If you are new to veganism, you might be wondering how to go about cooking tofu that actually tastes good. For some people, tofu is a kind of food that you have to get used to before liking. It’s soft, squishy, and can be very bland – but only if you don’t know how to prepare it. It has to be cooked properly in order to get an amazing tasting dish. People who do not like tofu most likely have never had good tofu!
Tofu is only as tasty as the seasonings you add, so it is important to prepare it the right way. Otherwise, you most likely will think that you just don’t like tofu. Before you give up on tofu, make sure to read this guide on how to cook it the right way!
What to Do Before Cooking Tofu
Tofu is an amazing vegan food made out of soybeans. Tofu is high in protein and a delicious way of stepping up your ordinary meals. It is the perfect addition to Chinese or Asian-style dishes as well as stir-frys and soups. It is a very mild flavored food which makes it easy to add to all kinds of dishes!
Tofu can take on the flavor of all kinds of foods depending on how it is seasoned. This is why it is such a versatile food for vegans to eat. But you have to know how to cook it for tofu to taste good. So, here is a guide to cooking tofu the right way for delicious results!
Choose a Type of Tofu
There are several different kinds of tofu that you can choose from: extra firm, firm, soft, and silken tofu.
You will need to decide what kind of tofu you need before cooking. extra firm to firm tofu is used in most dishes because they remain solid. Soft or silken tofu is usually used in soups, smoothies, sauces, and dips. It offers a creamy texture and is often blended up. Here are some recipes for softer types of tofu:
- Buffalo Tofu Pizza With Vegan Ranch
- Easy Vegan Tiramisu with Panettone
- Sun-Dried Tomato Olive and Veggie Quiche
- Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with Tofu Ricotta and Balsamic Glaze
- Easiest Ever Silken Tofu Mousse
Press and Drain
Before cooking your tofu, you need to get all of that excess water out. Because tofu is stored in water, it tends to absorb a large amount of liquid. If you do not get the excess liquid out, your tofu will be soggy and won’t crisp up. The dryer your tofu, the crispier it will get when cooking.
You can use a tofu press or slowly press the excess liquid out with dish towels. You can also place the tofu on a slotted tray with a heavy plate on top to slowly drain the liquid.
Season and Marinate
You can use a liquid marinade with ingredients like liquid smoke, miso, and soy sauce. Or you could use a dry seasoning like Italian seasoning, ginger, chili powder, and lemon pepper. Choose whatever flavors will go best with the dish that you are creating. The more flavor that you can get into the tofu, the better! Allow the marinade or seasonings to soak into the tofu overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
Your cooking method should go with the idea of the final dish. Different cooking methods create different kinds of tofu.
Some recipes are best if the tofu is still soft, while others are better with crispy tofu. Which cooking method that you choose will depend on how you like your tofu. As well as the goal of the final dish.
Baked tofu results in a crispy and dryer type of tofu. This is often preferred since it gives the tofu texture that it otherwise lacks. It also helps to remove the moisture that makes tofu spongy and wet.
To bake tofu, toss equally cut pieces of the firm or extra firm tofu in olive oil, cornstarch, and whatever seasonings you prefer.
Bake them at 450F until they start to look crispy, then flip them to crisp up on the other side.
Check out some of these baked tofu recipes:
- How to Make the Perfect Baked Tofu
- Perfect Oil-Free Baked Tofu
- Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu
- Baked Tofu Bites
- Fried Rice Bowls with Baked Tofu
Baked tofu is delicious in all kinds of meals such as:
- Crispy Tofu Strips
- Crispy Tofu Tacos and Chopped Salsa Salad
- Fresh Spring Rolls with Crispy Tofu
- Vegetable and Tofu Ramen
Sauteing tofu is another popular cooking method that achieves delicious results. Unlike baking tofu, you can get a beautiful caramelization that adds to the flavor. It may not be as crispy as baked tofu, but it still has its perks.
To make sauteed tofu, start by heating up a pan with plenty of oil or a splash of water. In order to get evenly crispy and caramelized tofu, evenly spread out the tofu pieces. Making sure that none are on top of each other.
As the bottom of the tofu starts to caramelize and turn brown, flip the pieces over to cook on the other side. This cooking method is a bit more time-intensive, but it yields very flavorful tofu. Especially if it has been marinated beforehand!
Here are some delicious sauteed tofu recipes:
Tips on Cooking Amazing Tofu
- Don’t skimp on the seasonings, add in more than you think you need.
- For extra flavorful tofu, marinate it overnight before cooking.
- For extra crispy baked tofu, coat the tofu pieces in a light layer of cornstarch. Or you can coat them in something crispy like bread crumbs.
- To add even more flavor, saute tofu in sesame oil.
- For a more meaty textured tofu, freeze it the night before.
- To keep the tofu crispy, store it on its own and add any sauces right before serving.
- Use extra-firm tofu for dryer and crispier dishes.
- Leave the tofu to drain for several hours to get the best texture.
- Add liquid smoke to marinade for a meatier flavor profile.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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