Tofu and I have a special relationship. In the time of a year or so, I went from someone who demanded no tofu ever touch my plate to someone who has to exert some control so I don’t eat tofu every single day. Having learned all the right and wrong ways to cook with it, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a tofu expert. Check out 7 Tips to Make the Perfect Tofu Dish, 6 Tips that Will Make You Love Tofu, 10 Easy Tips to Troubleshoot Tofu Recipes, and Tofu: How to Avoid 5 Common Cooking Mistakes for some of my quick tofu tutorials. You really don’t want to miss The Secret to Making the Crispiest Tofu for All Your Dishes.
Once you learn to cook tofu correctly, you then need to learn to cook it differently. Tofu is one of the most versatile foods so there’s no reason to eat it the same way every time. Besides being able to prepare it baked, pan-fried, broiled, stir-fried, scrambled, and stewed, tofu takes on the flavors that it’s cooked in so changing the flavor profile lets us enjoy tofu in endless ways. Take a look at these 10 Ways to Cook Tofu with Global Flavors and 15 Light and Refreshing Ways to Love Tofu This Summer. Then come with me to see how to change the flavor profile to get 10 different ways to cook tofu.
1. Make It Meaty
Tofu is a great substitute for meats in recipes including pork, chicken, and beef. We can get meaty flavors from seasoning blends, vegan beefy-flavored or chicken-flavored broths and other ingredients that give us that salty, savory umami taste like tamari, miso, and tomato paste. We can also use ingredients, sauces, gravies, and condiments that are classically associated with meat to further make a dish that is reminiscent of the original version. For specific tips, check out Your Favorite Beef Dishes Veganized and Your Favorite Chicken Dishes Veganized.
2. Make It Fishy
Just like we can make the flavor profile of tofu meaty, we can also make it fishy. Tofu has the right texture to make lots of seafood dishes because it’s firm, light, and kind of flaky. By using flavors we associate with seafood such as kelp, lemon, Old Bay seasoning, and dill, we can replicate our favorite seafood dishes without the fish. Get advice in You Don’t Need Fish to Make Delicious Seafood Dishes: Use These Tips Instead.
Then try making this ‘Fish’ Pie with Tofu and Oyster Mushrooms, Tofu ‘Shrimp’ Scampi, Tofu ‘Scallops,’ Badass Vegan Fish Sandwich, Vegan Fish and Chips, Vegan Cioppino (Italian ‘Fish’ Stew), and Tofu Coddies. You can also learn How to Make Vegan California and Tofu Teriyaki Sushi and Crispy Tofu and Rainbow Veg Sushi.
3. Make It Asian
Speaking of sushi, tofu is perfect for Asian dishes of all kinds. Once it absorbs the flavors of tamari, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, miso, curry powder or chili pastes, tofu is incredible. You could travel through all of Asia and still not have the same tofu dish two days in a row.
If you want Chinese, try this Tofu Scrambled Fried Rice, Vegan General Tso’s Tofu, Sesame Tofu and Stir-fried Tofu with Veggies and Shiitakes. For Japanese, this Seared Maple Tamari Tofu and Japanese-Style Slow Cooker Tofu are delicious. The bold flavors of Korea shine in this Korean-Style Spicy Tofu and Sesame Cucumbers and Kimchi Tofu Tacos with Cashew Crema. No need for take-out when you can make this Crispy Tofu over Thai Peanut Udon Noodles and this Raw Pad Thai Bowl with Tofu. If you like Indian cuisine, you’ll love this Quick and Dirty Palak Tofu and Tandoori Tofu Tikka – Smoky Tofu with Tandoori Indian Spices. You definitely have to make this Slow-Cooker Vietnamese Caramel Tofu with Carrots.
4. Make It Mediterranean
Who doesn’t love the flavors of the Mediterranean – garlic, lemon, oregano, tomatoes, olives? Tofu loves playing with these flavors to make incredibly delicious dishes. Take a trip to Italy with this Smoked Tofu and Mushroom Carbonara and Tofu Piccata. Tofu makes delicious ricotta that you can use to make this 9 Vegetable Lasagna and Spinach Tofu Gnudi Balls. Go Greek with dishes like these Spanakopita Bites and this Tofu Feta Cheese you’ll want to put on everything. Next it’s off to Spain to enjoy this Chile-Rubbed Tofu with Onions over Spanish Rice and this Spanish Potato and Chorizo Omelet-Style Quiche.
5. Make It Southern
If you need comfort food, there’s nothing like Southern cuisine. It’s simple but filled with flavor. And gravy, don’t skip the gravy. If you’re with me on this, you need to read How to Make All Your Favorite Southern Comfort Foods Meatless and Dairy-Free. Then get in the kitchen and make my ‘Chicken-Fried’ Tofu Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and White Gravy. You’re welcome!
