Tofu 101

Publish Date March 20, 2024 3 Minute Read

How to Cook Tofu

Tofu is a versatile and delicious plant-based protein that’s primarily known for its use in many Asian foods. But did you know that it can also be used in almost any meal? Whether you’re trying to cut back on meat or you’re just curious about adding something new to your recipe repertoire, we’ve created a helpful guide with everything you need to know about tofu.

Choosing the Right Tofu

There are many kinds of tofu available, and choosing the right one can make or break a recipe. But don’t worry - it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. A good rule of thumb is to stick with firm tofu options when you’re replacing meat, or when making recipes that require the tofu to hold its shape and texture well.Soft tofu works best in dips or as a vegan replacement for certain cheeses or eggs. Let’s break it down further to make sure you choose the right tofu.

Firm tofu is sold in blocks according to the firmness level: extra-firm, firm and medium-firm. Extra-firm tofu holds its shape well, so it’s the best option if you’re planning to slice it or cube it. Firm tofu works well with almost anything, since it’s sturdy and can stand up to vigorous cooking methods (but has a softer bite than extra-firm, which can be a bit tough). Any firm tofu would be perfect in this Plant Based Bahn Mi. Medium-firm tofu can be cut and sliced, but it may fall apart when pan-frying. The medium-firm texture also works very well when battered and baked or fried.

Silken tofu, sometimes called soft tofu, comes primarily in 2 textures: soft (or silken) and firm. Silken tofu is much softer than the firm tofu and needs to be handled gently. Silken tofu works well in sauces and dips since its texture is delicate and creamy. It’s also a wonderful vegan egg replacement. Firm silken tofu holds its shape a bit better than soft tofu and can be cut, making it perfect for soups and stews.

How to Season Tofu

Tofu has very little flavor on its own, which means it readily takes on whatever flavors you add to it. From marinades to spices, let’s look at some of the best ways to season tofu.

Best used with firm tofu. Gently press some of the liquid out of your block of tofu before placing it in a resealable bag or storage container. Pour your marinade of choice over the tofu block and let it sit in the fridge for about 2 hours. Use marinated tofu for baked tofu recipes.

Using firm tofu, press some of the water from the block before rubbing on your spice blend. Be gentle so that you don ’t break the tofu apart. This method is great for fried tofu since the spices can be added to dry breading, such as panko.

Silken tofu varieties often get a lot of their flavor from the broth they’re served in. The longer the tofu sits in the bubbling broth, the more flavor it will take on.

Tofu Recipes

Cooking Tofu 101

Tofu is such a versatile protein that it’s easy to add to any weekly menu. Once you learn how to cook tofu and try some easy tofu recipes, you’ll want to try using it every way you can think of.

When baking tofu, you want to make sure that you’ve chosen a firm block and pressed some of the water from it. After seasoning, bake at 400°F for just 15 minutes. Tofu can get crispy in the oven, and for the optimal crispy crunch, it helps to toss the tofu in a bit of cornstarch before baking. Baked tofu is a great meatless alternative to chicken nuggets, and an easy a way to add a crispy bite to a stir-fry.

Air Fryer
Press the liquid from your firm tofu and season as desired. Cube your tofu and either toss it in cornstarch or spray with a cooking spray before placing the cubes into the air fryer basket. Heat your air fryer to 400°F and cook for 10 minutes. You can then add the cubes to rice or noodle bowls for quick and easy meal prep.

Using a firm to extra-firm tofu, press the liquid from the block and season if desired. Slice your tofu and carefully add a few pieces at a time tohot oil. Try not to move the tofu pieces other than flipping them for the best golden-brown color. Fry each side for about 5 minutes before flipping. Remove and let them drain and cool a bit before eating. Fried tofu is great for topping a salad or adding to a rice bowl.

Slice your tofu into thick pieces and season as desired. Brush the grates of your grill with oil to keep the tofu slices from sticking. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until grill marks are visible. Grilled tofu is perfect for adding to a seasonal veggie mix or spring rolls.

Tofu Recipe Staples

Ready to Start Cooking?

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