Maybe it’s because Meatless Mondays are growing ever more
popular; maybe it’s because more and more people are becoming aware of the costs of eating factory-farmed meat; or maybe it’s because the U.N. keeps warning that meat lovers will soon need to start eating insects (or skip the meat altogether). Whatever the explanation, alternative proteins are all the rage these days—and tofu is no exception. Stay ahead of the curve with these 52 simple tofu recipes for preparing delicious vegan meals any time of day.
What to use: Extra Firm
Think of this hearty breakfast as scrambled eggs—only swap out the eggs for tofu and add in some produce (think bell pepper, red onion, and spinach if you’re in the mood for greens), plus good-for-you seasonings such as garlic and turmeric.
Tofu is a super easy way to add protein and texture to post-workout/breakfast/afternoon snack smoothies. For real... it makes them taste way more like a milkshake than a juice, *score*. This one is a double-whammy with creamy avocado, and gets its pretty color from blueberries and strawberries.
Tacos aren’t just for lunch or dinner. Scramble tofu with nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, and taco seasoning, and combine with cherry tomatoes, spinach, and lime juice in whole-wheat soft taco shells. Season with cilantro and you've got a a hearty, protein-rich start to your day.
Think of these cute little breakfast bites as savory muffins. They pack some serious flavors and nutrients thanks to garlic, veggies )(onion, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and spinach), and fresh basil pesto.
This melt-in-your mouth vegan quiche is unbelievably easy to make and full of protein and veggies. Mash tofu, mix with soy milk and flour, add flaxseeds, dill, and onion, and pour into a baking dish. Top with asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper before baking for 20 minutes.
Here’s a savory way to start the day: Cook crumbled tofu until golden-brown, then add in olive oil, onion, garlic, and bell pepper for a few minutes. Season with curry powder, cumin, and coriander, and stir to combine. Serve on toast or by itself with green onions on top for garnish.
Protein pancakes can sometimes taste like, well, protein powder. Using tofu instead achieves the same healthyish breakfast treat protein punch, and makes them extra fluffy. Cacao nibs and vanilla extract sweeten these guys up, so you only need the tiniest bit of maple syrup to make 'em taste indulgent.
Salads, Soups, and Light Bites
Baked tofu goes from boring to amaze-balls with a simple Chinese-style garlic sauce. Mix garlic, soy sauce, onion powder, brown sugar, and sriracha in a small saucepan, then a mixture of cornstarch and water. Once the sauce has thickened, add in tofu. Serve over brown rice or with a side of broccoli for a healthified Chinese take-out dinner at home.
These cute, simple snack bites aren’t just tasty—they’re also vegan, full of healthy fats (courtesy of our BFF avocado), and supes flavorful. Marinade tofu and zucchini slices in soy sauce, garlic powder, and smoked paprika powder, then heat in a fry pan with some oil. Place avocado, tofu and zucchini, and sliced almonds on a piece of toast, and drizzle with a little BBQ sauce.
This popular German comfort food is basically their version of mac 'n cheese, which as any vegan knows, can be tough to recreate. This recipe makes it work with a cashew-based vegan cheese sauce, wheat flour "spaetzle" (the noodle), and filling toppings like tofu and leeks.
Tofu proves itself a worthy competitor of meat in this simple, vegetarian-friendly take on tandoori. Create your own tandoori spice mix using cayenne pepper, cumin, sea salt, turmeric, black pepper, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Pan-fry tofu slices coated in the mix, and serve with lentils or brown rice and a big serving of veggies.
Bright-green broccoli combines with tamari, garlic powder, sea salt, and (of course) tofu for a light, refreshing salad perfect for a small appetite or as an side to another dish.
This delicate soup combines tofu, mushrooms, leafy vegetables, green onion, an egg—and that’s pretty much it. Pair a bowl with sushi or a hearty salad for a filling lunch.
A vegan egg salad sandwich? Yep, it’s possible. Tofu, celery, onion, vegan mayo, and seasonings combine to form a classically delicious egg salad—minus the eggs.
Your fave childhood snack (chicken nuggets, duh) just got a major health upgrade. Swap out the chicken for tofu and coat with a breading made from almonds, nutritional yeast, egg, and flour. It even comes with a recipe for dipping sauce: mix avocado, Greek yogurt, parsley, garlic, lime, salt, and pepper.
When you're sick or it's chilly out, nothing's better than chicken noodle soup. If you're vegan and vegetarian, you can still enjoy—just swap out the chicken for extra-firm tofu. Other than that, it's got all the old regulars... carrots, whole-wheat angel hair pasta, onion, and vegan chicken broth.
These autumn rolls are big on flavor and way easier than they look to make. Just scramble some tofu like you would eggs, add in kale and peanuts, and mix in lime juice, soy sauce, curry powder, cilantro, and scallion. Soak rice paper in water for about 30 seconds, then place on parchment paper and scoop filling into the middle. Roll it all up like a burrito and start nomming.
Cold tofu might have you thinking no thanks, but combined with celery, carrots, onions, raisins, sliced almonds, and a homemade curry sauce, it's so jam-packed with flavor you won't think twice before eating a whole bowl. Make the sauce out of Veganaise, sweet curry powder, non-dairy milk, agave, and cayenne, and serve the salad on greens, toast, or in a wrap.
Garlicky noodles combine with spinach, a host of seasonings (think soy sauce, thai red chili, sesame oil, and ginger) as well as toasted sesame seeds and coconut-lime tofu. It’s a spicy-sweet combo that will perk up any down day.
For a hearty, flavorful bowl that will rival anything from your local take-out (and turn out way healthier), combine farro, asparagus, carrots, green onions, and tofu with a garlic ginger stir-fry sauce.
Coconut milk, tofu, cilantro, lime, brown rice, and spices combine in a creamy, flavorful dish that’ll leave you feeling so cozy you might just spring for a post-meal nap.
Originally published November 2015. Updated February 2017.