What Should I Do With Tofu? Ultimate Guide to Tofu Mastery

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Are you looking for new and creative ways to use tofu in your cooking? Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet, tofu is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. In this article, we’ll provide tips on how to prepare and cook tofu, as well as some delicious recipes that showcase its versatility. From stir-fries to salads, we’ll give you plenty of inspiration for making the most of this beloved food.

what should i do with tofu

Understanding Tofu

Tofu is a versatile food made from soybeans that serves as a popular ingredient in many cuisines, particularly in vegetarian and vegan diets. It is a plant-based protein that comes in various forms, and it offers numerous nutritional benefits. In this section, we will explore the types of tofu, nutritional benefits, and some cooking techniques to help you incorporate tofu into your diet.

Types of Tofu

There are various types of tofu, each with unique textures and uses in different recipes.

  • Silken Tofu: This smooth, delicate, and custard-like tofu is perfect for blending into smoothies, making creamy desserts, or mixing into soups and sauces. It requires gentle handling and doesn’t need pressing before using.
  • Soft Tofu: Slightly firmer than silken tofu, soft tofu retains more water and works well in soups or stews where it can absorb flavors from the broth.
  • Medium Tofu: With a bit more firmness than soft tofu, medium tofu is versatile and can be scrambled, pan-fried, or baked. It can also be crumbled and used in place of cheese in some dishes.
  • Firm Tofu: This type of tofu holds its shape well and is suitable for slicing, dicing, or marinating. It is ideal for stir-fries, grilling, or baking.
  • Extra-firm Tofu: With the densest texture, extra-firm tofu holds up well in most cooking methods, including frying, sautéing, and grilling. It needs to be pressed to remove excess water before use.

Nutritional Benefits

Tofu offers a wide range of nutritional benefits that make it a healthy choice for many diets. Some key nutrients found in tofu include:

  • Protein: Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans looking to incorporate more protein into their diets. A 3.5-ounce serving of firm tofu contains approximately 8 grams of protein.
  • Fiber: Made from soybeans, tofu naturally contains dietary fiber, which helps to support a healthy digestive system.
  • Iron: As a plant-based source of iron, tofu can help maintain and support healthy blood production and circulation. A 3.5-ounce serving of firm tofu provides roughly 12% of the recommended daily intake of iron.
  • Calcium: Tofu is a good source of calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth. Calcium-set tofu can contain even higher amounts of this vital nutrient.
  • Potassium: This essential mineral, found in tofu, helps regulate blood pressure and supports muscle and nerve function.

Using tofu in a variety of dishes allows you to take advantage of its nutritional properties and versatility. Whether you choose to enjoy it fried, marinated, blended, or baked, tofu offers a tasty and nutritionally beneficial addition to your meals.

Preparation Techniques

Pressing Tofu

First, it’s essential to understand the different types of tofu available, such as firm, soft, extra-firm, medium, and super-firm. Regardless of the type, pressing tofu is a crucial step to remove excess liquid and achieve a desirable texture. To press tofu, you’ll need a tofu press or an alternative method using paper towels and a weight.

Place the tofu between paper towels and put it on a flat surface. Add a weight, such as a heavy skillet or a stack of books, evenly on top of the tofu. Press for at least 30 minutes to eliminate as much water as possible1. Pressing can take up to 2 hours for super-firm tofu.

Seasoning and Marinating

Once your tofu is pressed, it’s time to add flavor. Tofu is known for its versatility and ability to absorb various seasonings and spices. Create a marinade using a mixture of olive oil, sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, onion, salt, and other seasonings of your choice. Soak the tofu in the marinade for at least 30 minutes2.

Take it a step further by freezing the tofu before marinating3. Doing so helps improve the absorption of flavors and creates an even tastier result. Simply defrost the tofu after freezing and proceed with the marination process.

For a crispy and delicious finish, coat your marinated tofu in cornstarch4. This step is especially useful when frying or baking, giving the tofu a delectable crust.

Cooking Methods

There are several cooking methods you can use for tofu, depending on your desired taste and texture:

  1. Pan-frying: Cube the pressed and marinated tofu, then sauté it in a non-stick skillet over medium heat5. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often to achieve a lovely golden-brown color on all sides.
  2. Baking: Cut your pressed and marinated tofu into slices or cubes6. Place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, basting with additional sauce as needed. This method works well with cornstarch-coated tofu for a crispier texture.
  3. Stir-frying: For a delicious stir-fry, cook your diced tofu with a combination of vegetables and additional sauce in a hot wok or pan. Keep stirring to avoid sticking, and ensure even cooking.

By following these general guidelines, you can create a multitude of delicious dishes using tofu. Remember to stay creative with your choice of seasonings and spices, allowing the tofu to take on a wide range of flavors to suit any palate.


  1. Food Network
  2. wikiHow
  3. The Kitchn
  4. Allrecipes
  5. Allrecipes – Pan-Fried Tofu
  6. Allrecipes – Baked Tofu

Tofu Recipes

Tofu, a versatile and nutritious ingredient, can be used in a variety of dishes. In this section, we will explore various tofu recipes for different meals, including breakfast and brunch, main dishes, salads and sides, as well as desserts and smoothies.

Breakfast and Brunch

Tofu can be a great addition to your morning routine. For instance, try making a tofu scramble by combining crumbled firm tofu with vegetables and seasonings. Another option is a tofu quiche that incorporates silken tofu for a creamy texture. Additionally, you can create delicious breakfast sandwiches by frying tofu patties and pairing them with your favorite toppings and condiments.

