Tofu 101: 8 ways to use the plant-based protein

By ParentsCanada staff on April 30, 2019

 

Give tofu a chance. Please! If you think that tofu is bland, boring, too squishy and too fussy, chances are you're preparing it wrong. It's a simple protein (that also packs iron), but it does require a little bit of work. Just like you would take care seasoning a steak for the grill, tofu needs you to show up for it, too. Here's the DL on the plant-based protein. *

What is pressing tofu?

Tofu is a fairly wet ingredient. To max its potential you'll see recipes often ask you to drain or press it. To do this, wrap it in a clean kitchen or paper towel and place something heavy on it for about 10 minutes. Cans of beans, a marble cutting board or a cast-iron pan will do just fine. Once your tofu is pressed, you're ready to marinate or do whatever else you want. 

Tofu types

Silken

This is the softest version of tofu with a custard-like texture. And this one isn't going to need any patting or pressing to release excess water. You can buy it already flavoured and slurp it up, but if you really want to get down to business, you'll want to try the following:

French toast
To replace eggs in the classic brunch dish, add silken tofu to a blender along with some nutritional yeast, vanilla extract, plant-based milk, cinnamon and a bit of sugar. Soak your day-old bread in that then fry it just like you would normally and just wait for your mind to be blown. 

Mousse
Again, here comes silken tofu to the party masquerading as an egg. To make a perfectly airy mousse worth writing home about, reach for the silken tofu and your blender. Add in some maple syrup or sugar, cocoa powder, melted chocolate and vanilla. Coconut whip on top is optional but strongly encouraged. 

Medium

Medium tofu isn't as soft as silken but it's still a little delicate. You can go ahead and give it a careful press. Don't use this for grilling, though. Instead save it for soups, stir-fry or eggless egg salad.

"Egg" salad
You're going to be all over this because it's way easier than boiling and peeling eggs, and smells a lot more pleasant, too. To make an egg-less egg salad, crumble medium tofu into a bowl with turmeric (this makes it yellow), black salt (also called kala namak, it's kiln-fired and sulphuric. You can buy it on Amazon.), pepper, some onion and garlic powder, chopped green onion or chives. Basically anything goes here. Add vegan mayo (use regular, if that's your thing) and a touch of paprika. Yes! 

Firm and extra firm

Extra firm and firm are likely to be your most-used tofus.

"Cheese"
Whirl it up in a blender with nutritional yeast, lemon juice and oregano to make a dead-ringer ricotta or with salt, lemon juice, coconut oil and salt to make a crumbly feta (search online for recipes). 

Nuggets 
Just like you would do with chicken, cut tofu into pieces (nugget-shaped, if you like) and dredge in flour, plant-based milk and a breadcrumb mix to make a tasty, and maybe toddler-accepted meal. 

Tofu scramble 
Scrambled eggs are cool, but tofu scramble packs a lot of flavour and nutrients. This is another recipe that you can adapt however you like, but the premise is to saute onion and garlic, add crumbled tofu, nutritional yeast and spices —Turmeric for that yellow "egg" colour, garlic powder, salt and pepper and whatever else you'd like. If you like a wetter egg, add a splash of plant-based milk. 

Crumbled "meat"
Crumble extra firm tofu in a spice mix (you could even use store-bought taco mix) and bake to create your own "beef" for tacos or bolognese. 

Grilled/baked 
You know this way. Cut tofu into slices or cubes, marinate then bake, grill or stir-fry. This is one of the easiest ways to use tofu, just make sure it's properly pressed and marinated. Add to grain bowls, salads, wraps or eat alongside your sides, just like you would meat. 

*This list is just a guideline, if you want to find exact measurements for some of these examples, try searching on Pinterest using keywords like "tofu scramble" or "tofu ricotta." 


April 30, 2019

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