Tofu is the most versatile protein there is. It can blended, fried, mashed, boiled, baked, breaded you name it. And the best part is that it takes on the flavour of whatever you cook it with, so it’s a perfect blank canvas for any meal creation.
What is tofu anyways?
“Tofu is a food made by coagulating (aka isolating the protein) soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks.” Thanks Wikipedia. It is sold in many forms including fresh (soft/silken, medium, firm, extra firm), fermented and dry.
What’s healthy about it?
One serving of tofu (150 grams or ¾ cup) contains less than 100 calories, 10 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of saturated fat (aka bad fat), 3 grams of carbohydrate and is a good source of potassium and often calcium and/or magnesium depending on how the tofu is made (calcium salts are often used in the processing). That’s a pretty good nutrient profile if you ask me!
It makes it the perfect candidate for Meatless Mondays and a meat alternative to help cut back on the bad saturated fat that can be high in many meats.
How do I cook it?
Here are some tips for tofu success:
- Choose the right type. Buy firm tofu if you are wanting to use it in stir-fry’s or if you want to bake it. The soft kind is best for adding to smoothies, casseroles, pasta sauce, soup, etc.
- Drain it for best results. The firm types of tofu (firm and extra firm) should be drained of all the water first as much as possible. An easy way to do that is to wrap it in a clean tea towel and then sandwich it between two plates and place a heavy object on top (like a phone book). Do this for at least an hour. This gets most of the liquid out so it stir-fry’s much better. If you don’t have time to do this though, don’t worry, just pat it down with some paper towel – it will still turn out good! (This tip was news to me- what a difference!)
- Flavour it. Tofu is pretty bland on it’s own so make sure to add a lot of ooopmh by marinating it ahead of time or using sauces, herbs and spices. For an easy marinade simply soak sliced tofu (about ¼ inch thick) in low sodium soy sauce for 5 minutes and fry with a 1 tsp of canola oil in a non stick pan. Add to stir fried veggies and rice for a quick meal. Another yummy option is to dip sliced tofu in BBQ sauce and bake on a cookie sheet until crips up. Use in wraps or sandwiches as an alternative to chicken.
- Hide it. If your family ain’t to keen on the tofu then there’s always the option to be sneaky and hide it! You can puree the soft tofu into pasta sauces or smoothies to give it a protein boost and no one will notice! Try this tofu shake recipe:
1 cup (250 ml) soy milk (plain or flavoured)
1/3 cup (75 ml) soft tofu
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 ml) fruit (e.g. bananas, strawberries, pineapple, peaches)
Send us your fave tofu recipes and we’ll feature them on the blog!