Whether your intention is to increase your recipe rotation for plant-based proteins or cater to vegetarian guests, the following assortment of inventive and traditional dishes is certain to satisfy.
Our Best Ideas for Tofu
There are numerous forms of tofu, including puffs, skins, strips, and blocks (with textures spanning from silken to extra firm). Although it can be utilized as a plant-based or vegan alternative to protein in numerous dishes, it has also been a fundamental component in a vast array of cuisines for centuries, particularly those from East and Southeast Asia. Whether they are inventive (whipped tofu marinade) or more traditional (mapo tofu), these tofu-first dishes are delightful in and of themselves.
1. Salt and Pepper Tofu
Stir-frying anything with salt and pepper (shrimp, calamari, or tofu) is a popular dish found in the majority of Chinese restaurants. Delightfully gratifying is the combination of the wok hey (breath of the wok) and the savory flavors of garlic, chile pepper, spices, and especially the renowned salt-pepper mixture. The tofu variant, referred to as ziu jim dau fu in Cantonese, exemplifies the finest qualities of this plant-based protein: its exterior is golden and crisp, while the interior is velvety and pillow-soft.
2. Mapo Tofu
The fiery fermented flavor of hot bean sauce and the citrus fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns distinguish this aromatic and spicy Sichuan dish. Mapo Tofu (Pock-Marked Grandma’s Tofu) is said to have been named after an elderly Chinese woman who allegedly served it to patrons of her restaurant. People began referring to the dish as “the pock-marked woman’s tofu” after she gained notoriety for it.
3. Mushroom Mapo Tofu
While ground pork is the traditional ingredient in this dish, the spicy bean paste, soft tofu, and Sichuan peppercorns—which have a distinctive numbing effect and a citrus flavor—are the true performers. Therefore, substituting mushrooms for meat is simple and delectable. Dried shiitakes are utilized so that the mushroom marinating liquid can be utilized as stock.
4. Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich
To prepare appetizing sandwich, tofu is seasoned pickle brine-soaked (if you know, you know), sweet mustard glaze-coated, and savory flour-blended. The crispy patty is prepared to be piled on a bun alongside shredded lettuce, dill pickles, and a speedy and delectable vegan Buffalo mayonnaise following a brief frying process.
5. Whipped Tofu Dip
This uncomplicated technique for pureeing firm tofu yields a spread or dip that is exceptionally creamy and exceedingly smooth, resembling hummus in consistency. By incorporating nutty garlic confit, which is prepared by gently roasting garlic in an olive oil bath, the flavor is elevated to an exquisitely nutty sweetness. To further enhance the dish, a generous portion of lemon juice and a sprinkle of lemon zest contribute some brightness. Serve alongside crackers, bread, or your preferred crudités for dunking.
6. Sheet Pan Tofu Tacos
Simply a sheet pan and one dish are required to prepare these smoky, spicy plant-based tacos. After crumbling and seasoning extra-firm tofu with chili powder, chipotle, cumin, and additional spices, it is roasted alongside bell peppers, onions, and a jalapeo.
7. Grilled Gochujang Tofu Tacos
Korean-style tacos are not exclusive to those who consume meat. With its combination of tofu and vegetables, Jet Tila’s rendition of the KBBQ taco will gratify any craving. You may replace the Cotija cheese in this dish with a plant-based alternative to achieve a wholly vegan dish. The tacos’ smoky-sweet sauce is composed of gochujang, a fermented hot pepper paste from Korea that possesses both fiery and savory qualities.
8. Tofu Puffs with Egg Gravy
The recipe is a paragon of comfort, savory, and delectable, with an assortment of gratifying textures. It originated in Queens, New York, where the Penang Malaysian & Thai Cuisine chain restaurant first opened its doors. A tofu dish there served as its inspiration. The restaurant presents a platter consisting of vegetables and deep-fried tofu rectangles, all of which are coated in a viscous white sauce prepared in the Chinese style and contains delicate egg specks. Our approach capitalizes on the practicality of packaged tofu fritters that can be located in the freezer or refrigerated section of certain Asian supermarkets.
9. Vegetable Curry with Tofu Puffs
Inspired by Malaysian coconut milk-based curries and noodle soups, which feature an intricate balance of spices, aromatics, and chiles, this vegan curry is both spicy and creamy. The simplified version combines store-bought red curry paste and curry powder to impart depth of flavor to the dish in less than an hour; it is ideal for a weeknight dinner.
10. Silken Tofu Banchan
Making silken tofu banchan is a remarkably uncomplicated process, as it does not necessitate heating and the tofu is served chilled from the refrigerator. A marinade consisting of garlicky, salty, and slightly spicy soy sauce is drizzled over the top, followed by crunchy sesame seeds, chopped green herbs, and scallions. This dish is both simple and visually spectacular.
11. Seafood Soft Tofu Stew
This traditional Korean stew, as described is robust, spicy, and bursting with oceanic flavor. Acquire the ability to harmonize velvety tofu curds with savory broth and pungent vegetables.
12. Buddha’s Delight
Buddha’s delight which was once strictly observed by Buddhist priests, has gained global recognition as a nutritious vegetarian Chinese restaurant alternative. It is also a traditional dish served for lunch or as a side dish at the supper feast on the first day of the Lunar New Year, and is believed to bring about a purifying and hygienic beginning to the year.
13. Autumn Vegetable Stir-Fry
It is jam-packed with an assortment of flavors and textures. Replace whatever it is that you dislike with something that you thoroughly enjoy. This is a nutritious, flavorful, and light stir-fry of vegetables.
14. Pressed Sliced Tofu Salad
A vinegary, garlicky, and spicy dressing is used to toss together crisp vegetables and chewy pressed tofu noodles to create this invigorating and flavorful Chinese side salad. This delicacy, which is rendered in Mandarin as liángbàn doufu si or liángbàn gāndòufusū, is notably well-liked during balmy seasons and is frequently offered at salad bars and prepared food establishments in Beijing and across China.
15. Vegan Pad Thai
Equally delectable with or without meat is pad Thai. The key is to achieve flavor balance by substituting soy sauce for fish sauce. Utilize Thai soy sauce, also known as soybean sauce, if it is available.