Tofu is perhaps the most misunderstood food in the world. Far too many people think tofu recipes are bland. Little do they know that tons of incredible tofu dishes will make them forget about meat.
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Tofu has been around for hundreds of years because it was first found in China. This protein-rich food is made from soy milk that has been condensed and pressed into solid blocks. The process is similar to that used for cheese making. A coagulant called Nigari helps tofu become solid and keep its form.
Healthy tofu recipes don’t have to be a “sacrifice,” or a chore to make or eat. You can find many tofu diner recipes with all the familiar flavors and textures you love in meat dishes without downsides.
Now, there’s a trick to conditioning tofu to make the texture more meat-like and allow it to soak up seasoning much better.
Here’s what we recommend.
First, take your extra firm tofu and grab a few tea towels, two plates, and something heavy like a big cast iron pot or skillet or a few heavy canned goods (at least 28 ounces each).
You’ll need to put a towel on one of your plates then place your tofu on top.
Put your second tea towel on top of your tofu, then your other plate.
Finally, place your weighted item on top of the plate. This will force the water out of your tofu, thus giving it a better texture that’s ideal for cooking.
Trust me, the results are amazing!
You can also purchase a tofu press, which is a vice-like device that makes pressing much easier.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, has long been cherished for its versatility and health benefits. Derived from soybeans, this protein-packed food has gained popularity in the culinary world with both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. For those who are looking to diversify their meals or hoping to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, experimenting with tofu recipes can be an exciting and delicious journey.
Easily adaptable to various flavors and cooking techniques, tofu seamlessly fits into a wide range of dishes, from simple stir-fries to more sophisticated desserts. With different textures available, such as silken, firm, and extra-firm, there is a tofu variety that suits every cooking style and preference. Recipes combining tofu with creative blends of spices, sauces, and veggies can enhance both the flavor and the nutritional value of your favorite dishes.
As an affordable and nutrient-rich addition to any meal plan, tofu allows home cooks to think outside the box and explore new culinary creations. With countless delectable options to choose from, those who embrace the world of tofu recipes will undoubtedly find themselves with a nourishing and satisfying array of dishes to enjoy.
Types of Tofu
Tofu, a staple in vegan and vegetarian diets, is a versatile and nutrient-rich source of protein made from soybean curd. It comes in various textures, each suited for different types of dishes. This section will discuss Silken Tofu, Soft Tofu, Firm Tofu, and Extra Firm Tofu.
Silken tofu has the softest and most delicate texture. It has a high water content and a creamy, custard-like consistency. Due to its fragile nature, it’s best used in recipes that don’t require a lot of handling, such as:
- Desserts (e.g., puddings and mousses)
- Salad dressings and sauces
Silken tofu can be found in both refrigerated and shelf-stable packages, making it easily accessible for various cooking needs.
Soft tofu is slightly firmer than silken tofu but still has a tender texture. It can hold its shape better, making it suitable for gentle cooking methods and recipes such as:
- Simmered dishes
- Steamed dishes
- Light stir-fries
Soft tofu is an excellent choice for dishes that call for a delicate yet slightly firm texture.
Firm tofu has a denser texture and holds its shape well, making it versatile for various cooking techniques. It’s suitable for recipes that require more handling or higher heat, such as:
Firm tofu is a standard choice for many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to its adaptable texture and ability to take on intense flavors from marinades and sauces.
Extra Firm Tofu
Extra firm tofu is the densest and most robust variety of tofu. It has the lowest water content and can withstand more intense cooking methods, making it well-suited for recipes like:
Due to its sturdy texture, extra firm tofu is ideal for dishes that require a meaty, protein-packed component.
Each type of tofu serves a unique purpose, and experimenting with various textures can lead to a delightful variety of vegan and vegetarian meals.
So, if you’re still wondering, “What to make with tofu?” We’ve got at least a dozen fantastic suggestions.
Below you’ll find 12 of the best tofu recipes that are sure to impress even the most insistent “tofu hater.”
Chrispy BBQ tofu one is one of our favorite fir tofu recipes because it takes all of the smoky flavors and textures of meat BBQs and transforms them into one mind-blowing vegan dish.
This recipe is a must for tofu fans and everyone else who hasn’t met the right tofu dish to fall in love with yet.
Each bite delivers just the right amount of chewy texture, slathered in sweet, silky, savory BBQ sauce. You’ll want to enjoy this dish for days, but you might notice these delectable pieces disappearing as soon as folks give them a try.
This recipe for oven-baked BBQ tofu is relatively straightforward and makes for a fabulous appetizer or even a fantastic main dish.
