Vegan Cordon Bleu is crispy on the outside, chewy, and loaded with gooey vegan cheese and smoky vegan ham on the inside. This easy tofu recipe is satisfying, incredibly delicious, and fancy enough to serve guests yet easy enough to make any night.
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Hey Internet, I’m always doing weird things with tofu. Turning it into cheese or eggs or meat, using it as a condiment, frying it into puffs or breading it and coating it in sauce… I have all kinds of tofu recipes at this point.
But yeah, what I love about this recipe (besides everything) is that the tofu is perfectly crispy on the outside, but then it’s stuffed with all this gooey melted vegan cheese and smoky vegan ham for an absolutely amazing culinary experience.
Is this a complicated recipe, then? No! It’s actually quite simple!
If you’ve been wondering how to make cordon bleu vegan, here’s what I came up with: We’re just going to cut a pocket into a piece of tofu, stuff it with vegan deli meat and vegan cheese (we used gouda! But any will work), dip it in a batter and then dredge it in panko, and then bake it!
This stuffed tofu is surprisingly easy to make, and it’s a fantastic, protein-packed meatless main for any occasion.
You’re going to love this tofu cordon bleu! It’s great with some roasted veggies (might as well since the oven will already be on!), pasta, or whatever else you want to serve it with.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Cordon Bleu
- Perfect for Any Occasion: Make these stuffed tofu pockets for date night, as a meatless main for a holiday dinner (check out my other holiday recipes, or any night! This recipe is easy, fun, and incredibly delicious.
- Fun for Kids to Help and Eat: Kids will love helping stuff the tofu, though you may want to save this project for kids who are a little older and can be gentle with the fragile tofu. An adult should help with the tofu cutting and baking. All kids can get involved in dipping the stuffed tofu in the batter and dredging it in panko though! Kids will also love this cheesy and “meaty” dish (and you’ll love how much protein you’re getting into them!).
- Simple Ingredients: Vegan Cordon Bleu itself uses less than 10 simple ingredients. You can make the vegan Dijon cream sauce or skip it (we really love it and think it elevates the flavor even more!) but either way this is not a complicated recipe.
- The Leftovers Taste Great: The leftovers of tofu cordon bleu heat up really well as long as you can crisp the tofu back up, which is why I do not recommend microwaving it. Crisp your cordon bleu back up in the oven, air fryer, or toaster oven and it will be delicious.
For the Vegan Cordon Bleu
- 16-ounce Block Super Firm Tofu: For this recipe, the best tofu is the kind that is sold in vacuum-sealed plastic, not a tub of water. I can usually find it in my local supermarket, Trader Joe’s, Asian market, and even Costco.
- 2–4 Slices Vegan Ham: Use vegan sandwich slices that you like the taste of! I’ve tried this with Lightlife, Yves, and Tofurkey brands with great results.
- 1–3 Slices Vegan Swiss, Gouda or Provolone: Technically any vegan sliced cheese will work (I think even shreds can work)! Traditional cordon bleu is made with swiss cheese, and we tried this vegan cordon bleu with vegan swiss and it was good, but then we tried it with vegan gouda and WOW! The flavor!
- 1 cup Unsweetened Unflavored Non-Dairy Milk: We used soy but any will work.
- ½ Cup All Purpose Flour: For the batter (substitutions below).
- 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast: This adds good flavor to the batter.
- 1 Teaspoon Salt and ½ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Or to Taste)
- ¼ Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning: This is a herb blend typically added to chicken.
- 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs: This is to make our stuffed tofu pockets extra crispy.
For the Vegan Dijon Cream Sauce
- ½ Cup Soaked Raw Cashews: The base of the cream sauce.
- ¾ Cup Filtered Water: If you like your tap water, go ahead and use that.
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast: This is for a savory flavor.
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard: This is for a mild and slightly sweet mustard flavor.
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Super Firm Tofu: If you can only find the type of tofu that is labeled extra firm or firm and comes packed in a tub of water, you’ll need to press the tofu to get the excess water out. Drain the tub and press the block of tofu, using either a tofu press or two plates or cutting boards, paper towels, and a heavy weight (like books or a cast iron pan) for 20-30 minutes. Otherwise it may turn out soggy. There’s a chance that once you’ve pressed the tofu, it will be too thin to get two pieces of vegan cordon bleu out. In my opinion, the tofu needs to be at least an inch thick to be able to make a pocket and stuff it without the tofu bursting. If you need to buy tofu in water, buy two to ensure you’ll be able to get two servings.
- Vegan Ham: Any vegan deli meat will work instead, but we think that vegan ham tastes best. Can’t find any vegan deli meat in your area? You could make my vegan ham, vegan salami, or vegan pepperoni and slice it super thin (when cold) to stuff in the tofu pockets.
