What is Tofu?
Tofu, or bean curd, is made from soy milk thickened into curds and pressed into blocks. The texture of the block can range from silken (the softest) to extra firm. The Chinese have been eating tofu for over two thousand years. Tofu is commonly found across East and Southeast Asian traditional cuisines, but can be a staple in any diet.
Tofu is both low in calories and high in protein, iron, and calcium. It is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the nine essential amino acids. Other soybean-based proteins include edamame and tempeh.
While silken tofu has a lower protein content than other kinds, its soft and smooth texture can serve as a great plant-based substitute for dairy in both sweet and savory dishes. You can blend it into a sauce, make vegan cream cheese, and vegan chocolate mousse! Silken tofu with miso soup makes for a healthy and easy-to-make meal.
Pressed tofu can be used in endless recipes! It is a versatile ingredient that can be eaten directly from the block, crumbled, or sliced into cubes or triangles. You can bake or pan-fry it, and even eat it raw. This protein does not have a strong taste on its own, so you can marinate and season it to your liking. For breakfast, you could make scrambled tofu seasoned to taste just like scrambled eggs. For lunch, you could make a pan-fried teriyaki bowl with brown rice and your favorite vegetables. For dinner, you could make jerk tacos with mango avocado salsa and red cabbage, as shown below. Trying new foods can be daunting; you’ve got this! Try freezing and thawing it for a meatier texture!
Recipe: Crispy, Oven-Baked Tofu
Ready in 30 min after fully pressed
- One block tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, if gluten free
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- Press the tofu. It is important to press it in advance of cooking to remove extra liquid from the block. You can wrap the block in a fresh towel, place it on a plate, and place a heavy object on top for at least 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut your block into cubes and place on a non-stick baking sheet, greased or with parchment paper.
- Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce and sprinkle with other seasonings.
- Add enough cornstarch to coat all pieces evenly and toss.
- Then, bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until is golden brown and crispy. Stir halfway through cooking time.
- Enjoy in a salad, nourish bowl, or even on its own!
By Illana Issula
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