Traditionally made with pork skin, this vegan chicharron recipe is going to blow your mind! The main ingredient is a staple in every meatless kitchen. Go on read below to see how to make this delicious vegan chicharron to use in your tacos, quesadillas, burritos, gorditas, sopes and even tamales — yes tamales!!
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Some time back I shared my recipe for vegan chicharron in salsa verde. In that recipe I used store bought, actual meatless, chicharron that looks and feels like the traditional pork crackling…but better of course.
What helps it even more is that I prepared it in the traditional way with salsa verde. It’s truly delicious and it always tricks my mind into thinking it’s almost the real thing — of course without it being pork, which is way better.
Everytime I reshare that recipe on social media I get asked where you all can buy the chicharron.
So though it’s quite easy to buy here in Mexico, I’m realizing it’s not so easy to get in the US, unfortunately.
I’ve been wanting to give you all an alternative version so that you too can enjoy a delicious vegan chicharron at home. So, tadaa! Here is that recipe and it’s so easy to make, I’m quite confident you’re going to enjoy it.
Tofu, The Magic Ingredient
Did you read the headline? Yeap, tofu! Amigos, we can use this magical ingredient to make chicharron!
This idea is not mine. I actually first heard or saw it on Instagram. A sweet IG friend of mine named Alex Cardenas, Chocolateandavocados, posted a tofu chicharron taco on her stories. It blew my mind — she’s absolutely brilliant and incredibly talented, so go follow her account ASAP!
So after seeing Alex’s photo I knew I had to recreate it for you.
Her taco was a longer or large piece of tofu than the small cubes I’m using here. Honestly I did the cubes purely out of convenience. In my mind they would be easier and quicker to handle than the slices. You all know I’m all about making things easier in the kitchen.
How to Turn Tofu Into Chicharron
Ay amigos, the process is incredibly easy. You’re going to want to eat this quite often.
The first thing you’ll want to do is freeze the block of tofu. Freezing then defrosting and squeezing out all of the liquid, changes the texture of the tofu. It makes it like a bit spongier…I want to say.
This then allows the tofu to absorb all of the delicious seasonings even better. Then once cooked, specially if cooked to a crispy outer layer, helps give the tofu a much firmer and better texture.
How to Make Vegan Chicharron
As I mentioned above the first step is to freeze the tofu. You can either freeze it right in the container it came in, or drain and place in a separate freezer safe container.
Leave it in the freezer for at least 8 hours. Or you could do like I do and put it in the freezer overnight and use the next afternoon. The next day you thaw it out, drain all the excess liquid. Then put in a tofu press and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Then the tofu is cut into small cubes before being marinated. The marinate consists of soy sauce, Maggi sauce, oil, nutritional yeast, and liquid smoke to give it that “smokey” meat flavor. There’s also cornstarch to help all of these ingredients adhere better to the tofu.
After mixing all of marinate ingredients then the tofu cubes are tossed in to coat well, then it’s placed in the refrigerator to marinade for approximately 20 minutes.
While the tofu is marinating you can make the salsa. I used my salsa verde recipe.
After marinating then time to cook the tofu until crispy. I do this step either in a frying pan or in the air fryer — I prefer the air fryer because it makes the tofu extra crispy. But I haven’t included that recipe just to make it easier for anyone wanting to make this. Just make sure you cook until it’s crispy all over.
After the tofu chicharron is crispy you can pour in the salsa and simmer for 10 minutes. Then the best part, eat it as you’d like!
How to Use Tofu Vegan Chicharron
As you can see it’s incredibly easy to make this dish. Below are some delicious ways to serve your tofu chicharron.
Tacos are always a choice for me whenever I make dishes like this. The soft corn tortilla paired with the slightly crispy, soft and flavorful chicharron is amazing! The salsa is already there, so if you want all you do is top with some chopped cilantro and finely chopped onion. So delicious!!
This tofu chicharron is also excellent as a filling for quesadillas. All I do is take either a large flour tortilla or a corn tortilla, warm it up on a comal then add the cheese. I wait for it to melt then add a big scoop of the chicharron and fold it in half and allow the tortillas to get crispy on both sides.
If you use vegan cheese you can have a fully vegan meal.
Sopes & Gorditas
I love sopes and gorditas because you can top or stuff with pretty much anything you have in your fridge. I’ve made the gorditas stuffed with the tofu chicharron and the meal is excellent!
I mean come on a burrito filled with some refried beans, tofu chicharron, and rice is just a winning combination all around.
Ok, bet you never thought of this one, did you?
One of my aunts makes chicharron tamales and they’re amazing! If you’ve never tried it before you’re seriously missing out.
These past year when I was writing my meatless tamales cookbook (releasing in October 2021), I knew I had to include a them.
Vegan Tofu Chicharron Recipe
How to Make Vegan Chicharron
Vegan Chicharron Ingredients
Salsa Verde Ingredients
- 1 lb. tomatillos husk removed and rinsed
- 3 whole serranos stem removed and seeded if desired you can add less for a milder salsa
- 3 whole garlic cloves peeled
- 1 extra small white onion quartered
- 1 pinch fine sea salt adjust to taste
- 1 handful fresh cilantro you can include some of the stem too
- ½ cup water or the boiling broth
- 2½ Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- The night before, place the tofu blocks in the freezer. I just freeze the whole container they come in, but you can also drain and freeze as desired. The next day defrost and press the blocks for 25 minutes to get as much of the liquid off as possible.
- After pressing the tofu, cut into small cubes and set aside for a minute. In a large bowl combine the soy sauce, Maggi seasoning, 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast and the cornstarch. Mix until well combined and you have a smooth sauce. Taste it to see if it’s to your liking and adjust if desired. Toss the tofu cubes into the bowl, making sure they’re well coated. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes.
- While you marinate the tofu prepare the salsa verde. In a large pot put the tomatillos, chiles, garlic and onion. Add enough water to cover them and allow to simmer until everything is soft. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the pot and place in a blender. Add the sea salt, cilantro and ½ cup of the boiling broth. Blend until you have a perfectly smooth salsa. If needed add more boiling broth.
- In a large enough pan to fit all of the tofu cubes, heat the 2 ½ Tablespoons of oil. Once warm add the tofu cubes and saute until they’re as crispy as you can get them without burning. Try to get all of the sides cooked as best as possible. Once crispy add 2 cups of the salsa verde, mix and if you’d like a “saucier” chicharron you can add more salsa. Serve with refried beans, rice and tortillas, if desired.
Other Dishes For You to Cook
- Chicharron in Salsa Verde
- How to Make Tofu Puffs – Deep Fried TOFU (2 Methods) by Veganiac
- Oyster Mushroom in Salsa Roja & Potatoes
- Verdolagas | Purslane in Salsa Verde
- Instant Pot Menudo Made Vegan
- The Best Vegetarian Mexican Albondigas Soup Recipe
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…