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6 Cooking Tips That Will Make You Love Tofu

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All vegans must love tofu or they can’t be in the club. Just kidding! When you eat a plant-based diet, there are an endless number of foods to enjoy besides tofu. However, tofu is delicious, versatile and packed with protein. For some people though, tofu might take some getting used to. With the right tofu cooking tips, you can learn how to prepare it, cook it and make it tantalizing. If you and tofu don’t have a happy relationship but you’re willing to try to make it work between you, these tips for cooking tofu might help you like…or even love this delicious protein!

1. Buy the Right Tofu for the JobTofu Block

Charlotte Lake/Shutterstock

There are several kinds of tofu you can buy: silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm. So, which one do you buy? It depends on what you want to make. Silken tofu is best used for sauces, creams, batters and in baking. It’s perfect for tofu omelets and mousses. Soft tofu is great for tofu scrambles. Personally, I always buy the extra-firm type for all my recipes. It holds up to whatever I’m trying to do, whether I’m cutting it into cubes for Chinese dishes, slices for cutlets, or dredging it and frying it for Buffalo Tofu Fries.

2. Texture is Everything

If the tofu you have been eating tastes wet and spongy, well, no wonder you don’t like it. Tofu comes packed in a lot of water and one of the most important tofu cookings tips is to get that water out. All that water is taking up space where flavor needs to be. When you open a package of tofu, drain the water out of the package. Then you need to press the tofu. You can either buy tofu presses that are available or do-it-yourself with paper towels and heavy objects. Read how to press tofu properly here. If you want the tofu to have an even denser, firmer and chewier texture, try freezing it first. This is an especially good technique to use if you need the tofu to be really firm and allow you to handle it without it breaking like when you’re making Tofu Scallops, pictured above.

3. Be Liberal With Seasoning

After the tofu has all the water pressed out of it, the next tofu cooking tip is to fill it back up with flavor by marinating it and/or seasoning it. A marinade can be as simple as tamari mixed with water. Most people come up with a recipe for a basic marinade that they use in the majority of their tofu dishes. Usually, it’s a combination of tamari, broth or water, oil and a few herbs and spices such as garlic, oregano or paprika. In ethnic recipes like Tandoori Tofu, pictured above, the marinade is essential to the flavor of the dish. Be sure to pat the tofu dry before cooking it to ensure crispness.

Whether you marinate the tofu or not, a dry rub of seasoning will help add flavor and a crusty texture when you cook it. Choose a few of your favorite herbs and spices, mix them together in a small bowl and rub them over the surface of the tofu. When you pan-fry the tofu, that rub will become a delicious crust.

4. When in Doubt, Fry It

An unwritten (until now) but often spoken suggestion of mine is “when in doubt, fry it.” Whenever there is a food that you or someone else finds unappetizing, try it fried. Cut the tofu into cubes or nugget-shapes, dredge it in non-dairy milk and then coat it with seasoned flour, bread crumbs, crushed up rice cereal or cornmeal. Then fry it until it’s browned and crispy. The tofu will taste moist and tender on the inside with a yummy crispy coating on the outside. Who wouldn’t love Crispy Tofu Nuggets, pictured above, or “chicken-fried” tofu? I want some right now! If frying isn’t your thing, that’s fine. Read my article on how to make the perfect baked tofu.

5. Use It in Your Favorite Dishes

Tofu is the perfect stand-in for chicken, fish and even dairy. There is no rule that says you have to eat tofu in a stir-fry (though that’s amazing) or in a salad like this Sesame Tofu Broccoli Salad (also amazing). Think of a dish you always loved, swap the animal product out and use tofu instead. As long as you recreate the same flavors and textures that made those dishes your favorites, you will discover that you can still have them in healthier and more compassionate way. Try out making your own General Tso’s Tofu and Tofu “Shrimp” Scampi. Use tofu to substitute for ricotta in dishes like Spinach Gnudi Balls and Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti. Tofu is also perfect in desserts. Use it to these Flourless Tofu Zucchini Muffins or this Cool Chocolate Mousse. Yum!

