Tofu, also called bean curd, is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into a soft, white block. Tofu originated in China over 2000 years ago, and first appeared in the United States in the early 1800's. Tofu and other soy foods have long been used in traditional Asian diets. The two main types of tofu are silken and firm. Silken tofu has a high moisture content and a custard-like texture, while firm (or extra firm) tofu has been drained and pressed to remove some of its moisture. Firm and extra firm tofu have a "meatier" consistency, making it a good option for stir fries and other entrees. Learn how to make tofu at home by reading this article.
Tofu is a nutritious, versatile, convenient, and flavorful addition to any diet! Although some questions remain about the potential health benefits and risks of soy products, the latest research suggests that moderate consumption is healthful. Here are some great reasons to eat more tofu (be sure consume organic/non-GMO soy):
- Tofu is nutritious! It's a great source of plant-based protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron; it's cholesterol-free; and it's low in fat/saturated fat. Soy consumption has also been shown to help prevent disease recurrence in breast cancer patients, ward off high blood pressure, help alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women, and reduce LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels.
- Tofu is versatile! Use silken tofu in smoothies, pies, and vegan ice cream recipes, or try firm tofu in scrambles, stir fries, as a pizza topping, or on the grill.
- Tofu is convenient! Readily available at nearly all major grocery stores (with more variety at co-ops and speciality stores), tofu is an inexpensive and convenient source of plant-based protein.
- Tofu is delicious! Ok, maybe it's not super tasty straight out of the package, but it absorbs sauces and spices like a sponge, making it an excellent addition to all types of curries, stir fries, scrambles, and other saucy dishes.
There are tons of great ways to incorporate tofu into your diet! Here are 9 of our favorite recipes.
1. Low Fat Strawberry Tofu Ice Cream
Per serving (1 cup): 163 calories, less than 1 g fat, 31 carbs, 9g protein
- 12 ounces lite mori-nu tofu, extra firm
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
2. Miso Roasted Pumpkin and Grilled Tofu Over Udon Noodles
Move over pumpkin pie…there's some savory competition in town. This recipe was inspired by an idea for miso-roasted pumpkin as a side dish, but ended up as a light and lovely Japanese-inspired meal in a bowl. Get the recipe HERE.
3. Pan Fried Tofu tossed with Ginger Spinach and Mushrooms
The vegetables in this dish, pack a lot of good flavor from a light spark from the ginger and the woody softness of the mushrooms folded into the wilted spinach. Get the recipe HERE.
4. Tofu Pakoras
If you're been to an Indian restaurant, you've no doubt had a pakora. It's usually a vegetable coated with a batter of chickpea or garbanzo bean flour and deep-fried into melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Pakoras -- also called bhujias-- appear on Indian dinner tables during festivities or just as a snack on a rainy day with a hot cup of tea. They make great finger foods. Get the recipe HERE.
5. Sweet Potato Tofu Pizza
This Sweet Potato Tofu Pizza works great as breakfast, lunch or dinner. I like to have a slice with salad or soup in the evening, followed by a leftover slice for breakfast. This pizza also makes for a healthy, portable snack. The tofu scramble topping can be easily adjusted to fit your tastes. Toss in some extra spices to match your cravings, or swap out one veggie for another. Get the recipe HERE.