Tofu Pancakes, Four Ways

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

These super, unusual, savory (and obviously vegan) pancakes take advantage of tofu’s chameleonlike qualities. See the variations for just a few of the flavor combinations you can use.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 ½ pounds firm tofu, patted dry

  • 1/3 cup soy milk or water

  • 3 tablespoons tahini or any nut butter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose, rice, or whole wheat flour

  • Salt or soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, or chives; optional)

  • 2-3 tablespoons sesame or good-quality vegetable oil


1. Put the tofu, soy milk, and tahini in a food processor and purée until smooth.

2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with the flour, some salt or soy sauce, and the herbs if you’re using them; stir well to combine. The consistency should be like a thick batter; add more liquid or flour to adjust it if necessary. (You can make the batter in advance up to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to a day. You might have to thin it with a bit of soy milk or water before using.)

3. Heat the oil in large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, spoon the batter into the pan in whatever size cakes you like, but leave enough room to flip them. Cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms turn golden and release easily from the pan, about 4 minutes. Flip carefully and cook until the other side is golden and cooked through, another 3 minutes or so. Serve.

Ginger-Scallion Tofu Pancakes

Lovely with Basil Dipping Sauce, or any soy-based sauce: Add 2 tablespoons chopped scallions and 1 tablespoon each minced garlic and fresh ginger. Use rice flour, season with soy sauce, and cook in sesame oil.

Tofu Pancakes, Thai Style

I like these best served with peanut sauce: Substitute peanut butter for the tahini. Add 1 tablespoon each minced garlic, fresh ginger, and lemongrass and 1 or 2 Thai chiles, seeded and thinly sliced. Use cilantro for the herb and cook the pancakes in vegetable oil.

Tofu Pancakes, Indian Style

Perfect with chutney: Substitute 2 tablespoons chaat masala for the tahini and add 1 tablespoon each minced garlic and fresh ginger. Use cilantro for the herb.

Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart)