Kaki, this isn’t news to you, but tofu, man, tofu gets a bad rap. It’s the butt of every freakin’ vegetarian joke. “Ha, she’s vegan? Careful, all she’ll serve you is tofu!” Ugh. It’s an attitude that seriously irritates me.
There are so many great ways to use tofu! I’m on a hardcore tofu kick at the moment, trying recipe after recipe. Pan fried and blended and baked, it just has so much potential. And, my favorite, it’s pretty freakin’ cheap.
I think the main problem people face with tofu is getting over the mental hurdle of “this is a fake meat”. Nope. Nope, it isn’t. It’s its own thing entirely. Adding protein to a meal is the only thing they really have in common.
Still, I get it. With its reputation it can be an intimidating ingredient at first. How do you cook it? Do you have to press it? Do you have to marinade it? Do you need silken or soft or firm or extra firm? I’m by no means an expert, but here are some guides, some tried-and-true recipes, and some recipes I’m dying to try.
The Kitchn’s What is Tofu, Exactly?
Short answer? It’s soybeans. Long answer? Read their article!
The Kitchn’s Guide to Tofu Varieties
Solving “silken vs. soft” and “firm vs. extra firm” once and for all.
Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on Tofu
I heart Alton. So much. This is twenty minutes of your life you didn’t know you needed to experience.
Recipes I Love
Mooless Chocolate Pie
You guys, you can make healthy chocolate pie with this stuff! If that’s not enough to convert someone, I’m out of ideas.
Baked Tofu with Red Onions and Dill
This is my other go-to, “Oh you think you don’t like tofu huh well try this!” recipe. Served over brown rice it is a great quick dinner. The combination of the olive oil, mustard, red onion, and dill… it is perfection.
This, this right here is the breakfast of champions. I’ve made this three times in the past month. Cannot get enough!
Recipes I Want to Try
Tofu Chickpea Stir-Fry with Tahini Sauce with Marinated and Baked Tofu
I was all set to make this tonight. Until I got home and realized I didn’t have any chickpeas, and actually no beans at all except black beans, which for whatever reason in my brain just would. not. do. Instead, I’ve got the baked tofu and the sauce to go into a salad for lunch tomorrow. Will report back.
Crispy Tofu Bites*
I want these to be amazing. I want them to look just like those pictures. And frankly, I want the breading to freakin’ work. I have terrible luck with things that are breaded. Someday I will conquer that particular kitchen foe.
Tofu in a Lemon, Soy, White Wine, and Butter Sauce
Doesn’t the name pretty much say it all? Also, it’s from the same chef that created the killer dill-baked tofu above. So, should be pretty great.
I get it, people love bacon. Heck, I love bacon! But a restaurant in town makes the most amazing faux-BLT, and I must replicate it. Must. This recipe from my friend Katrina seems like a good place to start:
Extra firm tofu sliced really thin. I didn’t drain it, but it might be a bit better if you have time. Heat some canola oil in a skillet on medium high. Then add the tofu. Brown on each side (about 7 min for me). Toward the end of cooking, add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp liquid smoke, and some salt and pepper.
I got it into my head recently that I want to make homemade dumplings. Not that we needed further proof that I’m a crazy person in the kitchen. But now, to use The Kitchn’s recipe, or Smitten Kitchen’s take on Alton’s?**
Happy tofu-enjoying, Kaki!
*I am suddenly reminded of those amazing spinach “nuggets” you got in college all the time. Those were the *perfect* snack, are they still made? I’ve got to check the frozen aisle next time I’m at the store.
**This is one of the most #firstworldproblems things I’ve said in a while. That, and when I complained to you over email about how I accidentally left a bottle of unopened wine at a BYOB restaurant at the end of a not-so-great day this week. Thanks for listening to that, by the way.
Dear Cait: About two hours before you posted this, I made a tofu stir-fry. As he saw me cooking it, Andrew said, “I don’t know. Tofu makes me cautious.” It was, for the record, incredible, and I will post it this weekend. I also can’t wait to make moo-less chocolate pie.