Top 8 Tofu Recipes: Ways to Cook and Incorporate Tofu
So, what do you think of when you hear the word tofu? Is it "tasteless" or "vegetarian food" or maybe even "gross"? If so, then you have not really tasted tofu. This high-protein, cholesterol-lowering super food is delicious when cooked correctly. However, when cooked incorrectly it is disgustingly bland, pale, and unappealing. Tofu can be crunchy likes fries and have an Asian cuisine flavor, or it can be soft and have a more Mediterranean taste. It can be put into countless dishes to add taste, add crunch, or add protein. Remember that tofu is a flavor sponge, what ever flavors you surround it with, it will absorb.
Tofu literally is soybean curd, which sounds gross. Basically soy beans are left to soak in water, then ground into the water. This is soy milk. The milk is then left to curdle, put into cheese cloths just like when real cheese is being made. It is then left to dry, and tada!
First, you can watch this brief video describing the three different kinds of tofu so you have some background info.
Health Benefits of Tofu
Here are my favorite ways to cook or use tofu. I'm only giving brief descriptions and ingredients, however, for more details, leave a comment below and I will be glad to post the entire recipes.
1. Baked Tofu
This is one of my favorite ways to cook tofu. All you have to do so that the Tofu isn’t flavorless and mooshy is marinade it! Cut a package (16 ounce) of extra-firm or firm tofu into 1 inch cubes. Then lather in marinade and cover with tin foil. Leave covered in fridge overnight. Then line a baking pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then poor the tofu and marinade into the pan, spreading into only one layer of cubes. Don’t forget to get all the extra delicious marinade from the covered bowl into the pan.
Here’s my marinade recipe, just mix all these ingredients together.
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1 if you don’t like garlic as much)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp honey (if you want)
2. Fried Tofu
This is my favorite way of cooking tofu. First you cut the package of firm or extra-firm tofu into small rectangles (an inch long and wide and 1/2 inch thick). Put olive oil into a frying pan and put it on medium to high heat. Then put tofu on the pan for six to seven minutes (DON’T TOUCH THEM) until you can see the golden crust forming on the bottom. Season these with paprika, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt. Then flip the tofu and season the other side. This side only has to cook for around four minutes. If you need more oil, then poor it on, but not too much, greasy tofu is the worst.
This is great for stir fries, rice, pilaf, pastas (I will talk about later), dipping into peanut or soy sauce, or just on their own. They’re my favorite alternative to fries because they’re crunchy and salty like fries, but way healthier.
3. Put it Into a Quiche
This is absolutely delicious. I cut the tofu into cubes and make the filling of the quiche with it. I make my filling with red peppers, green peppers, celery, grated carrots, dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, soy sauce, salt, minced garlic, and minced jalapeno. If you want the full recipe, let me know.
4. Put it into a Salad
This is a great way to get protein in your salads without meat. I usually used the fried tofu that I've already talked about. I usually pair it with romaine lettuce, peppers, carrots, onions and balsamic vinaigrette. This is perhaps one of the healthiest ways to eat tofu and it’s a great alternative to croutons because they are both crunchy and delicious.
5. Put it Into Rice/Pilaf/Pasta
This is an excellent way to spice up your rice. I like to make my pilaf/rice with long-grain brown rice, cilantro, cubed tofu, cubed zucchini, diced tomatoes, cumin seeds, basil, chopped celery, diced peppers, soy sauce, ginger, minced jalapeno, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, and cashew pieces. In the pasta, I like to put broccoli, carrot, pesto, basil, green beans and pepper.
6. Put it into a Soup
Tofu is the perfect way to make a dull soup have some texture and be a little crunchy. I like to cook mushrooms, spinach, tofu, and scallions in a saucepan with some rice vinegar and vegetable broth. Then I add a cooked package of noodles. This is yummy and really healthy (especially if you get wheat noodles).
7. Make it into a Calzone
This is delicious when the filling is made with spinach, mushroom, minced garlic, diced onion, diced celery, nutritional yeast, a tiny bit of flour, olive oil, basil, oregano, diced shitake mushrooms, diced tofu, black pepper, and some diced red bell pepper. This filling is great in ravioli as well.
8. Make Tofu Patties
This is a great way to have a burger without the unhealthy calories and fat. First you put a package of tofu into a food processor, (or mash it yourself with a potato masher). In a sauce pan, sauté minced garlic, corn, thyme, basil, coriander, cumin, parsley, minced celery, minced ginger, and some black pepper in olive oil. Now mix the veggie/spice mixture with 1 cup cooled brown rice, 1/3 cup flour, and the tofu mash. Once all mixed, form into balls and then flatten into 3/4 inch thick disks. Cook at 375 for about 25 minutes. Serve with spicy tomato sauce, tahini sauce, or salsa. Yum yum yum!
Want to learn more about cooking with tofu? You may find these helpful...
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