Crunchy, healthy and easy-to-make, this Air Fryer Crispy Tofu Salad is the way to elevate your lunch routine. This dish is packed with flavor, texture, and nutrition, making it the perfect meal or side dish for any occasion.
This crispy tofu salad is sure to satisfy your taste buds leaving you feel full and satisfied.
What is an air fryer?
It is an electronic counter top appliance that has a basket which can be attached or detached with the main machine. It basically circulates the hot air rapidly throughout its interior. In this process it also strains excess oil if any from the food which gets drained via its perforated tray or basket. You can enjoy all your favorite fried food in a healthier way by cooking in an air fryer.
Hence, I decided to make crispy tofu for salad in my air fryer.
It was an instant hit with my friends and family and I make this recipe frequently.
I love the idea of air fryer and often enjoy crispy zucchini fries.
My kids love broccoli cooked in an air fryer. I also enjoy making desserts in an air fryer and healthy apple dumplings is our favorite.
Health benefits of tofu
Tofu is made from soya beans and its high in protein making it perfect for vegan diet. It has all the essential amino acids along with magnesium, calcium, and iron. Overall, its low in calories and high in nutrition. Tofu is basically bland in taste and so it easily adapts to any flavors. It can be used in sweet and savory recipes which makes it super versatile.
For Indian flavors, I love to make tofu tikka masala which is healthy and so comforting.
My sticky sesame tofu is super quick and easy to make and plus its healthy.
Why you will love this salad
Healthy and nutritious
Easy and family friendly
Vegan and gluten free
Tofu – I used extra firm tofu which I pressed for a while so it becomes firm. You may use high protein tofu for this salad recipe. Make sure to that your tofu is super firm which will help crisping better.
Veggies – the combination of veggies I used in this salad worked really well here.
Extra virgin olive oil – I used it for the base of the dressing. You may use sesame oil or avocado oil too for the salad dressing.
Sesame seeds – white sesame seeds work best here but roasted white sesame seeds can also be used in this recipe.
Thyme – I used dried thyme for convenience but fresh thyme also works great in this tofu salad dressing recipe.
Cornstarch – this plays an important role in crisping tofu so make to use it as explained in the recipe.
For detailed measurement of ingredients, please scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make
Marinate and cook
Firstly, in a large bowl, I whisked together soy sauce, ketchup and garlic powder.
Secondly, I tossed in chopped tofu gently into the bowl.
Next, I sprinkled cornstarch and coated each piece with it very well.
Thereafter, I placed tofu pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Then, I attached it to the main machine and turned it on at 350 degree for 25 minutes.
After, 10 minutes, I paused it and flipped all the pieces with the help of tongs. Then, I attached it again to the main air fryer and turned it on and let it air fry for 10 minutes. After that I paused it again and shook the basket. Then, I attached the basket to the main machine and cooked for another 5 minutes.
When done, I turned it off and detached the air fryer basket and kept it aside.
In a glass jar, I combined extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, sesame seeds, thyme and maple syrup. Then, I closed its lid and shook it vigorously and kept it aside.
In a large salad bowl, I combined lettuce, arugula, colored bell peppers, broccoli slaw, onions and carrots. Then, I roughly mixed them.
Next, I placed air fried tofu on the veggies.
Lastly, I drizzled the dressing and tossed them well.
This was the best tofu salad I had ever tasted and my family loved it also equally.
Hence, I often make this air fryer tofu salad and it’s great for picnics as well.
Storing and make-ahead tips
This tastes best when served immediately. However, you may make the dressing and refrigerate in the glass jar or glass bowl for about 2 weeks.
You may also chop all the veggies and refrigerate in an air tight glass bowl overnight.
However, I would recommend air frying crispy tofu when ready to serve for the best results.
You may also bake tofu for this salad. Preheat oven at 400-degree Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the marinated tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake it in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crispy. At 20 minutes take out the baking sheet and flip all the pieces with the help of tongs. Place it again in the middle rack of the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Check if its crispy or else bake for another 5-10 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. When done, take it out and place it on a flat counter to cool down a bit. Tofu will get crispier as it cools down a bit.
- While marinating you may be tempted to add all the ingredients together but make sure to toss cornstarch at the last for the most delicious crispy tofu.
- Always stir the dressing before drizzling over the salad so that all the flavors are mixed very well.
- While tossing tofu into the marinade make sure that the pieces do not break or crumble.
Make sure to use the right measurements for the marinade to achieve perfect crispy tofu for salad. If there is too much liquid the even after coating with cornstarch will not crisp them as expected.
I would recommend using breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs instead if desired.
Yes! Edamame, spinach, mini peppers, corns can also be used in this salad.
More vegan salad recipes
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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. I am very excited to hear back from you.
Did you make it?
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In addition, you may checkout my cookbook for everyday comfort vegan recipes.
Air Fryer Crispy Tofu Salad
- 1 cup shredded or thinly cut lettuce
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 1 cup broccoli slaw
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (length wise)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (length wise)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (length wise)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots (length wise about the size of baby carrot)
- In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, ketchup, garlic powder and whisk it smooth.
- Toss in tofu and gently coat each piece without breaking tofu.
- Sprinkle cornstarch and toss gently making sure the pieces do not break.
- Place marinated tofu into the air fryer basket in a single layer and attach it to the air fryer. Discard the extra liquid in the bowl if any. Turn it on at 350 degree for 25 minutes. At 10 minutes, pause and detach the basket. Flip each of the pieces with the help of tongs and attach the basket to the air fryer again. Turn it on and air fry for another 10 minutes. Pause and detach the basket again. Then shake the basket vigorously to make sure that the tofu pieces are not sticking to each other. Attach the basket again to the air fryer and turn it on for another 5 minutes. Once done, turn it off. Detach the air fryer basket and keep it aside.
- In a glass jar, combine all the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, thyme and maple syrup). Whisk it or close the lid of the jar and shake it well. Keep it aside.
- In a large salad bowl, combine all the salad veggies (lettuce, arugula, broccoli slaw, bell peppers, onion and carrots). Roughly toss with large spoons.
- Place air fried tofu pieces on the veggies. Shake or stir the dressing again and drizzle it over the salad. Toss with large spoons and serve immediately.
- This salad tastes best when served immediately. If kept for longer tofu softens and the veggies may lose its texture too.
- You may make the dressing and refrigerate the dressing in the glass bowl/glass jar for about 2 weeks. When ready whisk and drizzle over your salad.
- Make sure to press the tofu really well so that there is no excess moisture.
- To bake tofu: preheat oven at 400-degree Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the marinated tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake it in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crispy. At 20 minutes take out the baking sheet and flip all the tofu pieces with the help of tongs. Place it again in the middle rack of the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Check if its crispy or else bake for another 5-10 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. When done, take it out and place it on a flat counter to cool down a bit. Tofu will get crispier as it cools down a bit.