If you loved chicken parm before going vegan, you will absolutely love this vegan chicken parm recipe made from tofu! Easy to make, super flavorful and topped with melty vegan cheese.
If you go into any Italian restaurant, you will likely find chicken or eggplant parm. We’re building off those same flavors to give you this vegan chicken parm which we will be making from tofu, so tofu parm.
This dish is breaded and fried (air fried or oven baked works), topped with vegan cheese and red sauce and served on a bed of spaghetti. I mean hello, who wouldn’t love this.
This dish is kid friendly and also a great meal to serve to people who still consume meat if they are open to trying tofu. We use the freeze and thaw method which gives tofu a more meaty texture and makes this dish even better.
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VEGAN CHICKEN PARM INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the main ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make this easy vegan tofu parm recipe:
- Tofu – This is the base that we are using for our vegan chicken parm. By using the freeze and thaw method (described below), we will be getting the best meat-like texture from tofu. Tofu takes on flavor well making it a great alternative to chicken.
- Sauce – We are making our own homemade vegan spaghetti sauce, which does increase the time for the recipe overall; however, it can be made in advance if needed
- Flax egg – if you combine ground flax seed and water together and let it sit, it becomes gelatinous and makes the perfect substitution for egg when breading things together
- Garlic – Provides our aromatics and layer of flavor that pairs so well with tofu parm
- Vegan chicken seasoning – We use the vegan chicken seasoning from Trader Joe’s; however you can use another one if you can’t find this one.
- Breadcrumbs – We are using panko breadcrumbs here because it’s always easy to find them. Traditional breadcrumbs typically contain milk and it’s harder to find those, so we are choosing panko for that reason.
- Vegan parm and Vegan mozzarella – The cheese we are picking are just vegan versions of what is traditionally found in chicken or eggplant parm
Substitutions and Variations:
- Tofu – This could be made using eggplant, mushrooms, or even seitan.
- Sauce – If you don’t feel like making a sauce from scratch, you can use your favorite store bought jar. We’d recommend Prego Farmer’s Market Marinara
- Flax egg – We haven’t tried substituting flax egg in this recipe, but you could try using Just egg or another egg replacer in place of this
- Vegan chicken seasoning – chicken seasoning is an all-purpose seasoning blend that contains things like chicken bouillon, salt, onion powder, turmeric, garlic powder, basil, paprika, black pepper, thyme, celery seed, cayenne pepper, mustard seed. Or some variation therein. Obviously replacing the chicken bouillon with a vegan version is needed and then a combination of the spices and you’d be able to make your own.
- Breadcrumbs – vegan chicken parm is coated in breadcrumbs as that’s the traditional method; however we guess you could omit if you didn’t want it to be breaded or even made crush something like corn flakes for a very different but similar texture
- Vegan cheese – you could make your own cheeses if needed
Frequently Asked Questions:
Whether a personal preference or allergen, we get not everyone does tofu. You could swap for eggplant, oyster or portobello mushrooms, seitan or cauliflower steaks.
For the tofu, you’d need to swap it out with one of the options above.
For the breadcrumbs, you can use a gluten free panko breadcrumb.
You can look through our shredded vegan cheese guide to find one suitable for your needs.
Because of the breadcrumbs, this could get soggy when reheating so it’s best served immediately. Our top recommendation would be to put it into an air fryer at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until crispy again. Otherwise, you could bake it or microwave but results on crispiness would vary.
We really recommend that you serve this immediately. If you need to prep ahead, we’d recommend serving within 2 days and using the reheating recommendations above.
You’ll see that some people say vegan tofu parm or vegan tofu parmesan or even vegan tofu parmigiana. They all refer to the exact same dish. Parmesan is actually just the cheese; whereas parmigiana refers to the cooking style in which a main ingredients (tofu here) is combined with cheese and tomato sauce.
Absolutely! Use whatever you have on hand. Spaghetti noodles are typically what vegan tofu parm is served over; however, if all you have is rotini or penne or anything else, then so it shall be!
Tips for making the perfect tofu:
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF TOFU TO USE?
We prefer extra firm tofu for this recipe and would highly recommend using that.
This recipe will also work with firm tofu if needed.
We do not advise using silken or soft tofu for this recipe.
WHY SHOULD I FREEZE TOFU FIRST?
Freezing tofu gives it a more meat-like texture. While this isn’t a requirement, we highly recommend doing it this way.
Freeze to tofu in the store packaging. Then remove and let thaw completely before adding it to a tofu press to drain (see below)
HOW DO I PRESS OUT TOFU?
The easiest way to press out tofu is to use a tofu press. We use this tofu press because it’s easy to use and works great.
However, if you don’t have a tofu press then you could wrap the block of tofu in a kitchen towel, place it on a plate, and then put something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet.
What other vegan pasta ideas could I make?
Pasta is life! It’s at least a love language. Pasta dishes are usually simple, filling, and comforting, making them the perfect dinners for weeknights! Here’s some more vegan pasta dish ideas:
If you love this one pot meal idea, then definitely check out our vegan one pot creamy garlic parmesan pasta.
Here’s some more delicious vegan pasta dishes:
- 20 Minute Vegan Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta
- One Pot Vegan Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Vegan Mac and Cheese Pasta
- Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach
- The Best Vegan Lasagna
- Vegan Alfredo
- Vegan Cheesy Hamburger Helper Skillet
- The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Spinach and Walnut Pesto Pasta
- Vegan Carbonara
- Vegan Creamy Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta
Pin this vegan chicken parm for later!
Vegan Chicken Parm
- 1 recipe the best homemade vegan spaghetti sauce (or your favorite store bought), need approximately 2 cups
- 1 14-16oz block extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed (See notes above)
- 3 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 9 tablespoon water (may need 1-2 tablespoon more)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon vegan chicken seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil (can use another neutral oil)
- 6 oz vegan mozzarella, shredded or sliced
- ⅓ cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated if need
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 lb spaghetti, cooked
- extra sauce from above
- Press out tofu using a tofu press (or other method listed above in post)
- Make homemade spaghetti sauce according to instructions if using. *Cooking time reduces to 45 minutes if not making sauce.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet (or dish) with non stick cooking oil spray; set aside.Add ground flax seed and water to a bowl, set aside until gelatinous.
- Into a shallow dish (a pie pan works great), add the flax egg, garlic, vegan chicken seasoning, salt and pepper. Whisk together.
- Slice the tofu and add the tofu into the mixture, rotating to evenly coat each piece in the mixture. Cover and set aside to marinate for 5 minutes.
- While waiting on the tofu make your breading. In a medium shallow bowl combine breadcrumbs, vegan parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder and mix well.
- When the tofu is ready, dip tofu into the breadcrumb mixture to evenly coat.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Fry tofu until golden and crispy, (about 3-5 minutes each side).*If serving with pasta, start boiling water and cooking according to package now.
- Turn your oven on broil and place the tofu on prepared baking tray. Top each with homemade marinara, vegan mozzarella and parmesan.
- Place in the oven for 1 – 2 mins to melt the cheese. Remove and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Serve over pasta.