We can help if you’re interested in trying tofu but are apprehensive about its negative reputation for being tasteless, uninteresting, and difficult to prepare. It is comparable to fresh dairy products, such as ricotta, cottage cheese, and even butter, according to one of our editors. Regardless of one’s perspective, with a little encouragement (and we have the necessary techniques at this) it can transform into a protein that can compete with the densest meat alternatives.
Whether you are a devoted vegan or vegetarian seeking innovative recipes, or simply seeking meat substitutes to reduce your consumption, we have a recipe that will satisfy your needs. Our 15 favorite tofu recipes provide inspiration and facilitate a vegetarian diet throughout the entire week.
Let us begin with the fundamentals. To prepare tofu for the first time can be somewhat daunting. For an in-depth analysis of best practices (including whether or not to press your tofu) and some unexpected techniques for making it taste its best, consult our baked tofu and tofu stir-fry recipes (for a sneak peek, freeze it for the finest texture!).
After mastering those, consider attempting one of our countless inventive recipes that are suitable for all meals of the day. Desire a satisfying vegan breakfast? Attempt our scrambled tofu. In search of a speedy and delectable lunch? Our caramelized tofu lettuce wraps, jerk tofu grain bowls, and fiery fried “chicken” sandwiches are all worthy of your attention.
To incorporate tofu into a substantial main course for dinner? Consider trying our tofu banh mi, tofu katsu curry, sesame tofu and broccoli, or tofu banh mi. After you begin preparing meals with it, you will quickly discover numerous alternatives to meat, eggs, and dairy in your favored dishes.
Although the majority of these recipes call for firm tofu (ranging from medium-firm to ultra-firm), there are instances when milder tofus (also referred to as silken or soft tofu) are acceptable. Soft tofu is incredibly versatile; just try our mapo tofu, kimchi tofu stew, hot and sour broth, or pretty in pink raspberry smoothie (trust us, you won’t be able to taste the tofu).
Desire further inspiration? Since tofu has been a staple in the diets of numerous Asian cultures for millennia, for more inspiration, peruse our preferred Chinese, Japanese, and Korean recipes.
1. Air Fryer Tofu
In the past, achieving crispy tofu required heating a substantial amount of oil and addressing concerns of overcooking and subsequent disarray. Consider the air fryer. Obtaining tofu that is perfectly golden brown is an effortless task.
2. Sesame Tofu & Broccoli
A vegetarian rendition of a Chinese-American classic involves tofu that has been baked, mixed with crisp-tender broccoli and a sauce that is savory, sweet, and slightly spicy. The dish is finished with scallions and toasty sesame seeds. Served alongside white rice, this dish will effortlessly transform into a delectable and universally admired weeknight supper.
3. Caramelized Tofu Lettuce Wraps
This flavorful and straightforward tofu recipe, which was inspired by our caramelized beef with rice, is ideal for even the most apprehensive tofu consumers. These lettuce wrappers, which are savory, salty, and sour, are versatile and can be complemented with an assortment of ingredients; therefore, feel free to incorporate your preferred flavors.
4. Tofu Stir-Fry
To optimize outcomes, employ extra-firm tofu that has undergone freezing to facilitate enhanced flavor absorption. Additionally, momentarily simmering the tofu in salted water will render it more rigid and less prone to crumbling. Alternatively, you are at liberty to incorporate your preferred vegetables into this stir-fry.
5. Vegan Ground Beef
In search of a plant-based substitute for minced beef? There is no need to look further! Produced using tofu and basic seasonings, this minced “beef” serves as an ideal substitute in a variety of cherished dishes, including tacos, pastas, grain bowls, and more.
6. Spicy Fried “Chicken” Sandwich
Spicy, sour, crunchy, and creamy—this “chicken” sandwich is an absolute delight. We utilized protein-rich tofu to simulate peppery fried chicken and enhanced the crunchiness of the batter by incorporating cornmeal. Freezing is the critical stage that imparts a more meat-like consistency to the tofu.
7. Tofu Scramble
Since decades ago, tofu scrambles have been a staple of vegan cuisine. This one has a tender and creamy interior, a seared and crisp exterior, and a robustly fragrant interior. Who requires eggs?
8. Baked Tofu
To achieve the most pronounced crispiness in baked tofu, substitute baking powder for the conventional cornstarch. By reacting with oven heat and slurry moisture, baking powder will produce microscopic bubbles that clarify this crust.
9. Tofu Katsu Curry
This hearty Japanese curry is comprised of tender vegetables, crispy tofu coated in sesame panko, and a fragrant and opulent curry sauce. To expedite the preparation process, substitute the curry with chilled shredded green cabbage accompanied by katsu sauce for dunking.
10. Vegan Lasagna
Ricotta is substituted with tofu in this vegan rendition of traditional lasagna. This, combined with a white sauce inspired by béchamel, transforms into a vegan supper that does not induce any sense of deprivation.
11. Tofu Marinade
This tofu marinade, which is comprised of common pantry ingredients, evokes thoughts of barbecue sauce infused with a piquant essence. This recipe is an excellent foundation for baked, grilled, or pan-fried tofu, as well as your preferred tofu entrees.
12. Jerk Tofu Grain Bowls
A culinary journey through some Jamaican mainstays is captured in this vegan dish: sweet plantains, fragrant rice and peas, and tofu marinated in jerk. Finished with a straightforward slaw of carrots and red cabbage, this bowl is both aesthetically pleasing and palatable.
13. Chipotle Tofu & Pineapple Skewers
Beyond being a mere meat substitute, tofu serves as an independent protein source and an ideal substrate for absorbing flavorful marinades, such as this chipotle and guajillo chile marinade, which draws inspiration from tacos al pastor, a popular street dish in Mexico.
14. Mapo Tofu
It is difficult to perfect “authentic” mapo tofu without a wok agglomerating over a fire and a few uncommon ingredients. Rest assured, despite the concessions we’ve made, this one remains delectable. Simply ensure that it is served with rice to help sow away the delicious sauce.
15. Grilled Tofu
Both miso and soy sauce are rich in umami, imparting a savory dimension to the tofu in this preparation. Each tofu plank will be perfectly seasoned with the marinade if it is left to soak for a minimum of one hour; however, if you have five hours to spare, the delay is well worth it.