If you spend enough time in the plant-based world, you will eventually come face to face with tofu. Don’t fear this versatile soy food- here’s the basics of tofu.
What is tofu?
Tofu is a soy food made from coagulated soy milk. It’s been eaten in Asia for 2,000+ years!
Is tofu good for me?
Yes! Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein and other nutrients. Soy foods are linked to lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and less abdominal fat storage. Read more about the health benefits of soy here.
Do I have to eat it?
Absolutely not. If you just plain dislike tofu, no worries. It is not an essential part of plant-based diet, but it is a great food to have in your arsenal because of its endless versatility. Read more about why tofu is not required here.
Undrained, unpressed, custard-like texture. Best use: creamy or blended foods (smoothies, sauces, desserts) like our Creamy Tofu Pesto. Also great as an egg substitute!
Firm / Extra-firm
Pressed and packed in water. This type absorbs marinades well. Best use: stir-fry, baked, crumbled, or grilled.
Very dense, high protein, vacuum-packed instead of packed in water. Good choice when you’re in a hurry because it doesn’t require draining and pressing. However, it doesn’t absorb flavor as well and dries out easily.
TOFU COOKING TIPS
Most tofu comes packed in water, so you must drain and press it. If you skip this step, your tofu won’t absorb marinades or get crispy when cooked. First, drain the water. Then, slice the block and place in a single layer on top of several paper towels. Top tofu with more paper towels and then a heavy object (skillet, cookbooks). Let sit for at least one hour. If you plan to have tofu for dinner, stick your pressing set-up in the fridge to let it drain during the day. Once drained, marinate or start cooking.
After you’ve pressed tofu, it’s ready to absorb any flavor you introduce to it. Since even pressed tofu contains some water, exclude oils from your marinade (oil and water don’t mix!). Use vinegars or citrus juices as a base instead.
Coat in cornstarch
If you like crispy tofu, but want to avoid oil and frying, this tip is for you! Cornstarch helps tofu develop a crispy outer crust. After you’ve pressed your tofu, lightly coat it with organic or non-GMO cornstarch. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 350F until golden and crispy.
Tofu blends well into smoothies, sauces, and dressings to add creaminess, protein, and calcium (more than Greek yogurt!). Blended tofu also makes great eggless quiches. Try our Tropical Tofu Smoothie and our Cherry Lime Protein Smoothie.
Crumbled, seasoned tofu takes on the texture of scrambled eggs or ricotta cheese. You can also crumble tofu into soups or chili for a “meaty” texture. It’ll soak up all the flavors of the broth.
Check out 5 Rad Tofu Recipes we love.