Other Southern dishes with tofu you may want to include are these Homemade Andouille Sausages, Creole-Style Eggplant and Tofu Etouffée, Tofu Pot Pie Casserole, Cajun Tofu with Dirty Quinoa, Grilled Buffalo Po’ Boy with Apple Slaw, and even this Chocolate Pecan Pie
6. Make It Spicy
Whoever thinks tofu is bland needs to buy themselves a spice rack because you get out what you put in. I love making tofu dishes that are spicy and packed with flavor. Remember, spicy doesn’t have to mean hot – it can just be warm and bursting with flavor. Try using exciting spice blends that include spices like cumin, coriander, chile powder, paprika, cayenne or curry.
I love Jamaican food and my Jerk Tofu and Jamaican Curried Tofu with Chickpeas are always in my dinner rotation. These Crispy Curry Tofu Wraps with Homemade Tortillas and Avocado Mayo are going to be your new favorite wrap. Balance sweet and spicy with this Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Tofu and this Sweet and Spicy Tofu. This Spicy Potato Casserole with Tofu ‘Chorizo’ is great for feeding a crowd as is this Mexican-Spiced Tofu Scramble.
7. Make It Sweet
Since tofu takes on whatever flavors you use with it, it can also be made sweet for desserts. Silken tofu may be especially useful for dessert recipes. It’s used in this Dutch Baby With Caramelized Apples and Pears, Healthy Mocha Pots de Crème, and this Coconut Cream Pie With Blackberry Chia Jam. Firm tofu makes a sweet ricotta in these Strawberry Cheese Blintzes with Strawberry Basil Compote. These Frozen Pretzel Peanut Butter Bites, Cool Chocolate Mousse, Blueberry Ice Cream with Tofu and Cashews, and Banana Cheesecake with Mango Sauce are all made with tofu.
8. Make It Breakfast
Who needs eggs when you have tofu? Tofu can replace eggs to make all kinds of breakfast dishes. Check out Here’s How to Make Vegan Omelets, Frittatas, Quiches and Crepes all without eggs. Of course, tofu makes delicious scrambles like this Summertime Tofu Scramble, Tofu and Potato Breakfast Scramble, and this Southwestern Tofu Scramble with Greens. It also replaces eggs in these Omelette Muffins, Cheezy Chilaquiles, Nigerian Yam and ‘Egg,’ and Sweet Potato and Tofu Breakfast Tacos with Spicy Black Beans. Tofu helps you make quiches, omelets, and frittatas with ease. Try this Frittata with Swiss Chard and Red Pepper, Roasted Tomato and Herb Quiche, Spinach Artichoke and Mozzarella Tofu Frittata, and Vegan Soufflé Omelets.
9. Make It Cheesy
Mmmm … cheese. Everyone may be making vegan cheese with nuts and potatoes these days, but tofu is still a good choice when you want something easy and cheesy. There’s salty Tofu Feta Cheese, the vegan mozzarella on this Tofu-Tomato Salad and Caprese Salad, and the creamy ricotta in these Blueberry Blintzes. Tofu makes this delicious Blue Cheeze Dressing to use on your salads or for Buffalo “wing” dipping as well as this Tofu Ricotta Crostini that will be the hit of your next party. This beautiful Herb-and-Nut-Encrusted Cheese Log is made with silken tofu. Yum!
10. Make It Elegant
When you need a dish to impress your guests, your date or your future mother-in-law (aack!), tofu can help you make a dish they’ll never forget. Just as tofu can be casually cubed and tossed in a salad, it can be part of a beautifully composed dish. This Warm Salad with Marinated Tofu, Potatoes and Hazelnuts can be a lovely salad course or a light lunch or brunch dish as can these Asparagus Tofu Tartines with Light Hollandaise Sauce. This Black and White Sesame Crusted Tofu over Peach and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Glaze looks like it came straight from a fancy restaurant as does this Sesame Cabbage Salad with Coconut Crusted Tofu and Macadamia Crusted Tofu. These Pan-Fried Tofu Steaks with Coriander Cream and Asparagus Spears is perfect for any special occasion as is this Moroccan Tofu in Lemon-Olive Sauce over Spaghetti.
These are just ten ways to cook with tofu and now you have over fifty recipes to try. You could eat tofu every day for several months and never repeat a dish. So the next time you’re thinking “Tofu again?” try a new and exciting way of making it.
Lead image source: Korean-Style Spicy Tofu and Sesame Cucumbers