With crispy tofu chicken and our signature Marry Me sauce, this Vegan Marry Me Chicken is a fun vegan take on the classic dinner. The sauce comes together in about 45 minutes and the tofu “chicken” only takes a few ingredients to make. So if you want to join the Marry Me movement, you’ve got to make this vegan chicken recipe!
If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve probably seen my Marry Me Chickpeas or Marry Me Butter Beans. Millions of viewers are loving them and have been putting their own twists on it. With inspiration all around, I knew I needed to make a vegan “chicken” version.
What I came up with was using the breading recipe for my crispy baked tofu nuggets (a staple tofu recipe!) to make a “chicken” cutlet on the stovetop. I then paired this with a veganized version of my staple Tuscan Marry Me sauce.
Tofu makes a great base for vegan chicken thanks to a nifty trick I use to replicate chicken’s texture. And as a sensory scientist, I can confirm it truly does replicate chicken’s texture. So let me teach you how to make vegan Marry Me chicken!
Why you’ll love it
- Simple ingredients like coconut milk, basil, and spices are used to make this dish.
- Easy to prep the chicken thanks to a simple preparation method. You will need to press the tofu, but only briefly so you can quickly do it the day before.
- Flavor-loaded ingredients make this vegan Tuscan sauce SO flavorful with minimal work.
Ingredients for Vegan Marry me chicken
You don’t need much to make this dish. The star is the crispy tofu. Here’s what you’ll need to make it!
Vegan “Chicken” Tofu
- Firm Tofu: The firm tofu is critical to replicating the texture of tofu. I also recommend freezing then thawing the tofu before cooking with it, which makes the texture *chef’s kiss*.
- Cornstarch: This is what makes the tofu extra crispy! Arrowroot flour could also be used.
- Soy Sauce: I love using soy sauce for a little umami to the breading.
- Italian Breadcrumbs: Italian breadcrumbs are awesome because they already have lots of seasoning in them. Plain breadcrumbs can be used but you’ll need to add Italian seasoning too.
- Oil: Any neutral oil can be used to pan-fry the vegan “chicken”.
Vean Marry Me Sauce
- Vegan Butter: Butter is used to enhance the flavor of the spices. This means we need less spice for the same amount of flavor.
- Garlic: Fresh minced garlic will produce the most flavor.
- Spices: A combination of salt, pepper, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika come together for a wonderful flavor melody that’s as comforting as the warm Tuscan sun!
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: These are the one ingredient that makes a sauce Tuscan or “Marry Me” worthy. They are ripened and dried in the warm Mediterranean or California sun, bringing out their natural sweetness. Sundried tomatoes are packed in oil usually and come in a glass jar.
- Dijon Mustard: In vegan dishes. it’s helpful to use Dijon mustard because it adds a depth of flavor and umaminess that regular heavy cream and cheese would provide otherwise.
- Coconut Milk: You will need full-fat canned coconut milk. Just be sure it’s not cold otherwise the thick cream will separate from the water making it too thick for the sauce.
- Vegan Parmesan: Vegan cheese has come a long way and vegan parmesan is one of the best products out there! It’s usually found in the refrigerated section next to other vegan options.
- Basil: Fresh basil is added at the end for the fresh notes. If it’s added too early it will wilt.
A note about mustard
Dijon mustard is one of my go-to tricks for cooking vegan food. It contains mustard seeds, white wine, vinegar, sugar, and onion. All of which add loads of flavor and savoriness that dairy products would otherwise add.
How to make Vegan Tuscan “Chicken” with Tofu
This dish is very simple to make but if you have the time, I recommend putting the pressed tofu in the freezer the day before.
- Prepare the tofu by pressing it and freezing it then thawing it
- Bread the tofu by dipping it in the wash and breading
- Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a large pot
- Cook the tofu by pan-frying it
- Combine the sauce and breaded tofu
This recipe is best eaten right away, but if you have leftovers here’s what to do. Store the crispy tofu separately and reheat it in the oven, air fryer, or on the stovetop to keep it crispy. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat it, use the microwave or stove top to reheat it slowly by adding a small amount of broth to rehydrate it.
Why this Recipe Works
I have years of experience with cooking tofu so I’ve perfected crispy, chicken-like tofu. So trust me when I tell you that this is why this Tuscan vegan chicken is so good!
- Freezing the tofu: This is optional but it helps the tofu be chewier and more like chicken.
- Versatile: You can serve this sauce and chicken over rice or pasta. Or, you can eat it on its own!
- A tried and true sauce: I’ve made numerous versions of this Marry Me sauce at this point so I’ve perfected it!
Can I use vegan pre-made chicken in place of tofu?
Yes to save a little time, you can use frozen pre-made vegan chicken. You can also use mushrooms, like my Fried Oyster Mushrooms.
Do I need to bread the tofu?
Yes, I think the “chicken” should be crispy, like chicken parmesan when paired with a creamy sauce. Other vegan Tuscan chicken recipes don’t use crispy tofu, but they should!
What is the best vegan parmesan to use?
Vegan parmesan is the most forgiving of vegan cheeses. My preferred one is Follow Your Heart Vegan Parmesan Shreds.
What to serve with marry me tofu
This dish is delicious on its own but to make it part of a larger meal, here are some pairing ideas.
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad is a super easy and fresh salad that pairs perfectly with Vegan Marry Me Chicken.
- Toast with Tomato Confit is a fun appetizer to serve before this Tuscan tofu.
- For an easy base, try making pasta in the microwave to serve the Marry Me Tofu Chicken on top of it.
Vegan "Chicken" Tofu
- 2 16-oz blocks firm tofu 453 g each
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
- 2 Tbsp water 30 mL
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs 56 g
- 2 Tbsp oil 30 mL
Vegan Marry Me Sauce
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter 28 g
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp each salt, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 13-oz can coconut milk 385 mL
- ½ cup grated vegan parmesan 40 g
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- Freeze Tofu (optional): Drain tofu and cut each piece in half to create thinner slabs. Press the tofu for at least 20 minutes (either with a tofu press or by wrapping the pieces in clean towels and setting something heavy on top). When finished, pat dry and freeze until solid. Transfer to fridge and allow it to thaw. This step give the tofu a chewy texture more similar to chicken!
- Bread Tofu: Pat try the thawed tofu. In a large, shallow bowl or container, mix together 4 Tbsp cornstarch, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 2 Tbsp water. Put ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Working one at a time, dip each piece of tofu into the cornstarch slurry and then into the breadcrumbs, then set aside.
- Make Sauce: Heat 2 Tbsp vegan butter, 4 cloves garlic, ½ tsp each salt, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp ground black pepper in a large saute pan or pot over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Stir in ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tsp dijon mustard, and 1 13-oz can coconut milk. Continue cooking on medium, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
- Cook Tofu: Heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium in a large pan. Add tofu and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy (you may need to work in batches).
- Serve: Stir ½ cup grated vegan parmesan and 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil into sauce. Serve over Tofu Chicken with pasta or rice!