6. Eat It at Your Favorite Vegan Restaurant

If tofu is completely new to you and you really have no clue what it’s even supposed to taste like, I would suggest having it at your favorite vegan restaurant. When I wasn’t sure how to make a tasty tofu scramble, I went to a vegan café and had one there. It was delicious and it taught me how good tofu could taste when prepared right. Then when I went back into my own kitchen, I knew what results I was hoping to get. Plus, it’s a great excuse to go out and enjoy your favorite vegan eateries.

So if you find you’re having trouble with tofu and you’re ready to break up with it, hang on and try these tofu cooking tips before calling it quits. You might find out, like I did, that when a block of tofu is treated the right way, it repays you with mouthwatering happiness. It’s a true love story.

Want to learn more tofu cooking tips? Check out these 10 Saucy and Flavorful Ways to Cook Tofu by downloading the Food Monster App which is available for both Android and iPhone. The app features more than 10,000 recipes with ten new recipes added daily! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!

Lead image source: Buffalo Tofu Fries

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51 comments on “6 Cooking Tips That Will Make You Love Tofu”

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Sherri Leslie Patton
1 Years Ago

Making Tofu Stir fry tonight! I always marinate Tofu.


Reply
Leslie Giroux Bocian McCaulley
1 Years Ago

I've heard that tofu isn't very good for you. Actually I should be saying that soy isn't good for you. But I have heard that if you buy it a certain way that it is good to eat. Guess I'm confused on the subject. I think I've heard if you eat the straight up Edamame, of course non-gmo, which I think is very hard to find in soy Edamame (the non-gmo). If anyone can help me out here i'd appreciate any information on it. Thanks!


Reply
Sherri Leslie Patton
23 May 2016

Soy is the most genetically modified produce out there...besides Corn. So, they really recommend you buy Non-GMO Soy. Also applies to buying products made with soy. Always buy Non-GMO Vegetarian/Tofu. Also, people who have had Breast cancer must avoid soy, and they even say those with Thyroid conditions.

Miriam Ruth Wallman
23 May 2016

Hey Leslie; it's not true that tofu or soy isn't good for you. It is true that soy is often highly modified and processed so it's important that you source it carefully. It's actually really easy now to purchase organic, non-GMO products now due to consumer demand. Soy stimulates oestrogen production, which is why Sherri says it should be avoided by people with a cancer history or metabolic issues but this is a pretty superficial approach. Soy has been an important protein source for around 2000 years and given the longevity of the Chinese and Japanese people it certainly should not be written off.

Miriam Ruth Wallman
23 May 2016

Hey Leslie; it's not true that tofu or soy isn't good for you. It is true that soy is often highly modified and processed so it's important that you source it carefully. It's actually really easy now to purchase organic, non-GMO products now due to consumer demand. Soy stimulates oestrogen production, which is why Sherri says it should be avoided by people with a cancer history or metabolic issues but this is a pretty superficial approach. Soy has been an important protein source for around 2000 years and given the longevity of the Chinese and Japanese people it certainly should not be written off.

Leslie Giroux Bocian McCaulley
24 May 2016

Thanks for the info Sherri & Miriam. I do like tofu but have steered clear of it as well as corn. I will definitely look for it Organic/Non-Gmo from now on. I do have a thyroid condition so I guess I won't consume it very often then. But now I won't feel so afraid to eat it once in awhile. I've been really focusing on buying what I can organically and Non-Gmo. I feel if we continue to keep buying these products eventually the GMO's will get kicked to the curb and prices will also eventually come down for organics. Thanks again!

Heather Zeleny
24 May 2016

Look for organic tofu.

Hannes David Nuban
1 Years Ago

That's my favorite <3


Reply
Georgia Brown
1 Years Ago

Edward Hawkins


Reply
Georgia Brown
1 Years Ago

Edward Hawkins


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Morgan Rose
1 Years Ago

Paula Germack


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Paula Germack
23 May 2016

Love tofu..

Paula Germack
23 May 2016

Love tofu..

Jesse James
1 Years Ago

Casey Southam-Marsh


Reply
Daniel Smith
1 Years Ago

Christine Ladd


Reply
Chantal Thomas
1 Years Ago

Kendra Thomas


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Bonnie Cantlin Doran
1 Years Ago

The brand I eat is organic and gmo free.


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