- Vegan Cheese: Any sliced vegan cheese (or even shreds) should work here. Swiss is traditional, but we really loved the vegan gouda in this vegan cordon bleu.
- Non-Dairy Milk: Any unsweetened unflavored non-dairy milk will work, just make sure you get the “original” or unflavored kind. I don’t think vanilla tofu cordon bleu would be tasty!
- All Purpose Flour: Use gluten-free flour (a blend) to make this recipe gluten-free (along with making sure the other ingredients are certified gluten-free). Another good option is garbanzo bean flour (besan), which is a high protein option!
- Nutritional Yeast: This adds great savory flavor to both the tofu coating and the sauce; it does not make it taste cheesy nor is it the dominating flavor. To replace this, you could substitute a teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder.
- Poultry Seasoning: If you don’t have this, you could add a pinch of Italian seasoning or other dried herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, or basil. Or leave it out.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs if needed. A less crispy but still decent alternative is regular breadcrumbs.
- Raw Cashews: Raw sunflower seeds or even canned white beans (drained and rinsed) are good options if someone is allergic to cashews. If there’s no allergy, I highly recommend sticking with the cashews as we thought the flavor was best that way.
- Dijon mustard: I don’t really recommend using a different mustard, I think it would be too sharp. If you have to, try just a teaspoon of a different mustard, and add a little maple syrup or agave (like a half teaspoon or more to taste) to mimic that flavor.
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How to Make Vegan Cordon Bleu
Preheat the Oven and Prep the Tofu
- Preheat the Oven: I recommend preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) and lining a baking tray with parchment paper before beginning.
- Remove Packaging: Prep your super firm tofu by removing the packaging and blotting gently with a paper towel.
- Cut the Tofu: Slice the tofu In half, so your two pieces measure the same as the whole block of tofu, but it’s half the thickness (see photo for clarification). You basically want to split the block in two but have similar sized blocks, about an inch thick each.
- Couldn’t Find Super Firm Tofu? If you did not buy super firm tofu (the kind that comes vacuum sealed), drain out all the water and press the block of tofu in either a tofu press or between two plates/cutting boards with a heavy weight on them for 20-30 minutes. Waterlogged tofu will not get very crispy. Keep in mind that pressed tofu is thinner, so if your pressed tofu is less than 2” in thickness, I would not cut it to get two pieces. You’ll need a second pressed block tofu to get the other serving.
- Make the Tofu Pockets: Use a sharp paring knife to make an incision running on the long end of the side of the first tofu block. Leave about ½” of clearance on either end so the pocket does not split. Try to go most of the way to the other end, leaving about an inch uncut at the bottom. Now slightly widen the pocket by using the knife to carve a larger slit (refer to photos and video in this post for technique). I like to make several thin cuts with the knife and then use a toothpick to dig out all the little pieces of tofu. The deeper and wider your tofu pocket, the more vegan ham and cheese you can stuff in there.
- Stuff the Tofu Pockets: How much stuffing you’re able to fit depends on the size of the pocket you made into the tofu. Cut two slices of cheese into a rectangle that measures slightly smaller than the length and depth of the pocket. This takes a little trial and error. Repeat with 1-2 slices of vegan ham. Sandwich the vegan ham between the two slices and gently stuff them into the crevice. If they do not fit, trim a little extra off. Now, depending on how big the pocket is, you can stuff some of the scraps of cheese and ham in the remaining space in the pocket. I stuffed mine pretty full, but that’s after several rounds of testing and gaining confidence. The trick is not to break your tofu. Gently stuff small pieces in there until you are satisfied. Repeat with the other piece of tofu.
Coat and Bake the Tofu
- Mix the Batter: In a large measuring cup (I like the spout and handle for this!) or a small bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning until you have a thick but pourable batter. The thick batter helps grab onto the panko crumbs.
- Set Up Your Station: Place two wide and shallow bowls or containers next to each other on your work surface. Pour the batter into one (use a spatula to scrape out as much as you can), and add the panko breadcrumbs to the other one. It can be helpful to have two people during this process—one to do the battering and one to do the dredging. Place the parchment paper lined baking tray nearby. But you can do it yourself and wash your hands in between if needed. It also helps to have some paper towels or a wet kitchen towel nearby.
- Coat the Tofu: Place the tofu into the batter first and flip it, making sure all sides are coated. Let the excess batter drip off and place it in the breadcrumbs. With a clean and dry hand (so either wash your hands or ask someone to help), coat the wet tofu completely with breadcrumbs, making sure all edges and sides are completely covered. If any bit of the plain tofu shows through, you can add a little more batter and then some breadcrumbs to that area. Place the coated and dredged tofu onto the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining piece of tofu.
- Bake: Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Use an oven mitt to remove the tray and place it on a heat-safe surface. Use a metal spatula to carefully flip each piece of tofu. Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes until golden brown.
