Schnitzel usually means tenderized meat coated in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The German version is often pork, while the Austrian wiener schnitzel has to be veal (it’s a rule). But this version of schnitzel would have even Julie Andrews singing its praises, thanks to the tender tofu that skips the fryer. Schnitzel can be served simply with noodles coated in (plant-based) butter with lemon wedges, but lingonberry sauce (reminiscent of cranberry sauce), tomato sauce, or mushroom gravy are also Oktoberfest regulars.
Your breadcrumbs should be a consistent size so they brown evenly in the relatively small amount of oil. If you use panko or your crumbs are all different sizes, you might need more oil. Check to make sure your breadcrumbs aren’t too salty (just taste them!) and if they are, skip the salt when you combine the spices with the breadcrumbs.
Slice tofu twice horizontally to create 3 pieces about 1/2 in (2 cm) thick, then cut each piece in half vertically to make 6 pieces. Different brands are different thicknesses, so slice it however is best to make pieces slightly smaller than a deck of cards.
Line baking tray with clean kitchen towels and place tofu pieces on top in a single layer. Top with more towels, followed by another baking sheet. Weight the baking sheet (with books or cans of beans) and let moisture drain for 15 minutes.
In shallow bowl, combine flour and water or beer. In second shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt.
Sprinkle drained tofu with remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, then dip each piece in flour mixture followed by spiced breadcrumbs. Place on paper towel-lined plate and pat extra bread crumb mixture gently on top in any bare areas.
In large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add half the tofu and cook 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, pressing down with flat spatula on top to ensure crumbs brown evenly. Return tofu to paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
Remove any loose breadcrumbs from skillet, then add remaining 1/2 Tbsp (7 mL) oil and cook remaining tofu.
Meanwhile, cook pasta as per package instructions.
Serve drained pasta topped with schnitzel and top with heated sauce of choice, if using. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
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