If flavorless and mushy are the first words that come to mind when you think of tofu, I was right there with you not long ago. I promise, though, that these Spicy Tofu Sausage Crumbles will change your perception of this veggie-based protein.
Plant-based proteins are having their day in the sun right now, and with good reason. Plant proteins have no cholesterol and offer a host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Soy, in particular, is one of few plant protein sources considered a complete protein, meaning it has sufficient amounts of all nine of the essential amino acids. It’s also a significant source of phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the body and can help mitigate menopausal symptoms.
Tofu is a great, versatile source of soy that provides good amounts of calcium, iron, and antioxidants. You can add it to smoothies as a creamy protein base, stir fry it with your favorite sauce and veggies, or marinate it and bake it. Since it’s essentially flavorless, it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. You can really get creative.
The star of this tofu sausage crumbles recipe is your spice cabinet, with fennel seeds really giving it the flavor of Italian sausage. Don’t tell him I told you, but even my meat-loving boyfriend loves this recipe.
What You’ll Need
In addition to a 14-oz block of extra firm tofu, a lot of what you need to make your tofu sausage crumbles may already be in your spice cabinet. Like I said, the spices are the star of this recipe, so take stock of what you have before heading to the market.
- Fennel seeds
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Dried oregano
- Cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper works well too)
- Salt & Pepper
Finally, grated parmesan cheese will give it that umami flavor every sausage has. If you avoid cheese or prefer to make this vegan, nutritional yeast works quite nicely as well. You can get nutritional yeast at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or any health food store. Many regular grocery stores are now carrying it as well.
How to Make Spicy Tofu Sausage Crumbles
First, drain the tofu and press out any excess moisture by gently pushing on it with a paper towel.
Next, you’ll make your spice mixture. Just add all spices to a small bowl and mix well. If you don’t like whole fennel seeds, you can grind them up in a spice grinder or food processor before adding them to the spice mixture. Note, if you’re using a food processor, use a towel to cover any openings in your appliance to avoid choking on fennel seed dust. Trust me, I learned that one the hard way!
Heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Use your hands to break the tofu into crumbles and add it to the pan, or put the block of tofu in the pan and break it up with a cooking spoon.
Sprinkle your spice mixture evenly over the tofu, stirring a few times while sprinkling to ensure your crumbles are evenly coated. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. That’s it. Easy peasy.
Got an air fryer? If you want a little crust on your tofu sausage, the air fryer is another great option. Instead of crumbling the tofu, just cut it into 1/2-inch cubes, toss in your seasoning, lightly spray with olive oil, and put it in the air fryer at 360 degrees for 15 minutes. Note: because the fennel seeds don’t adhere well to the cubes, I recommend you use a spice grinder or food processor to grind them up first.
My favorite way to eat these crumbles is on pizza, but they also go well in pasta dishes, in rice dishes, or on salads or baked potatoes. Basically, anything you might put sausage on. Have fun with it!
Spicy Tofu Sausage Crumbles
- 14 oz extra firm tofu
- 1 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan or nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Drain and press excess moisture out of the tofu
- In a small bowl, mix spices together
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat
- Using either your hands or a cooking spoon, break tofu into crumbles in skillet
- Sprinkle spices evenly over tofu, stirring to ensure all tofu is well seasoned
- Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
- Remove from heat and serve
Soy foods, such as tofu, contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens act like estrogen in the body, which can be beneficial as we get older and those estrogen levels start to decline. Click here to download my guide for other Essential Foods for Active Women Over 40. Bonus: this guide contains a one-week meal plan!!