Tofu, also called bean curd, is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into a soft, white block. Tofu originated in China over 2000 years ago, and first appeared in the United States in the early 1800’s. Tofu and other soy foods have long been used in traditional Asian diets.
The two main types of tofu are silken and firm. Silken tofu has a high moisture content and a custard-like texture, while firm (or extra firm) tofu has been drained and pressed to remove some of its moisture. Firm and extra firm tofu have a “meatier” consistency, making it a good option for stir fries and other entrees.
Tofu is a nutritious, versatile, convenient, and flavorful addition to any diet! Although some questions remain about the potential health benefits and risks of soy products, the latest research suggests that moderate consumption is healthful. Here are some great reasons to eat more tofu:
- Tofu is nutritious! It’s a great source of plant-based protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron; it’s cholesterol-free; and it’s low in fat/saturated fat. Soy consumption has also been shown to help prevent disease recurrence in breast cancer patients, ward off high blood pressure, help alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women, and reduce LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels.
- Tofu is versatile! Use silken tofu in smoothies, pies, and vegan ice cream recipes, or try firm tofu in scrambles, stir fries, as a pizza topping, or on the grill.
- Tofu is convenient! Readily available at nearly all major grocery stores (with more variety at co-ops and speciality stores), tofu is an inexpensive and convenient source of plant-based protein.
- Tofu is delicious! Ok, maybe it’s not super tasty straight out of the package, but it absorbs sauces and spices like a sponge, making it an excellent addition to all types of curries, stir fries, scrambles, and other saucy dishes.
How? (The Recipes!)
There are tons of great ways to incorporate tofu into your diet! Here are 9 of our favorite recipes. How do you like to use your tofu? Share it with us in the comments section below or submit your favorite recipe!
- Low Fat Strawberry Tofu Ice Cream
- Tofu Scramble (with Spinach and Nutritional Yeast)
- Tofu Scramble (with Mushrooms and Peppers)
- The Smoky Tofu Sweet Potato Stacker
- Pan Fried Tofu tossed with Ginger Spinach and Mushrooms
- Miso Roasted Pumpkin and Grilled Tofu Over Udon Noodles
- Lentil Crusted Tofu with Awesome Dipping Sauce
- Simple Summer Tofu Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
- Tofu Pakoras
- Sweet Potato Tofu Pizza
Want More Recipes? You can find them here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/tag/tofu-recipes/
Final Note: Given the controversy surrounding genetically modified soy, it’s always best to choose organic tofu and other soy products, or at least look for Non-GMO Project Verfication!