More than 20 delicious and healthy tofu recipes await you! Including everything from noodles, stir fries, and salads to tacos, sandwiches, fried rice and so much MORE!
Tofu is an important ingredient for those who lead a meat-free lifestyle. It’s a great source of plant-protein, cooks quickly, and readily soaks up flavors. All of these reasons make tofu a weeknight dinner hero—all types of eaters welcome.
Soft/Silkentofu is delicate in both texture and flavor and is commonly used in sauces, creams, dressings, even baking and smoothies.
Medium tofu is a mix between silken and firm and is commonly utilized in stir-fries, grilled dishes and miso soup.
Firm tofu is an easy meat alternative because it holds its shape well and is commonly carried in most major grocery stores. It’s a great alternative for chicken because of its texture and ability to take on any and all seasonings you can imagine.
Extra-firm tofu contains one of the tightest packed curds and is slightly chewy in texture. Extra-firm tofu is great in veggie scrambles (egg alternative), fried rice, stir frys, and sandwiches.
Tofu skins are pre-cooked and ready to consume. They are commonly used in cold Asian salads, quick stir-fries and even bok choy.
Fermented tofu or Chao is essentially tofu left to ferment for a month or more, brined and then soaked in any number of sauces and seasonings but most commonly rice wine, chilis or red bean curd. Use fermented tofu in dipping sauces, served over rice, in soups, and as a condiment.
How to Cook and Eat Raw Tofu
Eating soft/silken tofu raw is super easy to do! Simply remove from the package, drain, pat dry and mix into your favorite smoothie, salad dressing, or enjoy on it’s own with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. Soft silken tofu is also a common ingredient in vegan puddings and mousses. Although any tofu can be consumed raw, soft/silken tofu contains the easiest texture to digest on its own.
How to Bake Tofu
Baking is a quick and easy method for making crispy tofu. As is the case with all kinds of tofu, it’s important to drain and dry well. To do this, slice the large block of tofu into thinner planks and sandwich them between two clean paper towels set on a baking sheet or plate. Set another baking sheet or plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy (like a Dutch oven or large cans). Let the tofu press for at least 10 minutes; replacing paper towels once.
Once the excess moisture is thoroughly absorbed (this will take 10–15 minutes) cut the tofu to desired sizes before tossing with your preferred sauce or 1–2 tablespoon oil, 3-5 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch, salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for 25–30 minutes. Enjoy the crisp oven as is with your favorite dipping sauce, in fried rice, Asian noodles, salads, and more.
How to Pan-Fry
Pan-frying tofu is one of our favorite methods. Drain, dry and press the tofu as explained above. Preheat grapeseed oil or sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimming. Toss tofu pieces desired sauce or spice mixture and 3–5 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot starch. Add tofu to hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on each side and crispy, about 10 minutes.
One of my personal favorites is this Tofu Fried Rice and although it doesn’t call for meat, you can easily sub out the tofu with pork, chicken, all veggies, or almost anything you can think of. This one calls for brown rice, but you can just as easily use quinoa which will increase the protein of this vegetarian meal!
Who said taco Tuesday was just for the omnivores? With this recipe for Crispy Tofu Tacos with Asian Pear Slaw, everyone can get in on the fun and even non-meat eaters will enjoy! These Asian-inspired crispy tofu tacos are spiced with cardamom, ginger and white pepper—simple but powerful.
One-bowl meals are always a favorite of ours due to the simplicity and portability. And this recipe that Lauren developed for Cuisine At Home magazine is no exception. Asian Brown Rice & Tofu Buddha Bowls With Shiitakes is an easy way to mix and match whatever veggies you have on hand to go atop a bowl of fiber-rich brown rice.
Vegan-friendly steak? Yes! Planks of marinated firm tofu get seared until charred and topped with a bright and tangy chimichurri sauce. Lauren developed this recipe for Cuisine at Home magazine and it's become a fan-favorite. Tofu can quickly and easily be transformed into a delectable meal.
Gorgeously glazed chunks of tofu that are perfect served over any fluffy grain, saucy noodles, or stir fried veggies. This recipe comes together quickly and can easy be made into a full meal with the addition of a grain and veggie.
A plant-based option to classic scrambled eggs. Healthy and flavorful, this scrambled tofu is delicious serve with avocado, salsa, black beans, and veggies. Serve with breakfast potatoes or tortillas on the side.
A Japanese-style Mapo Tofu consisting of silken tofu, ground pork (or beef), fermented broad beans, garlic and ginger. This recipe is ready in just 30 minutes and less spicy than the traditional Sichuan version.
This article was originally published on June 30, 2021.
Loretta McGraw is a senior in journalism and mass communication at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa State University. She is currently working as a Digital Food Publishing Intern here at Zestful Kitchen while attending classes and engaging in extracurricular media organizations on campus. After graduating she hopes to continue mastering her writing skills in the magazine industry.