This 30-minute Vegan Tofu Piccata is made with seasoned & pan-fried tofu and a creamy lemon caper sauce for the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. Serve over a bed of pasta for the perfect elevated tofu recipe that is secretly easy to make!
I'll be real with you, even though I've been a vegetarian for 11 years now, every once in a while I miss going out to eat and enjoying a good chicken piccata.
That's why I knew I had to create a "vegan" chicken piccata recipe that is just as delicious as the original, yet dairy-free & eggless!
- Capers: Really make this a true vegan piccata sauce! There is no substitute for them so you need them for the right flavor.
- Lemon Juice & Zest: Must be fresh!
- Nutritional yeast: Really adds a nice flavor to the pan-fried tofu. However, if you don't like it, just omit it from the flour mixture and replace with 1 Tablespoon of additional flour.
- Flour: For this recipe, I used all-purpose flour to give the tofu a crispy exterior. If you need to make this recipe gluten-free you can try substituting it with potato starch or a gluten-free flour mix, though it will be a slightly different texture.
- Vegan butter: Can be substituted for any neutral oil for frying, but it really does give this dish the best flavor.
- Vegetable broth: My new favorite broth is made by mixing vegetable bouillon paste with water vs. buying a store-bought broth. So much more affordable too!
How to make tofu piccata
Prep the tofu & veggies
Cut the tofu into 6 cutlets and press between paper towels for about 5 minutes to remove excess moisture. This will help the tofu get crispy on the outside, yet still remain soft in the center!
While the tofu is being pressed, dice the shallots and mince the garlic. Set aside for later.
Make the flour mixture & dredge the tofu
Add the flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, & lemon zest to a bowl and whisk together. Then, dunk each tofu cutlet in the mixture.
Let the tofu sit for 2-3 minutes while you melt the butter, then dredge again right before frying for the crispiest lemon tofu!
Pan-fry the lemon tofu
Melt the vegan butter in a pan. Once sizzling, add the tofu cutlets to the pan in a single layer along with the lemon slices. Pan fry on each side until golden brown.
Once crispy, remove the tofu from the pan and let rest on a plate while you make the piccata sauce.
Make the vegan lemon caper sauce
Immediately add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once melted, add in the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Then, add in the broth and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering add the capers and lemon juice to the pan. Cook everything together for an additional 2-3 minutes to thicken.
Turn off the heat and add the crispy tofu back to the pan. Warm the tofu in the vegan piccata sauce for an additional 1-2 minutes and spoon some of the sauce on top of each cutlet.
This will also help to thicken the lemon caper sauce.
P.S.- If you want a thicker sauce, whisk 1 Tablespoon of flour to the sauce before adding the tofu back. This is all going to depend on preference as I like my sauce a bit thinner so I can pour some of it over pasta!
Serve the vegetarian piccata
While this dish is honestly delicious on its own, the best way to serve it is over a bed of pasta with fresh herbs like parsley.
It also is wonderful served alongside roasted asparagus!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I add extra veggies to this dish?
Totally! As mentioned above, this vegan piccata pairs really nicely with my spicy broccolini recipe. However, it also pairs well with cooked asparagus, broccoli, or even with sauteed mushrooms added in.
If you're looking for another veggie-packed lemon pasta you should also check out my Vegan Lemon Butter Pasta with Charred Leeks & Peas next!
Can I make this vegan piccata gluten-free?
I haven't personally tried it, but to do this you'd need to substitute two things. One would be the flour coating on the tofu. Potato starch or cornstarch may work as a substitute.
For the pasta, you can easily substitute a gluten-free noodle!
How do I store tofu piccata?
Leftover lemon caper tofu can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
The sauce will thicken quite a bit in the fridge but will thin again once reheated.
Also, please keep in mind that the tofu will be crispy right after making it, but the breading will soften after sitting in the sauce and no longer be crispy. It still tastes great, but definitely changes the texture of the dish when enjoying this piccata the next day.
I don't recommend freezing this dish.
I can't wait for you to enjoy this 30-minute Vegan Tofu Piccata! With crispy lemon tofu and an addicting lemon caper sauce, it truly is the most comforting plant-based dinner recipe. Enjoy!
More vegan tofu recipes you will love:
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Vegan Tofu Piccata
Crispy Lemon Tofu
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu sliced & pressed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
Lemon Caper Sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 large shallot finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1.5 Tablespoons capers
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour *optional, whisk in only if you want a thicker sauce
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley optional, as garnish
- 6 slices lemon optional, as garnish
- Cut the tofu into 6 cutlets and press between paper towels for about 5 minutes to remove excess moisture. While the tofu is being pressed, dice the shallots and mince the garlic. Set aside for later.
- Mix together the flour, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl to make the flour coating. Then, dunk each tofu cutlet into the bowl, dredging them in the flour mix until they are coated on both sides. Set aside on a plate.
- Melt 2 Tablespoons of vegan butter in a pan. Once the butter is warm and sizzling, dredge the tofu cutlets in the flour seasoning once more and then add to the pan.
- Pan-fry the tofu for 3-5 minutes on each side until crispy and golden. Once crispy, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of vegan butter to the pan. Once melted, add in the finely chopped shallots and minced garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the vegetable broth to the pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add in the lemon juice and capers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to thicken. Season with salt & pepper to your liking at this point. (If you desire a thicker sauce, whisk 1 Tablespoon of extra flour into the sauce. I only recommend this if you are not serving the tofu over pasta).
- Turn off the heat and add the crispy tofu back to the pan, cooking in the warm sauce for another 1-2 minutes. I like to use a ladle to pour some of the sauce from the pan on top of the tofu cutlets at this time.
- Remove the tofu from the pan, pour any remaining sauce on top of the cutlets, and top with fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!
- If you desire a thicker sauce, whisk 1 Tablespoon of extra flour into the sauce before adding the tofu back to the pan. I only recommend this if you are not serving the tofu over pasta as it makes the sauce much thicker.
- The tofu piccata is best enjoyed right after making it, as the tofu will lose its crispiness after sitting in the sauce. However, it can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 2-3 days and enjoyed warm.
- this piccata is great enjoyed over pasta or alongside vegetables for a full meal.