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Pre-Cooked Tofu Cutlet

No draining, pressing and waiting. This tofu is pre-cooked, deliciously firm, and perfect for quick meatless meals. Add to a salad, soup, wrap, curry, bowl, meal prep and more!

Look at the crispy crust on these tofu cutlet strips!

Welcome to a new series of content! I’m sharing ingredients which make it easy to cook plant-based, vegetarian family meals. Maybe you’re new to Meatless Monday or a long-time vegetarian who needs some tips. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, complicated or boring to skip the meat. This series shares some of my time-test favorite ingredients, methods and tips!

Pre-cooked tofu cutlets for fast vegetarian family meals

Pre-cooked Tofu Cutlets vs Uncooked Tofu in Water

The most common kind of tofu that’s found in American grocery stores is a small plastic tub with the tofu floating in water. This tofu is easy enough to use in meals, but it requires a few steps to prepare. Before seasoning and cooking with this kind of tofu, you must press out the excess water. If you’ve ever had soggy, wet-tasting tofu: it wasn’t pressed. I once had a restaurant server put a plate in front of me… with a pile of out-of-the-wet-pouch tofu sliced up. I stared in horror. That’s like a raw chicken on the plate (just without the salmonella).

  1. Cut open the container over the sink and drain the water.
  2. Wrap the tofu block in a smooth dishtowel, lay on a plate, then rest something heavy on top of the tofu. I use my cast iron skillet.
  3. After 15 minutes (or more), drain the plate and unwrap the tofu.
  4. Slice or cube as needed.
  5. Marinate or season.

Steps for using pre-cooked tofu cutlets:

  1. Open tofu package. (Yep, that’s it)
  2. Slice or cube as needed.
  3. Marinate or season.

Where to find pre-cooked tofu cutlets

My local Kroger-owned grocery store has a small refrigerated section with Asian foods located near the refrigerated tortellini and Mexican brands of queso fresco. It’s so small that the last time I bought these cutlets, the cashier asked where they were. I did hand motions like a veteran flight attendant pointing out the exit rows, describing how to get to them. Her eyebrows went up and she said, “You must really like these!” I’m pretty sure I turned red. But then I held up the package of matcha mochi that are tucked back there, too. “I like these, too!” I said and smiled.

Precooked tofu cutlet, slice into thin sticks

Opening a tofu cutlet

Unlike a plastic container of uncooked tofu which floats in water, this tofu cutlet comes in a shrink-wrapped kind of packaging. This tofu is already cooked and has a nicely cooked skin. It’s extra firm tofu and is ready-to-eat.

With any kitchen knife, you can cut it into cubes, long strips, sticks, hearts, or whatever shape you want for a recipe. You can cube it up, give it a couple shakes of soy sauce, and pop them in an Asian salad for work. They’re firm, chewy and fast.

Plain, cubed tofu cutlet is ready to go in a 15-minute wonton soup

Seasonings & Meal Ideas

If you tried tofu once, but have an “eww memory”… well… it’s likely that you didn’t have well-prepared tofu. Tofu is a blank slate. It has very little flavor of its own, and is just waiting for your seasonings. You can marinate pre-cooked tofu cutlet pieces in any marinade you might use for meat.

  • If you love Asian food, tofu tastes great in a quick marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, minced garlic and a little sriracha. This is perfect for adding to a stir fry.
  • If you’re hungry for herb flavors like chicken, marinate it in veggie broth. Then drizzle some olive oil on it, and roll it in dried garlic and an Italian-blend of herbs. This combo is great in the air-fryer or roasting in the oven.
  • If you’re making soup in your crockpot or Instant Pot, drop some in plain. It will soak up the flavors of your soup. I love them in wonton soup and in my weeknight pot pie’s potato-soup based filling.
  • If you’re making “take-in” tikka masala, cube up a tofu cutlet. Toss the cubes in a little oil, then roll them in ground curry or a Tandoori Masala blend of spices. Then drop them in the simmering sauce and veggies.
  • My daughter’s favorite: simply sliced into “fries“, drizzled with sesame oil (epic flavor from just a little oil!), and cooked in the air fryer. They are crispy and crunchy! I also wrap these up in my vegan tofu summer rolls.
Vegan Summer Rolls with Tofu and Veggies
Vegan Summer Rolls with Tofu and Veggies

Have you tried pre-cooked tofu cutlets before? What dish would you like to add them to?

I'm a tacotarian, a mom and pun-maker. Feeding people is my love language, and I'm passionate about helping people feel confident in being their own kind of vegan/vegetarian. I'm commonly found in the school pick-up lane, bulk buying tortilla chips and in front of the fireplace.

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