These deliciously filling and healthy Savory Tofu Pancakes are perfect any time of day. Oil-free, gluten-free, high in protein, and totally customizable, the batter comes together quickly in a food processor and cooks up just like regular pancakes. Omit the nori and spicy ketchup and add fresh herbs for a totally different flavor profile. Nut-free option.
I love making these tofu pancakes for leisurely weekend breakfasts, and the leftovers are delicious served with rice or quinoa for a full meal or as a snack served with raw veggies. And you can pair these savory tofu pancakes with a simple salad for a light lunch!
The idea for these came from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which is one of the most thorough cookbooks I've come across.
If you're new to plant-based cooking and looking for a single book that explains everything from cooking grains to making fresh pasta, this is one to get.
Though it isn't strictly vegan and uses eggs and dairy in some of the recipes, it's still extremely helpful to vegans and is a beautifully crafted cookbook with a wealth of information anyone can find useful. And many of the vegetarian recipes can easily be made vegan with a few substitutions.
I lightly adapted Bittman's recipe for Tofu Pancakes to make them gluten-free, oil-free and Japanese-inspired.
I don't know about you, but I absolutely love nori. I suppose it goes back to my pre-vegan, sushi-obsessed days.
Though I still enjoy veggie rolls, I don't seek out sushi as often as I used to. So lately I've been looking for new opportunities to eat seaweed, outside of the typical dishes like miso soup and sushi.
Adding strips of nori to these tofu pancakes provides that same lovely sensory experience as eating sushi. Hold a warm, folded pancake in your hand, inhale and take a bite.
Tips for Cooking Savory Tofu Pancakes
- The amount of water you'll need for the batter depends on the type/brand of tofu you use and how much water it contains. A typical extra-firm tofu packed in water will need less water added than a drier, sturdy and dense tofu like the Trader Joe's pictured above (if you've used it before, you know exactly what I mean). It's super firm! Also, any tofu labeled "sprouted" is usually more firm than regular, extra-firm tofu.
- Use a non-stick skillet or griddle; you won't need oil to prevent sticking. But feel free to cook these in a bit of oil if you want crispier edges.
- If you make pancakes very often, you know how important it is to heat your pan to the proper temperature and then maintain it. If the pan is too hot the exterior will brown before the inside cooks. So don't be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get the hang of it! I tend to preheat my pan on medium/low, and after cooking for a few minutes reduce the heat slightly.
- Be sure not to crowd the pan so you have plenty of room for flipping the pancakes.
- The pancakes only take about 10 minutes to cook, so don't be dismayed by the "Cook time: 45 minutes" listed in the recipe. 🙂 That accounts for cooking them in small batches in a skillet.
I hope you enjoy these Savory Tofu Pancakes as much as I do. If you try them I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below to let us know how they turned out. Happy cooking!
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Savory Tofu Pancakes
- 1 pound extra or super firm tofu, drained well and patted dry
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 to 3 Tbsp tamari (for GF) or soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp tahini (for nut-free) or peanut butter
- ⅓ to 1 ¼ cups water, depending on type of tofu and its water content
- ⅓ cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend (sub whole wheat or regular all-purpose flour, if desired)
- black pepper
- 1 sheet nori seaweed, cut into 2-inch x ½-inch strips, optional
For the Spicy Ketchup:
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp sri racha
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, optional
- Preheat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over low/medium-low heat.
- Crumble the tofu into the bowl of a food processor, and add the shallot, soy sauce, nut/seed butter, and about ⅓ cup of the water. Process until smooth. *If using a higher water content type of tofu, such as regular extra-firm, ⅓ cup water may be enough. If using a dense super-firm or sprouted tofu, such as Trader Joe's Organic Super-Firm, you may need as much as 1 to 1 ¼ cups of water. You want a very thin batter at this stage. Taste and adjust saltiness.
- Transfer the tofu mixture to a large bowl and stir in the flour and black pepper. It should be thick but pourable, resembling pancake batter. Add more water or flour to adjust consistency.
- Scoop about ⅓ cup batter into the pan and gently spread into a thin pancake. Work in batches, allowing enough room to flip the pancakes with a spatula. Arrange nori strips on top of each pancake. Cook undisturbed until the bottoms are golden and you see bubbles on the surface, 4 to 6 minutes. *If the bottoms are browning too quickly reduce the heat.
- Flip and cook until the other side is golden and the pancakes are cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Make the spicy ketchup by stirring all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.