Tofu Katsu Sandwich (Vegan + No-Fry)

Tofu katsu sandwich is a high-protein and vitamin-packed sandwich that is vegan, flavorful, and a sight to behold. Look at that cross-section!

I am excited to share this tofu katsu sandwich that tastes fried (but isn’t), and is perfect for lunch, dinner, or a picnic. Katsu is a deep-fried, crispy chicken or pork cutlet from Japan that is typically eaten with rice, tonkatsu sauce, and cabbage. I wanted to make a tofu katsu so that vegetarians and vegans can eat it as well. I also wanted to bake it instead of fry it and found that sauteeing panko crumbs prior to baking is the key to ultimate crispiness. This trick worked so well, that I will certainly be utilizing this technique from now on. If you do enjoy meat, I will say that pressed firm tofu has a similar texture to fish, and marinating does add umami flavor, so this sandwich would  be satisfying for meat-eaters as well.

You can top your sandwich with anything, but I used simple ingredients such as avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce, mayo, and tonkatsu sauce. The flavor and color combination was great, and I got to pack lots of vegetables in to the sandwich. For picnic purposes, I wrapped the sandwich tightly in brown sandwich paper. If you are eating the sandwich at home, you can skip this step of course! However, the paper does bring the sandwich together and looks great for photos.

Tofu Katsu Sandwich (Vegan + No-Fry)

yield: 2 whole sandwiches, 4 halves


For tofu:

  • 1 c. panko
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 14-16 oz. extra firm tofu (pressed to release moisture)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp. tonkatsu sauce
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk + 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

For sandwich:

  • 1 small avocado (sliced)
  • 4 pieces romaine lettuce
  • 1 tomato on the vine (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo
  • Tonkatsu sauce (optional, to spread on sandwich)
  • 4 slices toasted bread (I used an Essential Grains Oat & Nut bread)


  1. Press tofu for about 20 min. until most of the moisture is released. Use a clean towel or paper towel after to remove any remaining moisture.
  2. Slice the tofu chunk in half on the long-way so that you have 2 fish-fillet shaped tofu chunks. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the tofu chunks.
  3. In a shallow dish, add the tonkatsu sauce and place the tofu chunks in to marinade for at least 7 min. Flip the tofu halfway so both sides are marinated.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 C.
  5. In the meantime, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the panko crumbs and vegetable oil, and saute occasionally until the panko crumbs become browned. This takes about 8 min.
  6. In a shallow dish, add the all purpose flour and set aside.
  7. In a another shallow dish, whisk together the almond milk and cornstarch to make a sticky slurry.
  8. Take the marinated tofu and coat it with all purpose flour. Next, dip the flour-coated tofu in the cornstarch slurry, and then the panko.
  9. Place both tofu chunks on a non stick baking tray and bake in the oven at 400 F for 20 min.
  10. Remove the tofu from the oven, and place on a cooling rack (if you have one) and allow to cool for 5 min.
  11. For sandwich assembly, take one slice of sandwich bread and add two slices of romaine lettuce. Then add the tofu cutlet, 1 tbsp vegan mayo, 2-3 slices of tomato, half of the avocado slices, and top with a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce. Place the other sandwich bread on top and wrap the sandwich tightly in brown sandwich paper or plastic wrap. Repeat this process for the other sandwich.
  12. Slice the sandwich in half and look at the beautiful cross section!

I hope you all give this sandwich a try some day and enjoy it just as much as I did! I once batch-prepped these sandwiches and took them on a hike. They are great for outdoor activities since they are so filling. I am certain they would go great with chips as well.

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