Walnut-Crusted Tofu Cutlets

This dish demonstrates how creative you can be with tofu. The tahini spread adds a creaminess that perfectly complements the crunch of the walnuts. Serve this entrée with Broccoli and Cauliflower with Vegan “Cheese” Sauce. For added flavor, toast the walnuts and dried coconut.* Replace the walnuts with pecans, macadamias or other chopped nuts, if you prefer.

Chef Mark Reinfeld

    • Phases234
    • 4
    • 15 Minutes
    • 5 Minutes
    • 20 Minutes
    • 40 Minutes
    •  US  Metric
  • Nutritional information per serving

    • 7g
    • 11g
    • 4g
    • 16g
    • 31g
    • 370


  • Tofu marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 medium/large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained well
  • Tahini spread:
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • Coconut-walnut crust:
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoon dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoon minced Italian parsley (or basil, dill, cilantro or another herb)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin or chili powder, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. To marinate the tofu, place 2 tablespoons of tamari, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water and the garlic in a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish and stir well. Slice the tofu lengthwise to form 4 cutlets. Slice each cutlet in half diagonally to make 8 triangles. Place the cutlets in the casserole dish to marinate for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally.

  3. Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake the cutlets in the marinade for 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce: in a small bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of tamari and mix well. Depending upon the consistency of the tahini, you may need to add some more water for a smooth consistency. Set aside.

  5. To make the crust: in another small bowl, combine the walnuts, coconut, parsley, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt and stir well.

  6. Remove the tofu from the oven. Spread a thin layer of tahini sauce on each cutlet and top with the walnut crust. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown, before serving.

* Place walnuts and dried coconut on separate baking sheets and bake at 375°F until golden-brown. The walnuts will take about 8 minutes, the coconut about 3 minutes. Check frequently to make sure they don’t burn.

  • Variation 1

    Walnut-Crusted Tempeh Cutlets: Follow the basic recipe, substituting tempeh for the tofu. Tempeh is a fermented soy product available in either the refrigerated or frozen section of all natural food stores and many larger supermarkets.

  • Variation 2

    Walnut-Crusted Portobello Mushrooms: Follow the basic recipe, using four portobello mushrooms—remove the stems—in place of the tofu.

  • Variation 3

    Tahini-Lemon Salad Dressing: Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and two teaspoons of miso paste to the tahini spread. Add water to desired consistency and more tamari, if necessary.