Tofu. For those of us who have learned to master this culinary chameleon, its sort of miraculous. Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever its seasoned or marinated with, while its texture can vary depending on the mode of preparation. I always keep a couple of blocks of the stuff onhand for quick stir-frys or sandwiches, but really, that’s just the beginning of what tofu can do.
There are two main different types of tofu: Silken and firm. The silken variety is Japanese in origin, and is soft, delicate, and creamy. It doesn’t hold it’s shape too well, so is best used in its pureed form for smoothies, eggless/dairyless pies, dips, or soups. Firm, or Chinese-style tofu, is (as its name implies) much firmer, and holds its shape when sliced for marinating and baking, cubing, or crumbling.
If you’re seeking to expand your tofu repertoire, look no further than this list:
- Marinate firm tofu in a mix of tamari, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and a little water for a tangy flavor. Slice into slabs at bake at 400 degrees until firm. Use as an alternative protein for sandiwches, or serve with brown rice and steamed or sauteed greens for an easy macrobiotic meal.
- Make easy tofu meatballs by combining crumbled, firm tofu with chopped onion, soy sauce, peanut butter, and bread crumbs. Sounds strange, right? Its delicious. For specifics, check out the recipe. Perfect on top of a plate of whole wheat spaghetti with red sauce.
- Continuing with the Italian trend, tofu ricotta is great tossed with pasta, used as a filling for stuffed shells, or in between layers of lasagna. Use your food processor to whip up a batch in no-time flat using a block of firm tofu, some basil, salt, and toasted pine nuts and olive oil for richness.
- Silken tofu adds protein and creaminess to a fresh fruit smoothie. I like to go tropical with pineapple, banana, and orange juice, but any fruit will work.
- If you’re looking for a healthier pie, turn to silken tofu. It works beautifully to make a creamy, custard-y filling for pumpkin or coconut cream pie, and makes a mean chocolate peanut butter silk pie.
- I mentioned it in my 10 Vegan Breakfast Ideas post, but its so good that it bears repeating: Golden tofu scram(ble)!
- Use 1/4 cup of pureed silken tofu as a low-fat, cholesterol-free egg replacer when baking your favorite cookies, muffins, and quickbreads.
- Use firm tofu as the base for a vegan quiche. This recipe from 101 Cookbooks utilizes spinach, but I’m also a fan of aspargus and leek.