Surprisingly Good Parmesan Tofu Cutlets in Marinara Sauce

Surprisingly Good Parmesan Tofu Cutlets in Marinara Sauce

This healthy and surprisingly good vegetarian take on the traditional Italian chicken parmesan recipe will turn you into a tofu fan. Tofu cutlets are so adaptable to whatever cuisine you prepare; simply change up the marinating seasoning and marinate for about 30 minutes or longer for a more intense flavor.  I like to prepare them as parmesan tofu cutlets covered with marinara sauce and sprinkled with shaved parmesan cheese and red hot pepper seeds. Add a side salad, and voila! – you have a delicious, nutritious dinner. Need a primer for cooking with tofu? Follow our tips and tricks for mastering this versatile protein.

Adapted from Prevention’s Quick and Healthy Low-Fat Cooking

Servings:  4


  • 12 ounces firm/extra firm tofu, drained and squeezed dry by using cheesecloth, or kitchen towels
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
  • A sprinkle of coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko or dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely shredded parmesan cheese
Extra-firm Tofu
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. Cut tofu into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, minced garlic, milk, and pepper.
  3. In another medium-sized shallow bowl, combine the panko, Italian seasoning, and parmesan.
  4. Dip the tofu slices into the egg mixture, then into the crumb mixture, coating both sides evenly.
  5. Place the tofu on a baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil or use parchment paper in place of the olive oil.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.   Flip the slices and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden. 
  7. Serve with freshly prepared pasta and marinara sauce topped with extra shaved parmesan cheese.
    Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    Recipe compliments of OPL Master Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

    OPL Plant-rich Recipes

    Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

    Tofu 101: How to Master this Versatile Protein

    Tofu 101: How to Master this Versatile Protein

    The more you know about tofu, the easier it will be to master this versatile protein.

    Tofu may seem intimidating if you’ve never cooked with it before, and preparing it incorrectly may lead you to believe that tofu is squishy, tasteless, and unappetizing.  If you’ve been disappointed or intimidated by tofu, you’re not alone.

    Tofu is made from mature soybeans that are soaked and boiled until soy milk is produced, then the milk is curdled and pressed into blocks in much the same way as dairy cheese is made.  It is a healthy, high-protein alternative to meat products which requires minimal processing and emits 12.5 times less greenhouse gas emissions than beef.


    Follow these helpful tips and tricks to master this healthy and versatile ingredient:
    Choose the right tofu. 

    Not all tofu is the same!  Silken or soft-block tofu is best when used in creamy foods like smoothies, blended soups, pudding desserts, and salad dressings.  Medium soft tofu is best used in miso soup or other dishes that don’t require much handling (as it will break up if treated too roughly).  Firm and extra-firm tofu are the hardiest varieties and are best used in recipes where the tofu is stir-fried or handled more roughly. 

    Firm Tofu
    Always drain and press your block tofu.

    Silken tofu doesn’t require pressing (you can drain it and eat it raw!), but all firmer block tofu should be pressed.  To do so, wrap the tofu in a towel or absorbent cloth and sandwich it between two cutting boards.  Place something heavy (a cast-iron pot or a few pounds of potatoes) on top of the cutting board, which will apply pressure and squeeze any excess water out of the tofu. Press the tofu for 10 minutes.

    Wrapped Tofu
    Pressed Tofu
    Marinate the tofu.

    Once your block tofu is pressed, you’ll want to marinate it, so it becomes a flavorful component of your dish.  Scratch-made marinades are the best for ensuring a flavor profile that compliments the rest of your dish, but in a pinch, you can use any oil-based bottled salad dressing (like a robust Italian dressing) to give your tofu a boost of flavor.  Pressing and then marinating your tofu is essential to making a flavorful tofu-based dish!

    Cook tofu with care. 

    Tofu can become a crispy, delicious part of your dish if prepared correctly.  Pan-frying it will give it a golden brown crust, but if you’re craving something crunchy, try tossing cubed tofu with a tablespoon of oil, tamari, or soy sauce, and 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch before baking it in the oven.  You can also air-fry tofu with delicious, crispy results.  

    Now that you know the basics of tofu – get out there and try it! 

    There are a ton of great recipes online. To get started, try these two tofu recipes submitted by One Planet Life home chefs:

    Matar “Paneer” with Tofu Makes an Easy Vegan Weeknight Meal

    Surprisingly Good Parmesan Tofu Cutlets in Mariana Sauce

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