an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1.
It’s low in fat and has a relatively low-calorie content, too – 73 calories per 100g – so it’s a great way to teach kids to eat healthily from the start.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Tofu for Kids?
Answer: by making it so delicious that they'll forget that they’re not eating their favorite chicken nuggets!
Honestly, tofu is such a versatile ingredient that you can cook it in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, and noodle dishes, or even add it to smoothies and desserts. However, a tried and tested method to get kids hooked on tofu is this foolproof recipe for No-Chicken Tofu Nuggets.
No-Chicken Tofu Nuggets
Preparation Time: 45 mins Cooking Time: 16 mins Serves: 4-6
Preparing this dish really couldn’t be simpler. To make this recipe, you will need extra firm tofu that’s been pressed using a tofu press (pressing the tofu beforehand will squeeze out any excess moisture that could result in soggy nuggets!), panko bread crumbs as a healthy alternative to white bread, eggs, flour, garlic, and a pinch of salt.
- 1 block pressed extra-firm tofu, cubed
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (or use whichever bread you have at home)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a wire rack on top of a lipped baking sheet and cover with non-stick spray.
2. In a shallow bowl, add the panko, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well.
3. In another shallow bowl, break the eggs and lightly beat with a fork.
4. in a final, third, shallow dish, add the flour.
5. Dip each tofu cube into the flour, followed by the egg, then the panko mix. Place onto the prepared rack.
6. Bake for 16 minutes, or until tofu is thoroughly cooked through and breadcrumb coating is a rich golden brown color.
7. Serve with steamed veggies and whole grain rice as a nutritious and delicious main meal. Alternatively, add to a crispy salad and sprinkle with vegetarian parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
What to do with Leftovers
Another added bonus of using tofu is that leftovers remain fresh for up to 3 days after you’ve cooked the nuggets.
The best way to store the leftover nuggets is in an airtight container in the fridge. You can make batches of this recipe too and freeze them, but leave them to defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating them – believe us, not even kids want to eat tofu ice lollies!
To reheat the nuggets, preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and warm for 8 to 10 minutes. This will not only heat them thoroughly but will also restore their crunch factor.