Tofu seems to be a divisive ingredient, primarily among carnivores who feel like this meat substitute has a strange texture and isn't hardy enough to actually hit the spot. (That presumption comes from this writer's personal experience.) But the truth is that tofu is incredibly tasty and versatile when you know how to cook it, and it might even make you feel fuller for longer. Prepared well, it anchors and enhances a range of satisfying dishes, and also happens to be rich in protein and calcium, but low in calories and fat content. So if you have grievances against this plant-based food, we promise that the right cooking method and recipes will change your mind and also deliver all those aforementioned health benefits.
If it's already one of your favorites, you're in the right place too. We rounded up six foodie-friendly tofu recipes to try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that all feature a different cooking method, from roasted to grilled, scrambled, pan-fried, and over-baked. Read on to brush up on your kitchen skills and learn how to cook tofu so it tastes delicious and unique every time you make it. You have a nourishing, bloatation-free ramen bowl and photogenic stuffed avocado recipe to look forward to, just to name a couple do-gooders that lie ahead.
Southwestern Tofu Scramble
How to Cook Tofu on the Stovetop: This one is great for vegans since tofu can be a great substitute for eggs, thanks to that light, fluffy texture and ability to soak up the flavors of anything you pair it with. Just remember to pat it dry before crumbling it into little pieces and tossing it in a skillet with the veggies the recipe calls for.
The Recipe: With only a handful of ingredients plus a few spices, this recipe is super simple. And for being so easy to make, it's also packed with a lot of nutrients, making it the ideal meal to jump-start your day. The Minimalist Baker says it only takes a quick 20 minutes.
Diced Tofu With Poached Eggs
How to Cook Tofu in a Skillet: Opt for firm tofu, and don't forget to soak up the water by patting it dry ahead of time. Diced, bite-size tofu should only take about three to four minutes to brown in a skillet over medium-high heat. This way, it won't taste overly chewy or mushy.
The Recipe: This recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon is perfect for anyone who wants to add an extra kick of protein to their morning egg dish. If you're vegan, just skip the poached egg on top and add in some extra tofu for a larger portion. With diced zucchini, squash, yellow onion, cremini mushrooms, corn, and of course those perfect cubes of tofu, this is a great breakfast option, especially if you prefer bite-size tofu to the crumbled tofu in the previous recipe.
Tofu- and Broccoli-Stuffed Avocados
How to Cook Tofu on the Grill: Before you toss the tofu on the grill, you'll want to let it soak up a flavor-packed marinade first. This recipe calls for a marinade of mustard, garlic, chives, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chili flakes. Then, you simply place it on the grill and cook it until it's lightly charred. The secret is in using firm tofu and flipping it carefully since it can be fragile.
The Recipe: This recipe from The First Mess is light, interesting, and vibrant enough to put on display. Once your tofu and broccoli florets have soaked up that garlicky and lemony deliciousness and charred on the grill, it doesn't stop there. When it's all together, you get to top it with a sweet lemon curry sauce.
Tofu Cooking Essentials:
Crispy Tofu and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
How to Oven-Bake Tofu: Yes, tofu can be crunchy, too. Mitzy at home swears that the secret to achieving the perfect crunch is oven-baking it rather than pan-frying. In her words, "It's insanely superior to the stovetop method," and it only requires a teaspoon of oil.
The Recipe: The golden brown tofu bites contrast perfectly with the fresh, light shaved Brussels sprouts and creamy avocado. Tossed in a slightly sweet honey mustard dressing, this is the perfect salad to enjoy for lunch that also happens to deliver plenty of protein.
Garlic Pepper Ramen With Roasted Tofu
How to Roast Tofu: Roasting tofu is another amazing way to prepare it. Roasted tofu adds a crispy balance to the meal, and using a tofu press before roasting it gives it a perfectly chewy texture. If you don't have the kitchen tool, just make sure to pat it dry. This roasted tofu recipe from The First Mess also calls for a chili garlic sauce for an extra bite.
The Recipe: The First Mess uses an incredibly tasty method for making veggie stock soup, so if you don't want to make a bone broth at home or are looking for something that won't leave you bloated, this is a yummy option. Instead of using random scraps, be deliberate with what you toss into the simmering water. Don't load on the salt, either, since there will be enough in the other ingredients, and too much will result in water retention. The base is about 1/4 carrots, 1/4 celery, and 1/2 onions, with secondary ingredients like leeks, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme. This broth, paired with slurpable noodles, chili garlic roasted tofu, and thinly sliced veggies, proves that healthy homemade ramen is totally possible, and maybe even better than our sodium-heavy favorites.
Classic Tofu Stir-Fry
How to Oven-Bake Tofu: This recipe is a classic tofu dish, yet the way it's prepared is unlike anything you've ever tried. Dana of Minimalist Baker picked up the cooking trick from a waitress when she thought she was enjoying fried tofu, only discover it was in fact baked. The latter is healthier but tastes just as indulgent, so it's the best of both worlds. Just like the aforementioned Brussels sprout salad, the answer lies in patting it dry and then setting it out to dry before oven-baking it at a high temperature until it's browned.
The Recipe: Not only will the tofu be a perfect, meat-like consistency, but the sauce in this stir-fry is good enough to drink by the gallons (though it's probably best not to do that). It's a glorious combination of low-sodium soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Keep things light by enjoying it with a medley of veggies, or serve it over rice for a hardier spin.
What is your favorite method for cooking tofu? Share with us in the comments below.