If your impression of tofu is that it’s just some hippie-dippy, woo-woo substitute for meat, snap out of it! And if you’re looking for a new tofu recipe, you’re sure to find one you love below.
While the soy bean-based curd is a fairly blank canvas flavor-wise, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. From savory dishes to sweet desserts, it’s adaptable to pretty much any ingredient in your pantry. It’s also loaded with protein and calcium and low in saturated fat which should place it especially high on the grocery list for those watching their cholesterol. (It’s also not unheard of to DIY tofu.)
Another benefit? While you should consume it a few days after opening, a sealed package of tofu keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks or more (keep an eye on that sell-by date and try to use it within a week past expiration). If you drain it and place it in an airtight container, it’s easy and safe to store in the freezer for up to six months.
When it comes to consistency, think of tofu on the firm spectrum (be it regular, extra, or super firm) as steak and soft tofu as ground beef. Stiffer is ideal in a stir-fry, but for soups, veer towards soft or the delicate silken which is your best best for desserts and smoothies. And then there’s sprouted tofu, which contains even more nutrients than its unsprouted counterpart.
Remember that most recipes will insist on draining and pressing the tofu before cooking. Wrap the block in paper towels or a clean cloth and place it between two plates with a heavy object (such as a bag of rice) resting on top, and 20 minutes later, you should be good to go.
Here are our favorite ways to make the most of tofu:
With anchovy and gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) playing big roles, this soup’s stock is exceptionally potent and the gentle presence of tofu acts as an excellent counterweight. So get jjigae with it. Get our Spicy Silken Tofu Soup recipe.
Healthy? Yes. Bland? Heck no. Firm tofu and a bounty of fresh vegetables reach new heights thanks to an otherworldly miso-ginger vinaigrette. A satisfying crunch of chopped peanuts provides the perfect finishing touch. Get our Chilled Tofu Salad with Miso Vinaigrette recipe.
Here’s a team effort with crispy, crunchy pistachio-crusted tofu playing the starring role. But Michael Jordan needs a Scottie Pippen, and in this case it’s a smoky, spicy chimichurri which provides the assist. Get Shelly Westerhausen’s Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Chimichurri recipe.
A hot sauce-spiked marinade gives tofu a caliente kick that pairs perfectly with Cotija cheese, black beans, pickled jalapeños, and avocado. Put it all in a bun and you’ve got yourself quite a satisfying vegetarian version of the classic Mexican sandwich. Get our Grilled Tofu Torta recipe.
Absolutely no one’s gonna say “ew” when they take a bite outta this homemade, meat-free version of the Thai takeout classic. For those seeking tofu as a healthy alternative, this is not the dish you’re looking for. Get our Tofu and Broccolini Pad See Ew recipe.
With hefty amounts of tofu, eggplant, and tomatoes front and center, this sumptuous plant-based feast requires a bit of time and prep. But it’s totally worth it. Not only will you yield plenty of servings, the lasagna is just as satisfying freshly made as it is leftover. Get our Vegan Lasagna recipe.
This version of the classic pork and tofu combo from Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien hits so many notes it’s like eating a Prince guitar solo. While it’s tempting to substitute some of the harder-to-find ingredients, ain’t nothing like the real thing. Get the Ma Po Tofu recipe.
This tofu and spinach mashup reinforces two primary features of Indian cuisine: A) It’s vegetarian-forward and B) It’s not remotely bland. While the use of paneer (fresh cheese) is most common for this dish, tofu steps up to the plate quite nicely. Serve with basmati rice and naan. Get our Saag Tofu recipe.
No animals were harmed in the making of this comforting, eye-catching vegan dish. It’s Thanksgiving in a nice, cozy slice. Get our Homemade Tofurkey with Brown Rice Stuffing recipe.
Make that morning smoothie even more nourishing with the addition of silken tofu. Mix and match your favorite fruits and veggies, and consider adding chia seeds or granola for an extra boost. Get our Fruity Smoothie recipe.