Tofu gets a bad rap. Sure, upon first impression it can be kind of off-putting (and who decided to name it bean curd?), but I'm here to show you that tofu is actually super versatile and delicious—if you prepare it the right way.

I'll tell you precisely what you're doing wrong, and fill you in on the tips and tricks that'll make you want to incorporate more tofu into your life, whether you're a vegetarian or not.

1. You're not pressing your tofu

Pressing tofu

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One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing tofu is not pressing it, which means your tofu will likely turn out sad and soggy. Take the entire cake out of its packaging and set it on a paper towel. Then, press it using a second folded paper towel until most of the water has been squeezed out. You can also set something heavy on top of the paper towel and just let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare other ingredients for the meal.

Your newly pressed tofu will soak up flavors better and have a nicer texture in the end. Once you start pressing your tofu, you'll never go back.

2. You're not treating tofu like meat

Most people don't eat unseasoned meat, so don't do the same thing with your tofu. Go crazy with the spices, and let it sit in a marinade (the longer the better).

#SpoonTip: Don't use oil in your marinade—it'll allow the flavors to get absorbed by the tofu better and it's also a healthier choice to avoid it anyway.

3. You're not buying the right kind

Another common mistake that people make is not using the right kind of tofu for the kind of recipe they're making. If you're baking, grilling or stir-frying it, it's better to get firm or extra-firm. Soft tofu is good for things like miso soup or agedashi tofu. Silken tofu is good for making smoothies, dairy-free desserts or even creamy salad dressings. 

4. You're only cooking tofu one way

People generally think of tofu as a nice addition to a stir-fry, but it can be so much more than just that. Tofu is awesome baked, added to salads and buddha bowls, grilled and served with veggies, cubed and added into soups, and blended into various sauces. My personal favorite is Chinese cold tofu: cube a cake of soft tofu and drown it in soy sauce and sesame oil as is. Top it with scallions and cilantro, and enjoy.

5. You can't get over the fact that it's tofu

This last one is the hardest, but also the most important. If you think of tofu as a gross mock-meat, you're going to be disappointed. If you view it as the nutritious and versatile plant protein that it is, it opens up a world of delicious opportunities.

With these tips in mind, give tofu another shot in your usual dinner routine. You won't be disappointed, and there's a good chance you'll be doing a happy dance while you take a bite of your new and improved tofu dishes.