I’m a committed meat lover — my one true love is steak — but I can get behind a big plate of tofu, too. You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy it, but you may not know much about it if you’re a die-hard carnivore.

Tofu, Plain and Simple

Let’s be real, does anyone know what the hell tofu is made out of? I didn’t before, but now I do: tofu’s ingredients are soybeans, water, and a coagulant. Depending on the amount of water used in the making, tofu comes in a variety of forms.

Photo by Rachael Ferreira

The Tale of Tofu

Originating from China some 2,000 years ago, tofu continues to remain a vital source of protein and nutrients throughout Asia today. Years later, tofu became popular among Westerners, so popular that Americans have had multiple festivals held in its honor. Yeah, it’s that good.

Tofu’s Terrifying Texture

Tofu is honestly ugly, and its texture doesn’t make up for its pale color. It’s slimy, mushy, and makes me want to run back to my beloved steak. But when prepared and cooked correctly, tofu is truly scrumptious. If you can’t stand the grossness of one texture, try another kind! There are two main categories, and both can usually be found in the produce section.

1. Firm: Great for a main dish, use it in stir-fries, sandwiches and salads, or deep fried, scrambled or marinated and grilled.
2. Soft: Perfect as a dairy substitute or to thicken dishes, use it in soup, dips, puddings, smoothies, dressings and desserts.

Marinated tofu ready for the grill. Photo by Rachael Ferreira

Why Tofu is Your Go-To
Tofu really is packed with protein, though it’s still a bit lower in protein than meats. It is a crazy good source of calcium and helps lower cholesterol, too. Still not convinced? Tofu also wins the calorie war when compared to meats and chicken (so now we have an excuse to eat more of it — I’m not complaining).

Need I say more? I know what I’ll be having for dinner tonight …