Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu

[A great way to serve tofu that works as a main or side dish. These Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu cubes are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]

Crispy Salt and pepper tofu ready to eat

In the introduction to her new cookbook, The Essential Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook, Tess Challis calls the air fryer “your new best friend.” Having just recently begun to use air fryer technology in my own cooking, I have to agree!

One of the major benefits I’ve seen over the years as I’ve followed a candida diet is the ever-expanding universe of foods and cuisines I can eat. When I first started with this diet in 1999, there was no such thing as an air fryer, let alone a host of other ingredients that are now commonplace (sugar-free sweeteners such as monk fruit and xylitol come to mind, but there are so many others, too, like sugar-free chocolate and keto breads, along with dozens of others).

Along with finding all kinds of new foods to eat on my diet, I’ve also experimented over the years with different preparation methods to enhance and intensify flavors so that even “candida diet friendly” foods can be every bit as delicious and enticing as “regular” food. (We talk about this topic a lot in the free Facebook group, Food Restrictions Made Easy).

If you’ve been looking for new ways to enjoy your own restricted diet, whatever it may be but haven’t taken the plunge with an air fryer yet (or if you already have one of these babies and are looking for new recipes), Tess’s book is a great resource.


In her opening to the book, Tess covers all the basics, such as why you’d want an air fryer in the first place, the advantages of this machine, how to choose a perfect air fryer for you,  how to use it to best advantage, top tips for best practices, a handy FAQ section, and an entire section on pantry staples for the vegan kitchen.

Armed with everything you need to know about this machine, it’s time to move on to the recipes! You’ll be surprised and delighted by all the different types of foods you can make in your air fryer.

I should note, however, that Tess does not follow an anti-candida diet, so some of the sweeteners are not ACD-friendly and she also uses regular wheat flour on occasion (though many of the recipes in the book are gluten-free).

In most cases, you can replace the dry sweetener with a sugar-free option like Lakanto or xylitol, and syrups with the sugar-free equivalent like Lakanto maple syrup or coconut nectar for later stages of the diet. You can also substitute any wheat all-purpose flour with my own all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, measuring one-for-one.

plate of vegan candida diet-friendly crispy salt and pepper touf

Some of the recipes that called to me the most were the Blueberry Breakfast Cobbler, Delish Donut Holes, Smart and Savory Breakfast Cakes, Hearty Breakfast Burrito, Tamari Roasted Eggplant, Air Fried Green Tomatoes, Crunchy Onion Rings, Cheesy French Fries with Shallots, Gluten-Free “Samosas” with Cilantro Chutney, Air-Fried Spring Rolls, Eggplant Parmagiana, Lemony Lentils with “Fried” Onions, Mexican Stuffed Potatoes, Asian Buffet Bowl with Crisp Tofu, Panang Curry Bowl, Everyday Power Noodles, Cinnamon Crisps, Cozy Apple Crisp, Raspberry Lemon Streusel Cake, and Cheesy Sauce (which has two parts, dry and wet–and you can make the dry ahead of time for an almost “instant” cheese sauce!).

Okay, so it looks like I’d love to try a lot of the recipes in the book.!

I finally decided upon the Crispy Salt and Pepper Tofu, mostly because I’ve heard of this dish before but had never actually tasted it. This version was quick, easy, and oh-so-tasty! And you’d never know that these crispy morsels weren’t actually deep-friend.

Tess and her publisher have agreed to let me share the recipe here. I hope you enjoy it!

You can also find Tess on Facebook and instagram. 

Candida diet friendly Crispy Salt and pepper tofu recipe

Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

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  1. Frederique says

    YUM! For those of us who don’t own an air fryer, I have successfully gotten tofu cubes to be crispy in a 425F degree oven, by tossing the tofu in olive oil and spices, placing on parchment paper and turning it every 10 mins or so onto a different side. This might work with this recipe! They have to be nice and separate, as if they are stuck together they won’t crisp up! It’s time consuming, but when you want that fried crunch tofu for Pad Thai or the like, it’s pretty darn efficient! I might look into the air fryer though! 😉

    • That sounds like a great option if you don’t have an air fryer, Frederique. I’ve also used a basic cast iron frypan or nonstick frypan, and done the same thing with tongs (ie, turned them over one by one). Again, time consuming, but it works! 🙂

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