- Make the Dijon Cream Sauce: While the vegan cordon bleu is baking, add all the sauce ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. If it's too thin, add a few more cashews or a little more nutritional yeast. If it's too thick, add a splash of water (like a tablespoon). Taste and make any other adjustments to your tastes if needed.
- Serve: Place the tofu cordon bleu on a plate and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately after those few minutes!
- Super Firm Tofu is Key: Super firm tofu, (vacuum sealed in plastic) think brands like Nasoya, Wildwood, or Trader Joe’s, is really important for this recipe. If you can only find firm or extra firm tofu that comes packed in a tub of water, buy two and press them, either using a tofu press or two plates/cutting boards and heavy weights (like a kettlebell, a heavy pan, heavy books, etc.) for about 30 minutes. Dry off the tofu.
- Make Sure Your Tofu is Thick Enough: Your tofu blocks should be about an inch thick before you cut the pockets. If your tofu block is 2”, and you make just one big tofu cordon bleu, that’s fine but it will take longer to bake thoroughly.
- Intimidated by Cutting the Pocket? My hubby tested a version of the recipe where he just cut the tofu into several slabs and stacked the vegan ham and cheese between them (think sandwich, not stuffed tofu pocket). The cheese still got melty and the tofu still got crispy, so that’s definitely an option. We decided to do the pocket for this recipe because it was more of a real vegan cordon bleu, explosion in your mouth kind of situation.
- Cheese Inside Not Melted? Every brand we tried was able to melt at the high temperature of 425 F / 220 C for the duration of 40-50 minutes, but you could definitely turn on the broiler near the end and that should do it. Just make sure to check on it so the coating doesn’t burn.
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This vegan cordon bleu makes a fantastic plant-based protein packed main dish! Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve tofu cordon bleu:
With a Light Side
- Vegan Italian Salad
- Vegan Creamed Kale
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Vegan Bang Bang Cauliflower
- Creamy Vegan Avocado Salad
- Roasted Apple Brussels Sprouts
- Vegan Aglio e Olio
- Vegan Chickpea Florentine Pasta
- Lemon Garlic Tahini Pasta with Broccolini
- Vegan Sun-dried Tomato Pasta
- Vegan Cacio e Pepe
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta
- Refrigerator: Let the vegan cordon bleu cool and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: I do not recommend microwaving leftover tofu cordon bleu because the crust will be soggy, not crispy. For a nice crispy crust, reheat your stuffed tofu pockets on a lined baking tray in the oven, in an air fryer, or in a toaster oven until hot and crispy again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Technically, yes, you can! I’ve seen tofu in the store made from pumpkin seeds, fava beans, and chickpeas. And all over the internet folks seem to be making it out of red lentils and other things. I haven’t tried any of these, so I don’t know how it will change the bake time or how easy/hard it will be to create the pocket in the tofu, but I say give it a try! Your other option is to make seitan chicken, and while you’re forming each piece you can stuff some vegan ham and vegan cheese inside, close it up, and coat it and bake it the same way I have in this recipe. But I don’t know how long you’d have to cook it since I haven’t tried it.
Yes, if you can find vegan ham (or other vegan deli slices) and vegan cheese to stuff in the tofu pockets, absolutely! Just make sure to use gluten-free flour (or garbanzo bean flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in the recipe. And if you have a gluten allergy, make sure everything is certified gluten-free.
Well, there’s actually technically no oil added during the cooking process, however most vegan cheese and vegan deli slices contain added oil. You could definitely use my homemade vegan ham, vegan pepperoni, or vegan salami for the “meat” and any of my homemade vegan cheeses for the “cheese” if you’re really dedicated!
- Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Tofu Pockets: Use jarred or canned artichoke hearts (I would blot dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel) and thawed frozen spinach (squeeze the excess water out). You’ll want to season this too with salt, pepper, and maybe some granulated onion and garlic! Stuff into the tofu pockets and proceed with the rest of the recipe (batter and dredge in panko breadcrumbs, etc.)
- Taco Spiced Stuffed Tofu: Cook up some beans, chopped peppers and onions, and add a little salsa into the mix plus taco seasoning of course. Stuff that all into your tofu pocket!
- Spicy Stuffed Tofu: You can make anything spicy with sriracha, cayenne, chipotle, or whatever else you like. Try adding extra heat to my vegan chorizo and cramming that in the tofu pocket! Proceed with coating and baking the tofu and give it a try!
More Great Tofu Recipes!
I mean, if you love tofu as much as I do, I have a whole compilation of tofu recipes! But here are some of my favorites:
- Crispy Tofu
- Vegan Honey Garlic Tofu
- Panko Tofu
- Tofu Puffs
- Sticky Tofu
- Salt and Pepper Tofu
- Vegan Schnitzel Tofu
- Bang Bang Tofu
- Tofu Poke Bowl
- Tofu Adobo