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Greek Sandwich with Crispy Za’atar Tofu

greek sandwich with crispy tofu

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Tofu is controversial. I know. People think it’s tasteless and has a weird texture, and I totally get that. BUT, if you have only ever had bland, wet tofu in your life… you need to try this Crispy Za’atar Tofu. THIS tofu is bright and flavorful with a delicious crispy crust! And that’s because we marinate it in a garlic-lemon juice mixture which really infuses those yummy flavors throughout the tofu. And THENNN we roll that baby in a mixture of cornstarch and za’atar, which gives it even more flavor and helps it crisp up when you pan fry it. So now you have a crispy-on-the-ouside, lemony-on-the-inside delicious hunk-o-tofu. I really encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try!

marinated tofu for za'atar crusted tofu

Although the Crispy Za’atar Tofu is the star of the show, we have some very yummy supporting actors that make this a bomb-ass Greek sandwich. We start with a small focaccia loaf, cut lengthwise and widthwise to make two sandwiches. We slather our focaccia in kalamata mayo and top with roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and crunchy cucumbers. Salty! Tangy! Crispy! Crunchy! Fresh! This is SUCH a good sandwich!

SHE CRISPY!!!

Questions about Za’atar and Crispy Tofu, Answered

What is za’atar?

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that varies by country but often has sesame seeds, sumac, dried thyme, oregano, and marjoram.

Where can I find za’atar?

I found my bottle at Target! Whole Foods also stocks it. Specialty spice stores are bound to have it, or you can order it online. Or, make your own!

What else can I use za’atar on?

Anything! Avocados toast, scrambled eggs, greek salad, potatoes, chicken, fish, steak. Taste it on its own and see what you think it would be good on!

Why is my tofu sticking to the pan when I try to flip it?

A few issues could be at play here. The surface of your tofu could be too moist—did you pat it dry after the marinade and coat it sufficiently in the cornstarch/za’atar mixture? Or, maybe you aren’t using enough oil. OR, you’re trying to flip it too early. It might just need another minute or two.

Can I bake crispy tofu in the oven?

Yes, absolutely. See the Notes section below the recipe for instructions!

Can I make crispy tofu in the air fryer?

Yes! Making tofu in the air fryer is a great idea. Extra crisp! Check out the Notes section below for instructions.

Can I make this into a crispy tofu salad instead?

Fa sho! Just cube the tofu instead of leaving in big blocks, and I’d recommend a simple olive oil-red wine vinegar dressing. And lettuce instead of bread, duh.

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greek sandwich with crispy tofu

Greek Sandwich with Crispy Za’atar Tofu

  • Author: Megan B-L
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 1 hour+
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Description

Crispy Za’atar Tofu, kalamata mayo, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and crunchy cucumbers sandwiched between focaccia—YUM!

I don’t give exact measurements on the sandwich ingredients here—follow your heart and make the sandwich you want to eat!


Ingredients

Scale

Crispy Za’atar Tofu

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • several glugs of olive oil (less or equal to lemon juice)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • several cranks of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 5-finger pinch of salt

Sandwich Ingreeds:

  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
  • 7.5 oz store-bought focaccia (or ciabatta roll, or sourdough bread—up to you!), cut in half both ways to make 2 sandwiches
  • small artichoke hearts, canned or marinated, sliced
  • roasted red pepper (from a jar or make your own!), patted dry
  • block feta cheese (slices don’t fall out of the sandy like crumbles do)
  • snacking cucumbers or English cucumber, sliced thin

Instructions

Prepare the tofu.

  1. Drain liquid from tofu. Line a cutting board or plate with a few paper towels, add the tofu block, top with more paper towels, and put heavy stuff on top to press more liquid out. (Like another cutting board and then a heavy book.) Press for up to 30 minutes. Or, use a tofu press!
  2. Cut tofu block in half lengthwise so that you have two thinner squares.
  3. Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic and pour into a ziploc bag.
  4. Add tofu squares and suck extra air out before sealing so that tofu is completely submerged in liquid. Let tofu marinate for an hour in the fridge, or for best results, overnight.
  5. When tofu has sufficiently marinated, take it out of the ziploc and pat dry.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, za’atar, and 5-finger pinch of salt. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto a plate. Place one square of tofu onto the mixture and turn over until all surfaces are coated. You might have to use your fingers to rub it in and get it evenly coated. Repeat with other tofu square and second half of mixture.
  7. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high with several glugs of oil. Don’t be shy with the oil here. The tofu needs a pretty good amount so that it doesn’t stick. Once oil is hot, place tofu in the pan—not touching!—and sear for 3 minutes or so without moving it. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  8. Remove tofu from the pan and transfer to a paper towel lined rack while you make the rest of the sandwich.

Assemble the sandy. 

  1. First, make the kalamata mayo. Mix together mayo and kalamata olives and slather equally on each slice of bread.
  2. To the bottom slice, add a few roasted red peppers, then artichoke slices. Top with tofu, a few thin slices of feta cheese (Go easy on sliced feta. It’s salty!), and cucumber. Then add top bread slice.
  3. AND EATTTT!!!


Notes

  • How to bake tofu in the oven: Follow Tofu steps 1–6 above. Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place tofu blocks with plenty of room between on the sheet and spray with cooking spray (like pure avocado oil spray). Bake tofu for 15 minutes, then flip, spray other side with cooking spray, and bake for 15 more minutes or until tofu looks browned and crispy. 
  • How to bake tofu in the air fryer: Follow Tofu steps 1–6 above. Preheat air fryer to 400° and spray tofu on both sides with cooking spray (like pure avocado oil spray). Air fry for 6 minutes, then flip and air fry for 6 more minutes or until tofu looks browned and crispy. 
  • Make it vegan by using vegan mayo and omitting the feta. 

Keywords: greek, middle eastern, vegetarian, vegan

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