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Nashville hot tofu

Warning: This isn’t just hot. It’s Nashville hot!

Nashville hot chicken, a local specialty of Nashville, Tennessee, is fried chicken that's basted in a distinctive hot sauce. This version of the scorching dish uses sautéed tofu instead of fried chicken to create a lighter and healthier meal that still brings on all the famous heat and flavor.


1 14-ounce block of firm or extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy vegan butter

For the sandwich:
Toasted sesame seed bun
Lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, etc.


  1. Put the butter, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until combined. The mixture will not be perfectly smooth. Set aside.
  2. Drain the tofu and cut into eight even “steaks,” approximately 3.5” x 2” x .5” each. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels.
  3. Put the oil in a non-stick skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the tofu steaks spaced apart in one even layer.
  4. Place the pan on a burner set to medium-high heat. Cook steaks for five to six minutes until nicely browned on the bottom.
  5. Lift the pan from the heat. Flip the tofu with a spatula and return the pan to the heat for an additional five to six minutes until nicely browned.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the tofu on both sides with the hot sauce.
  7. Serve the tofu (about two steaks per person) on toasted sesame-seed buns with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, barbecue sauce and mayo or your special sauce of choice. Be sure to have plenty of cool drinks on hand!