By Molly Patrick
Sep 28, 2019,
Tofu is one of my favorite foods evah, but when it’s not done right it can be a disaster – especially for someone who isn’t used to eating tofu. Tofu is like restaurants, first impressions are key. You have one shot to impress and if it falls flat, the party is over.
I’ve never had meat in my life, so tofu has always been a staple for me. I’ve had it every way you can imagine. In pies, dressings, sauces, and scrambles. In lasagna, burritos, wraps, tacos, salads, burgers, sandwiches and stir fries. Baked, fried, sautéed, air fried and fresh. Tofu salad, tofu poke, tofu mayo and tofu pudding. You name it, I’ve had it.
That’s one of the beautiful things about tofu – it’s super versatile and because it’s naturally bland, it takes on whatever flavor you give it. This is also why when it’s not prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing, it can be a sad and yucky experience that makes you run for the hills the next time tofu is offered to you.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when making tofu.
- There are lots of different types of tofu. Firm, soft, extra firm, and silken are the most common. What type you choose totally depends on what you’re making with it. If you’re making a dressing, tofu salad, or a ricotta or feta type of recipe, regular firm will work. If you’re making a creamy pie filling, silken will be your go-to. If you’re making stir fry or baked tofu, extra firm will be your best bet.
- If your tofu comes packaged in water, pressing out the liquid is key. If you don’t, whatever you are making will be watered down because of excess liquid from the tofu. You can buy a tofu press for this, or you can do what I do and slap the block of tofu on a plate, place a cutting board on top, and then set a few books or a heavy skillet on top of the cutting board. Let that bad boy set for 10 – 15 minutes and then it’s pressed and ready to go. If you buy silken tofu, there is no need to press out the water. If you do, it will turn to mush.
- Since tofu is bland it’s like a blank canvas and will take on whatever flavor you give it. This is awesome if you know how to create yummy flavor. It’s not so awesome if all you know how to do is add salt and pepper and maybe a splash of hot sauce. Whether you are marinating, drenching, baking, blending, or sautéing, make sure you don’t skimp on building awesome flavor. Using lots of herbs and spices, soy sauce, coconut aminos, vinegars, mustards, miso, tomato paste – these will all add some nice umami to your tofu and pump up the flavor. Just make sure you use enough. Tofu is like a sponge and will soak up whatever you give it, so make sure you give it enough flavor boosting goodness.
- Cook it long enough. Tofu right out of the package is pretty soft – even if it’s the extra firm variety. If you’re going for a meaty bite you will want to bake or saute the tofu until it gets nice and firm. It will get firmer the longer you cook it. If you are using it raw in, say, a tofu salad or tofu poke recipe, then there’s no need to cook it.
- Don’t be afraid of soy. It’s just a bean 🙂
If you want a tasty rotation of tofu recipes, our meal plans have you covered.
We know tofu, we love tofu, and we turn even the biggest tofu haters into tofu lovers every time we have tofu on the menu. It’s part of what we do.
To give you a hands on look at how to make delicious tofu, I made a video for you so you can see it in action. This is one of my favorite tofu recipes that I make regularly. Enjoy!
Here’s the link to our private Facebook group that I mention in the video where you will find loads of inspiration to eat more plant based meals, including ones with tofu.
Have you ever had not so yummy tofu and it ruined it for you? Talk to us in the comments below and then go try this recipe!
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed well and sliced into 8-10 slices
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup sliced green onions (50 g)
- Remove the block of tofu from the package and rinse with water. Place the block of tofu on a plate and then set a cutting board on top of the tofu. Place something heavy on top of the cutting board, like a few cookbooks or a heavy skillet, and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes while the liquid is pressed out of the tofu.
- While your tofu is pressing whisk all of the ingredients together in a 10 – 12 inch cast iron skillet.
- When the tofu is done pressing, slice into 8 – 10 slices and place gently into a well seasoned 10 inch cast iron skillet (you could also use a glass or ceramic baking dish). Turn the tofu over and gently mix with your hands so that the marinade covers all the tofu.
- Preheat your oven to 375 °F (190 °C) while your tofu soaks up the marinade. Turn it over once or twice during this process so that all the sides of the tofu get some marinade action.
- When the oven reaches temperature, place the skillet, uncovered in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take out of the oven and flip each piece over. Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool in the cast iron pan. The tofu will firm up a bit as it sets.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with the delicious smell of baked tofu, wafting through your cozy house.