The BBQ is deliciously crispy, and the savory vegan BBQ sauce has all the smoky flavors you expect in a good BBQ sauce.
This is a great dish to serve along with vegan side dishes like vegan fried rice or vegan mashed potatoes.
And for this recipe, you’ll need homemade or store-bought vegan BBQ sauce, black pepper, soy milk, cayenne pepper, firm tofu, salt, all-purpose flour, garlic powder, panko breadcrumbs, onion powder, and corn starch.
Another one of our favorite tofu dinner ideas is this recipe for tofu tacos with jalapeno-cilantro ranch. This recipe will take your tofu experience to a whole new level.
With thousands if not millions of trial and error experiments, tofu experts have found some fantastic ways to transform bland tofu into truly crave-worthy culinary masterpieces.
And this work of art is among the best we’ve tried. In this recipe, the author shows you the perfect way to turn tiny cubes of tofu into crispy, seasoned bits of wonder.
For your seasoned baked tofu, you’ll need panko breadcrumbs, chili powder, fine sea salt, smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, neutral oil such as grapeseed, unsweetened plain plain-based milk, spelt flour, fresh lime juice, super firm tofu.
For your cilantro-lime taco sauce, you’ll need unsweetened plain nut or soy-based yogurt, olive oil, jalapeno pepper, cilantro leaves, scallion, garlic, lime juice, white vinegar, onion powder, and sea salt.
You’ll also need corn tortillas, shredded red or green cabbage, cilantro for garnish, and lime wedges to spritz your finished tacos.
This delicious stir-fry is loaded with a savory sesame-ginger flavor, and the tofu comes out crispy without frying.
It’s sad, but many of us tofu lovers were in the same boat as most other folks on the planet. We had what I call “tofu avoidance syndrome” or TAS.
This condition is caused by either a misguided perception of tofu they’ve gotten through popular culture or their friends and family. But sometimes, they get it through horrible early experiences with tofu dishes.
Thankfully, this recipe for tofu stir-fry is just the thing to help them see the light and become true tofu fanatics.
This not only looks absolutely delicious but it’s packed with healthy veggies and tons of flavor.
The ingredients for this recipe include firm tofu, cornstarch, salt, oil (canola, coconut, or vegetable), green beans, and carrots.
For the sauce, you’ll need sesame oil, grated ginger, minced garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, cornstarch, and water.
Marinated Tofu is one of our favorite tofu dinner recipes that’s full of incredible flavor. Quite simply, this is some of the best tofu you’ll ever taste!
Aside from following the proper steps of preparing your tofu (as mentioned above), the key to this dish is the delicious tofu homemade marinade.
You’ll need to let your marinade set into your tofu for 30 minutes before cooking, and then you’ll have the perfect marinated tofu.
The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are extra firm tofu, light soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch.
Optional ingredients include basmati rice and chopped chives.
Tofu crumbles make for a fabulous addition to any healthy meal like a salad or pasta meal. But, it can also be used as a delicious alternative to taco meat and chicken.
Plus, you can make a large batch at the beginning of the week and store it in the fridge. It heats up well, retaining both its flavor and texture.
The ingredients you’ll need are tofu, extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, smoked paprika powder, chili powder, ground cumin, and black peppercorn.
6. Grilled Tofu
One of our favorite ways to cook tofu meals is on the grill. And this recipe for grilled tofu is sure to earn the respect of even the biggest BBQ purists out there who might consider the idea of “grilled tofu” sacrilege.
However, this is by far one of the tastiest firm tofu recipes out there!
Best of all, once you’ve prepared your tofu, you’ll be able to recreate those gorgeous grill marks, not to mention lock that deliciously smoky BBQ flavor only a grill can give you.
Now, as for the best tofu for grilling, you’ll want to get either regular or non-silken, extra-firm tofu. While the softer texture of silken tofu is magical in shakes and soups, it doesn’t do well on a grill.
We recommend pressing your tofu for at least 15 minutes before starting the seasoning process.
Also, to keep your tofu from sticking, you’ll need to ensure you’ve thoroughly cleaned your grill grates, use only thick slabs, don’t poke it while grilling, and flip your tofu using a fish spatula.
With your tofu, you’ll need these ingredients for your base seasoning: garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, ground coriander, freshly ground black pepper.
For your herb sauce, you’ll need fresh parsley or basil leaves, lemon, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil, and vegetable oil for the grill.
If you’re craving takeout, but want a delicious alternative to meat, then this recipe for sweet and spicy pan-fried tofu is just the thing to satisfy.
