Most people have heard of tofu, but not everyone has tried it for one reason or another. Maybe you think it sounds gross, or perhaps you just haven’t had the chance to try it. Often, tofu gets a bad reputation for being bland or squishy. However, that is all dependent on how it is cooked. Tofu can be a delicious and hearty meat alternative, and you can customize it to fit your tastes.
First of all, what is tofu? Tofu is a soybean product made from coagulated soy milk. That may sound a little gross, but it is essentially the same thing as a soft, vegan cheese. Tofu can have varying firmness from soft to extra firm. Tofu can also be dried or cooked in many ways. Tofu does not have to be soft or squishy if you don’t like that texture.
Tofu can be used in place of meat and as the main focus of the dish, or as an ingredient. Tofu must be seasoned well or paired with a sauce in order to achieve a vibrant flavor. Tofu does not have a large amount of flavor on its own. Tofu is a great ingredient for soups, pasta or noodles, and other dishes. The possibilities are endless!
A great first introduction to tofu is through miso soup. This is a comforting, savory soup with a broth base. Often, miso soup contains nori or seaweed and small chunks of tofu. The tofu is not the main focus of the dish, and it lends itself well to the flavor of the soup as a whole.
From there, tofu can be incorporated into hundreds of dishes. While it originated in Asia, tofu does not have to be used solely in Asian cooking. Tofu can replace meat in everything from Pad Thai to tacos. It can also be used in place of scrambled eggs. By pan-frying or roasting tofu, it will have a much more solid texture than when boiled or eaten raw.
Tofu is praised for its abundance of protein. It is a great way for vegans and vegetarians to ensure that they are eating enough protein to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Aside from protein, tofu contains many nutrients such as manganese and calcium along with several others.
Cooking with tofu may seem intimidating at first, but don’t be afraid to try it out for yourself. For ideas on what to make and some recipes featuring tofu, check out the Foods Alive Pinterest page and find some inspiration! Happy cooking!