Tofu is an intriguing food. That’s not just because it does wonders for recipes when it comes to adding texture, but because it’s difficult for the average person to categorize.
Think of any fruit or veggie. When you look at most of them, you can tell right away whether it’s been cooked or not and what type of food it is.
This isn’t necessarily true for tofu. It’s a nondescript, pale block with a slightly bouncy texture before you cook it. Because of its appearance and feel, categorizing it seems impossible.
Like veggies and fruits, is tofu raw? Or has it been cooked somehow before it ends up in your fridge? Those are questions we’ll be answering for you. If you're into raw diets and you like raw food recipes, check out our list of the best raw food cookbooks for vegans.
Is Tofu Raw?
If you define a raw food as one that hasn’t been cooked yet, you could say tofu is only sort of raw. In our post here, we discuss how tofu has been both cooked and pasteurized before being sold in stores, as well as the safety of eating it without cooking it.
That means that it technically isn’t raw – at least, not in the sense you normally think of the word. However, many consider it “raw” simply because it has a sponge-like and cold feel that changes completely after you cook it.
Can You Eat Tofu without Cooking It?
Yes, you can absolutely eat tofu without cooking it. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference when it comes to texture.
“Raw” tofu is just curdled soy milk. It’s pressed into that familiar block shape, then cooked. There is minimal risk to you when you eat it straight out of the package.
However, we do recommend draining the liquid from the package prior to eating it. This is not because you’ll be harmed if you drink it, but just because we think uncooked tofu is better without the sliminess of the liquid.
Read Also: Is Tofu a Processed Food?
Can You Get Food Poisoning from Tofu?
As we mentioned earlier, tofu is already cooked, in a way. Because tofu is not raw meat, it doesn’t have the same risk of pathogens. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get food poisoning from tofu – it’s just not likely.
Food poisoning occurs generally when pathogens get mixed into your food. This can be caused by many things, such as someone who’s sick handling your food, or your food sitting in the ideal temperature range for too long. These are both things that can happen to tofu.
Cooking your tofu is the best way to guarantee safety. If you’re going to eat it uncooked, though, make sure you keep it refrigerated at all times until you eat it to prevent the growth of any microorganisms on it.
Because tofu isn’t an animal byproduct, it’s not really raw in the normal sense of the word. It’s also technically cooked before you ever even buy it, which means it’s fairly safe to eat prior to you cooking it.
However, if you want to absolutely guarantee safety, it’s always best to cook your tofu before consuming it. We also think this leads to a more enjoyable texture and prefer cooking it, anyway.