the vegan double down

This is the vegan double down… and it’s fancy AF! No dirty birds around here.

vegan double down_hot for food

Believe it or not, these crispy double down patties are made with tofu and tossed in seasoned bread crumbs and chips! Yes, this was all inspired by a nearly empty bag of BBQ chips I had lying around, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they ended up in this RECIPE?! adventure!

The original double down is from KFC, and I also have a recipe that mocks popcorn chicken. Yup, it’s totally vegan too!

Being vegan doesn’t mean giving up tasty fast-food inspired dishes, and I’m here to prove it! You just need the right substitutes and the proper cooking techniques. Watch the video below to see the journey and keep scrolling for the (sort of) recipe.

best vegan double down sandwich
vegan double down recipe
vegan double down_hot for food
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe

the vegan double down

This is the vegan double down! These crispy patties are made with tofu and tossed in seasoned bread crumbs and chips, then smothered with nacho cheese. Yes, please! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword kale, nacho cheese, sandwich, steaks, tofu, tofu steaks
Prep Time 34 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Servings 3 sandwiches
Author Lauren Toyota



  • 2 C bread crumbs
  • 1 C crushed bbq chips (can use bread crumbs)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)

dry dredge

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

liquid dredge

  • 1 C full-fat coconut milk (water down if it’s too thick)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 C vegetable oil, for frying

sandwich fillings

  • 1 brick of medium-firm or firm tofu
  • 1/2 batch nacho cheese sauce
  • 2 C roughly chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 x 14 oz can navy beans
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 /2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (optional)
  • sliced pickled jalapeños, as garnish


  1. Cut the brick of tofu into 6 even steaks.
  2. Combine the coconut milk with apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, onion powder, and sea salt in a dish that you can lay the tofu steaks in to marinade while you prepare the other components.
  3. Pre-make the nacho cheese, or make it before you start to bread and fry the tofu steaks.
  4. Before battering the tofu, heat up a heavy bottom pan like an iron skillet with 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil to 365°F to 370°F.

  5. While the oil is heating up, combine the breading ingredients in a large bowl.
  6. In another bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch dredge.

  7. Take a tofu steak from the liquid dredge and place it in the flour. Toss to coat evenly, then go back into the liquid dredge and submerge and coat well with the mixture.
  8. Transfer the tofu steak to the bread crumb mixture and toss with your hands to coat all sides of the tofu steak. You can batter up all the tofu steaks before frying.

  9. When the oil is hot and ready, place 1 to 3 tofu steaks in the pan and fry for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and let the steaks sit on some paper towel. Fry all the steaks and then prepare the navy bean mash and kale. You can keep the fried tofu steaks in a low temperature oven to stay warm.

  10. Rinse and drain the navy beans from the liquid in the can.
  11. Heat a pan over medium, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and the white beans, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sage, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and ground black pepper. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes or so. Then add minced garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes until the garlic is softened, cooked through, and fragrant.

  12. Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor but keep your pan over low heat for the kale. Then add vegan butter (optional) to the beans and process until smooth. You can also mash them by hand.

  13. Sauté roughly chopped kale in the pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt until just wilted, but still bright green. Add white wine vinegar and toss the kale for another 30 seconds to a minute, then remove from the heat. The kale should be cooked with some color still in it and not brown and over done.

  14. To assemble, place some white bean mash on one of the tofu steaks, then add kale and drizzle with nacho cheese. Place another tofu steak on top and garnish with pickles or pickled jalapeños if desired. Serve immediately!

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12 thoughts on “the vegan double down”

  1. I never heard of a double down before. Of course, I haven’t eaten at KFC in 5 years. This looks like an indulgence that I might just have to try. You are so creative when you get in the kitchen!

  2. Huh, I don’t think I’ve ever commented on the website before, normally preferring to say something on your YT channel but I’m actually on here for once copying over some recipes I need to try baha.

    I never thought to use left over crisps (sorry, the Irish in me can’t say anything else!) to batter tofu! Excited to try this. I imagine this would be lovely if you just used it on cubes and then added it to a salad. Yumm!

  3. I’m scared to put the tofu steaks in that much I don’t think I have a pan deep enough to do it in. Any suggestions? I was thinking maybe bake it a bit!?

    1. I think baking would definitely work, maybe they could come out a little try. If this happened you should brush a little oil over the patties maybe? Just an idea 😉
      OR the chips are oily enough by themselves, perhaps it would work without extra oil and the batter is pretty moist to 🙂

  4. Omg, my cooking adverse hubby made this for the fam jam for supper tonight and it turned out perfect! Thanks for giving us some creative ideas to get him in the kitchen!

  5. I was wondering if you marinate the tofu in the fridge overnight, would it be too mushy? I don’t want it taste like "tofu" for the non-vegan husband.

    1. Lauren Toyota

      it REALLY depends on the brand of tofu. If its quite firm them no it should be fine. Honestly though after you fry it is really doesnt taste like TOFU, but then again, I LOVE TOFU!

  6. This looks delicious! I don’t have coconut milk nor do I have acv..but do I need acv & can I use almond milk?

    Thanks so much!

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