This dish creates absolutely mouth-watering, crispy, seasoned tofu with just the right balance of spice and sweetness.
Now, with this dish, there are several ways you can cook your tofu, such as grilling, baking, deep-frying, or pan-frying.
You’ll need to make sweet and spicy pan-fried tofu ingredients: tofu, honey, rice vinegar, cooking wine, sugar, ginger, hot sauce, soy sauce, garlic, pepper flakes, oil, sesame seeds, and arrowroot powder.
Let’s be honest. For those of us who switched to a vegan lifestyle, we still miss things about animal-based foods, such as textures and flavors.
Thankfully, with tofu, you can recreate your favorite foods’ flavors, textures, and even colors, like eggs.
This recipe for tofu scramble creates deviously fluffy, flavorful tofu that looks just like eggs with a savory flavor thanks to the turmeric.
Plus, this recipe’s loaded with other delicious veggies and seasonings. Your ingredients include tofu, olive oil, minced garlic, diced red onion, diced red bell pepper, baby spinach, kosher salt, turmeric, black pepper, diced avocado, and minced parsley.
We can guarantee this recipe will be a game-changer to help supercharge your day with a delicious protein-packed, healthier breakfast.
9. Tofu Ramen
Did you know that the Chinese first started using tofu about 2000 years ago? It was discovered by accident when a cook mistakenly curdled soy milk after adding nigari seaweed. When introduced into Japan, around the eighth century, they originally called tofu “okabe.”
So, as you can see, Asians are no stranger to substituting tofu for meat in their meals, and over the centuries, they’ve developed techniques for making tofu every bit as delicious as meat.
In this recipe for tofu ramen, we have seasoned tofu swimming in a savory broth with noodles and lots of delicious veggies.
This meal is easy to make, filling, and has more flavor than you can shake a chopstick at!
The ingredients you’ll need in this recipe include tofu, avocado oil or light sesame oil, chopped baby portabella mushrooms or shitake mushrooms, scallions, garlic, ginger, low-sodium vegetable broth, tomato paste, sriracha, low-sodium soy sauce, and uncooked ramen noodles.
To make crispy baked tofu, you’ll want to use extra-firm tofu, cornstarch, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
And for toppings, a few examples are jalapenos, baby bok choy, zucchini, and carrots, just to name a few.
Curry and tofu almost go hand in hand. And in this recipe, we see just how you can take ingredients like coconut milk and peanut butter and create the perfect curry seasoning for your tofu.
This recipe is perfect on top of a fresh, hotbed of rice or noodles or even with some steamed or stir-fried veggies.
Your ingredients for this recipe include extra-firm tofu, lemongrass, sesame oil, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, sea salt, coconut oil, onion, garlic ginger curry powder, coconut milk, water, creamy peanut butter, tamari sauce (or liquid aminos), maple syrup, lime juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, with crushed peanuts and cilantro leaves for garnish.
As you can see, this dish has layers upon layers of delicious flavors sure to please and delight your tastebuds!
Okay, folks, it’s time to talk about some serious business – chocolate.
Yes, we know, the thought of “vegan” chocolate doesn’t bring up pleasant memories for many folks out there, but that’s only because they’ve not tried this recipe for mint chocolate tofu pudding.
Now, the key to keeping this dish totally vegan is finding or baking your own vegan mint chocolate cookies.
But the ingredients are simple and include chocolate chips (vegan), soy milk, silken tofu, mint extract, and mint chocolate cookies.
One tip for a good mint chocolate cookie you can buy in stores is mint chocolate Oreos.
Now, you can enjoy a delicious chocolatey treat anytime the craving strikes you while keeping it vegan!
12. Tofu Parmigiana
Our final recipe is definitely an “advanced level” tofu recipe that perfectly mimics the texture and flavors of chicken parmigiana.
However, this tofu version doesn’t have the battered, greasy coating of most “tofu steaks.”
Instead, it calls for tofu that’s breaded and lightly pan-fried using just a touch of oil and topped with melty part-skim mozzarella.
The ingredients you need include plain dry breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, firm or extra-firm tofu, garlic powder, salt, extra-virgin olive oil, onion, white mushrooms, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
The total time to make this dish is only 30 minutes, and we guarantee after you set this in front of anyone afflicted with tofu avoidance syndrome, their mouths will water despite themselves.
You can also find more delectable tofu recipes in the video below.
Our BEST Tofu Recipes (+Quick Tofu Crumbles)
- 1 pack tofu
- 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Drain water from tofu.
- Mix together the ingredients.
- Crumble tofu into the ingredients and mix well.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.