This vegan katsu curry recipe features breaded tofu cutlets doused in a Japanese curry sauce and served over rice. This is the ultimate in Asian comfort food and this vegan version will be a highlight of your plant-based kitchen.
I’m a big fan of this easy vegan katsu curry because it’s a flavorful dish that comes together in minutes. Some nights you just want comfort food at its finest and this one delivers!
Curry recipes were introduced in Japan over 100 years ago and the katsu curry evolved from that. Although the standard katsu curry contains meat, it’s very easy to create a vegan version.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding panko bread crumbs to pressed tofu makes a crispy cutlet, perfect for serving with vegan katsu sauce
- Using the right blend of curry powder makes the curry sauce, especially when combined with tender carrots and potatoes, taste amazing
- Serving over cooked rice makes this dish easy to make in a pinch and great for weeknight dishes
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
- Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
- Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
- Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
- Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
- Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
- Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
- Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
- Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
- Olive oil
- Carrots — You’ll need about 2 carrots cut into thin slices.
- Potatoes — I recommend using either russet or Yukon Gold potatoes because of their high-starch content that makes them cook more quickly and helps the sauce become thicker.
- Curry powder — I recommend McCormick’s curry because it has the best combination of ingredients. I prefer curry powder that has fenugreek in the ingredients.
- Soy sauce — If you prefer gluten-free, you can substitute tamari.
- Vegetable broth — I recommend using a high-quality vegetable broth and I oftentimes use Better than Bouillon vegetarian combined with water.
- Agave Nectar — You can substitute maple syrup.
- Tofu — You’ll need a block of extra-firm tofu, between 12 and 15 ounces in size. See below for substituting cauliflower or even chickpeas.
- Bread Crumbs — Panko bread crumbs are the best and they have them in regular or gluten-free. However, I’ve found the gluten-free bread crumbs don’t get the same golden color when fried, but they still taste great.
- Garlic powder
- Vegetable oil
- Cooked Rice — You can buy rice pre-cooked or make your own homemade brown rice.
- Garnish — I like to sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley or cilantro on top of individual servings, but this optional.
How to Make Vegan Katsu Curry
- Make the vegan katsu curry sauce by cooking onions, carrots, and cubed potatoes with oil in a saucepan. Cook until the onion is tender and the vegetables are starting to become tender.
- Stir in the curry, soy sauce, broth, and agave nectar and simmer (low boil) for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a fork or a spatula to mash a few of the potato cubes to make the sauce thicker.
- Cut pressed tofu into 5 to 6 rectangular strips.
- Stir together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt.
- Dip the tofu in the cooking katsu sauce. Then dip it in the bread crumbs, making sure all sides are covered.
- Use tongs to place the breaded tofu slices in the heated oil.
- Fry the tofu for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
To serve vegan katsu curry tofu, add cooked rice to a plate. Then place several fried tofu pieces beside and tilted slightly on the rice. Pour the hot katsu sauce over the top and on the side. Garnish with each serving with chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or chopped green onions.
Store this katsu tofu recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish is not recommended for freezing.
Plant-Based Protein Options
Looking for alternatives to tofu? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Make cauliflower katsu curry by substituting breaded fried cauliflower florets for the tofu. Use this buffalo cauliflower wings recipe as a guide and these tips on how to cut cauliflower florets.
- Vegan Chicken Cutlets — Make this by breading and frying vegan chicken fillets.
- Chickpeas — Add air fryer chickpeas in place of the tofu cutlets to make a simple, healthy dish.
- Non-Breaded Tofu — Use air-fried tofu to keep this dish gluten-free and lower in carbs. Be sure to use tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) in the curry.
More Vegan Asian Dishes
That’s it for this vegan katsu curry. Enjoy!
Vegan Katsu Curry
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup cubed potatoes (½-inch cubes) (Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (McCormick's curry is best)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or maple syrup)
Breaded Fried Tofu
- 14 ounce extra-firm tofu
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley (or cilantro)
For the Katsu Sauce
- Heat the oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and the vegetables are starting to become tender.
- Stir in the curry, soy sauce, broth, and agave. Simmer (low boil) for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should thicken as it cooks. You can also use a fork or a spatula to press a few of the tender potato cubes to make the sauce thicker.
For the Breaded Fried Tofu
- While the sauce is cooking, cut the pressed tofu into 5 to 6 rectangular strips.
- In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt.
- Use tongs to dip the tofu in the cooking katsu sauce. Then dip it in the bread crumbs, making sure all sides are covered.
- Add 4 tablespoons of oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, use tongs to place the breaded tofu slices in the oil. Fry the tofu for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Use tongs to turn the slices to cook on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Add some cooked rice to a plate. Place several fried tofu pieces beside and tilted slightly on the rice. Pour the hot katsu sauce over the top and on the side. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish is not recommended for freezing.
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- Manual Method — Wrap the tofu block in paper towels or a kitchen towel and place it on a plate. Place something heavy over the top, such as a pan. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Tofu Press — Place the tofu in the tofu press and follow the instructions to press the extra moisture out.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2020 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.