Main Dishes

When it comes to main dishes, tofu can be used as a protein substitute in many recipes. Some popular options include:

  • Tofu stir-fry: Combine tofu with vegetables, noodles, or rice and coat them in a flavorful sauce.
  • Tofu curry: Mix tofu, vegetables, and curry sauce, then serve it over rice or quinoa.
  • Tofu tacos: Fill a tortilla with crumbled or sliced tofu, sautéed vegetables, and your favorite taco toppings.
  • Fried tofu: Season and coat tofu pieces in a crispy batter, then serve them as a main dish or appetizer.

Salads and Sides

Tofu can also be incorporated into salads and side dishes for a nutrient-packed addition. A popular option is a tofu salad with mixed greens, vegetables, and a flavorful dressing. You can also add tofu to grain-based salads for added protein, like a quinoa and tofu salad. For a side dish, consider making crispy tofu bites coated in your favorite seasoning or sauce.

Desserts and Smoothies

Silken tofu can be used as a base for desserts, as it provides a creamy texture without the need for dairy. Create a delicious tofu pudding by blending silken tofu with cocoa powder, sweetener and vanilla extract. In addition to desserts, silken tofu can be added to smoothies for a nutrient boost without altering the taste. Simply blend silken tofu with fruits, leafy greens, and your choice of liquid for a creamy and satisfying smoothie.

In summary, tofu offers numerous options for incorporating it into your meals, whether it be breakfast, main dishes, salads and sides, or desserts and smoothies. With its mild flavor and ability to absorb seasonings, the possibilities for delicious and nutritious tofu recipes are seemingly endless.

Creative Tofu Dishes

Tofu, a versatile and nutritious ingredient, can be transformed into numerous delicious dishes. In this section, we will explore a variety of creative tofu dishes, focusing on tofu stir-fry, tofu and grilled vegetables, baked tofu dishes, and tofu-based soups.

Tofu Stir-Fry

Tofu stir-fry is a popular and easy-to-make dish that can include a variety of vegetables and flavors. Start by marinating the tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, chili oil, and ginger. Then, fry up a mix of vegetables such as broccoli, snow peas, green beans, peppers, and green onions in vegetable oil until they are tender-crisp. Add the marinated tofu and cook until heated through. Finally, add fresh cilantro and serve over brown rice for a delicious, healthy meal. Experiment with different sauces, like teriyaki or sweet and sour, to change up the flavors.

Tofu and Grilled Vegetables

Grilling tofu and vegetables provides a delightful smoky flavor to the dish. Slice tofu and marinate it in a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce, and garlic. Choose an assortment of vegetables, such as eggplant, mushrooms, and bell peppers, and skewer them with the marinated tofu. Grill the skewers until they are cooked through, occasionally basting them with the marinade. Sprinkle some chopped green onions and cilantro on top before serving over brown rice or as a side dish to your favorite grilled protein.

Baked Tofu Dishes

Baking tofu offers an alternative to frying, resulting in a healthy and flavorsome dish. To create a baked tofu dish, marinate extra-firm tofu in a tasty mixture of soy sauce and chili oil, as seen in Bon Appétit. You can also coat tofu slices with a mixture of spices like paprika, cumin, and garlic powder, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake the tofu until crispy and slightly charred, around 20 to 30 minutes. Pair the baked tofu with roasted or steamed vegetables for a well-rounded, nutritious meal.

Tofu-Based Soups

Tofu can also act as a wonderful addition to a variety of soups, such as miso soup. Start with a rich miso broth, made by whisking miso paste and hot water in a saucepan. Add thinly sliced green onions, diced tofu, and your choice of vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, or snow peas. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro, and serve it as a warm and comforting appetizer or a standalone meal.

By incorporating tofu into these creative dishes, you can enjoy the many nutritional benefits and flavors that this versatile ingredient has to offer.

Tofu Alternatives and Additions

When experimenting with tofu dishes, there are several ways to blend, substitute, and pair this versatile ingredient with other foods. This section will explore various ideas for incorporating tofu into your meals to enhance flavors and textures, while keeping it vegetarian-friendly and healthy.

Tofu and Cheese Blends

Tofu can be effectively combined with cheeses like ricotta to create delightful spreads or fillings for dishes such as stuffed shells, lasagna, or ravioli. Mix together equal parts tofu and ricotta, then season with herbs or spices of your choice. Consider adding in diced tomato, balsamic vinegar, or a touch of honey to bring out unique flavors in the blend. This mixture can be used as a nutritious and tasty vegetarian option in many recipes.

Substituting Tofu for Eggs

Tofu works surprisingly well as an egg substitute in dishes such as egg salad, quiches, or frittatas. To make a tofu-based egg salad, simply crumble firm tofu into small pieces, then combine it with your favorite egg salad ingredients, such as diced vegetables, reduced-fat sour cream, and spices. Tofu can also replace eggs in frittatas and quiches, providing an alternative that’s lower in cholesterol and high in plant-based protein.

Tofu and Meat Pairings

If you’re not strictly vegetarian but want to incorporate tofu into your meals while still enjoying some meat, there are several options for pairing tofu with meats. One popular choice is adding tofu to stir-fries or other dishes that typically include meat, such as chicken, beef, or shrimp. Marinating the tofu with your choice of sauce, like a savory peanut sauce, can give it an extra burst of flavor. This combination will not only provide additional protein but also help to reduce the total amount of meat consumed in a meal, making it a healthy choice.