Buffalo Tofu Bites with Vegan Ranch

Almost every Friday this summer we went to our favorite local bar for happy hour with friends. With a 1/2 price appetizer special that couldn't be beat, we became addicted to their buffalo tofu bites. Addicted, like several times a week I could eat those bites (but can't necessarily go to happy hour whenever I want.)

We decided to try and create a version at home that would hopefully stack up to our bite size favorites - and I think we nailed it! These buffalo tofu bites are packed with buffalo flavor (but are not too hot) and not full-on deep-fried so they're a bit healthier than the alternative. We paired with them a super simple and delicious homemade vegan ranch. Seriously, I am going to keep this ranch stocked in our fridge from now on - it's so good. Ready to prepare for happy hour at home?!

Here's what you need!
For the Buffalo Tofu Bites:
- 1 16 oz. block extra firm tofu
- 1 cup buffalo sauce (more if necessary)
- 1.5 tbsp. corn starch
- Bowl of flour
- Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
- Vegetable oil

For the Vegan Ranch (Adapted from Food.com)
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (we used Vegenaise but we love Just Mayo)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/8 tsp. dill
- 2 tbsp. almond milk (more or less depending on your desired consistency)

Here's what you do to make the ranch!
- Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Chill in refrigerator in a resealable container. We used a mason jar.

Here's what you do to make the tofu bites!
- Press your tofu, removing as much liquid as possible. We wrap our tofu in paper towels and put something heavy on top of it. Change out the paper towels as many times as necessary.
- Preheat your oven to 350° and wipe your baking sheet with vegetable oil.
- Cut your pressed tofu into small, bite-size pieces. We had 30 pieces total.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. In another small bowl, combine buffalo sauce and corn starch.
- Roll a tofu piece in flour mixture, coating all sides. Then transfer to buffalo sauce mixture, coating all sides. Let the liquid drip off and carefully transfer to your oiled baking sheet. Save excess buffalo sauce and cornstarch mixture for later.
- Once all pieces are evenly coated, place in oven and bake about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and transfer to a large frying pan with about 1/8-1/4 inch hot oil. Pan sear/fry the tofu pieces on each side for about 2 minutes, to crisp the breading/sides.
- Remove tofu pieces from the pan and set on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra oil. Remove excess oil from pan and wipe clean with a paper towel.
- Return the tofu pieces to the pan on low heat, tossing with the excess buffalo sauce and corn starch mixture from earlier.

Use your ranch to top your tofu bites, or eat them plain. Either way, these little nuggets pack a super flavorful punch, and are surprisingly similar to our happy hour favorites! Considering that was the point, I'd call this recipe super successful. I hope you get to try these at your house too, they'll be a huge money saver - be sure to let us know if you do!

Sarah & Nick