If you ask the average person which words come to mind when they think of tofu, the unfortunate truth is that most people would say “bland.” The fortunate truth is that if you know how to make it, tofu is actually one of the most versatile and delicious foods, a great vehicle for soaking up any sauce. For those who turn up their noses at the thought of consuming something so inherently “vegetarian,” I’ll have you know that I am an avid meat-eater who often prefers tofu to meat. Here are seven recipes that are sure to reverse any misconceptions about this delicious and nutritious soybean-based product.
1. Tofu Salad
This is one of my favorites because it requires very little cooking (besides the tofu) and can come together in a pinch with anything you have in the fridge. I usually throw together some combination of :
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Roasted squash (the yellow in the picture is acorn squash)
- Sunflower seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds to garnish
- AND OF COURSE: cubed sautéed tofu
A great addition is one of my personal favorite dressings; a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and a drop of maple syrup.
2. Tofu Burger
Here is a great alternative to a veggie burger that is actually quite difficult to mess up. Think about it. When was the last time you had a great veggie burger? In my experience, only about one out of every five veggie burgers I eat doesn’t taste like mashed up beans and cardboard. I have never had a bad tofu burger and they are also far cheaper to prepare than meat burgers.
- Cut a full slice of FIRM tofu (silken and medium are likely to fall apart) about 1/2 inch thick and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Heat olive oil or coconut oil in a pan (though other types will work) and sear your tofu until it is browned to your liking on both sides.
- Add a grilled portobello mushroom, lettuce, tomato slices, and some sautéed or raw onions. Maybe even a pickle if you’re feeling fancy.
- Sandwich your tofu and toppings between a toasted hamburger bun or bread slices, or wrap it in lettuce.
- For a sauce, try spreading pesto, pesto mayonnaise, or garlic aioli on your buns. Plain old Ketchup and mustard work great as well.
Not only does tofu make an amazing addition to any lunch or dinner dish, but it can be an excellent breakfast as well.
If you are planning on making your first-ever dish with tofu, let it be a stir fry. This classic Asian recipe practically screams for tofu to soak up its yummy sauces. Stir fry works bets in a wok or a cast iron pan but any large sauce pan will do.
- Sauté peppers, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, onions, cubed eggplant and tofu (firm or medium firm) Tip: for best results, sauté tofu separately
- Pour veggies and tofu over steamed brown rice
- Add sauce: use a base of Teriyaki sauce and a few drops each of soy sauce and Hoisin sauce and generously pour over stir fry.
- Add garnish: chopped peanuts and scallions work really well.
Tofu is the perfect addition to any curry as it adds texture and cuts the spice with its creamy flavor.
6. Berry Tofu Smoothie
WAIT! Before you get grossed out and stop reading, silken tofu has a completely different taste and texture to firm tofu and gives smoothies added creaminess while packing the protein without the fat.
- 1-2 cups frozen blueberries and/or strawberries
- a 3/4 inch slice of silken tofu, any brand will do
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
Put all the ingredients in the blender, putting the frozen fruit in last. Blend. Garnish with chia seeds. Enjoy!
Try these out for breakfast!
Here is some more reading on tofu