Crispy Tofu Sliders

I catered an office lunch for 11 last week and proposed a menu with some of my favorite Spanish dishes: garlic chicken and chickpea and spinach stew. The office manager liked the menu but requested an additional vegetarian dish, perhaps something with tofu. As much as I love tofu (seriously, I do), I don’t normally associate it with Spanish food. I was kind of stumped…

Trying to get a little creative, I remembered the crispy tofu sandwiches Matt and I made last summer. I decided to turn them into crispy tofu sliders and alter the flavors to fit with the rest of the meal. I seasoned the tofu with smoked paprika and topped each slider with piquillo pepper allioli (garlic mayonnaise). A last minute addition of roasted green pepper was the perfect thing to counteract the richness from the fried tofu and allioli.

Crispy Tofu Sliders

It’s been an interesting challenge figuring out how to scale my cooking for a crowd. In this case, I had to figure out how to keep the crispy tofu sliders hot until I dropped them off, knowing I would have to fry in batches. Obviously, I had to test it out before the day of the lunch. (Believe me, I didn’t mind.)

Crispy Tofu Sliders

The frying challenge turned out to be even easier than I thought. The panko crust really traps in the heat, and the patties can also be held in a warm oven for a little while with no consequence.

Crispy Tofu Sliders

On the day of the lunch, I was able to fry the tofu for sliders in two batches and keep them in a warm oven until I was ready to assemble at the very last minute. Looking at the picture, it’s a little creepy to see how much they looked like fried chicken. I promise, I they were not from McDonald’s!

Anyways, I clearly love this method for frying tofu. The texture is unbeatable and the flavor options are endless.

Crispy Tofu Sliders with Piquillo Pepper Allioli

Yield: 12 sliders

Crispy Tofu Sliders with Piquillo Pepper Allioli

There are several components to these sliders, but both the allioli and green peppers can be made in advance. The fried tofu patties can be kept in a warm (300-350 degree) oven while you’re frying in batches.

Tofu adapted from General Tso’s Tofu Sub recipe


    For the Allioli
  • 3 jarred piquillo peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon spicy Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the Green Peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut in pieces the size of the buns
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • For the Tofu
  • 1 14-oz container firm tofu, drained and lightly pat dry
  • 8 teaspoons Spanish paprika (I used a combination of sweet and spicy paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teasoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning fried tofu
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups panko
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • For Assembling
  • 12 slider buns
  • 12 pieces of green pepper (there might be some leftover)
  • 12 pieces of fried tofu
  • Piquillo allioli


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Puree all of the allioli ingredients using a hand blender or food processor. Test for seasoning and add additional salt if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Toss the green pepper pieces with the olive oil and season with salt. Spread on a sheet pan and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and charred in some spots. Set aside.
  • Mix together the rest of the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt. Cut the tofu into 12 even square patties. Sprinkle the rub liberally all over the tofu slices (you want to heavily season them).
  • Fill a heavy skillet roughly 1-2 inches deep with canola oil. Heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch until smooth. Place the panko in a shallow bowl or plate. Dip the tofu patties into the egg white batter, gently shake off excess, and then dip in the panko to cover the tofu.
  • When the oil is hot, fry the tofu in at least two batches, flipping halfway through, until golden brown. Remove each piece with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Season with additional salt.
  • Toast the slider buns. To assemble each slider, place a piece of pepper on the bottom half of the bun followed by a piece of tofu. Top with a small spoonful of allioli.

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