How to Make Tofu a Regular Part of Your Weeknight Meals
If you, like so many of us, associate tofu with something limp, bland, and tasteless, it's time to give this essential vegan ingredient another chance—there's no reason why tofu can't be absolutely delicious. To that end, fitness entrepreneur Cassey Ho, founder of blogilates.com, wants to inspire us all to make tofu a regular part of our weeknight dinners. "The thing I love about tofu is how it can take on literally any flavor," says Ho, who includes this healthful protein in her 90 Day Journey Vegan Meal Plan. "Tofu is truly a blank slate. I think people who have never tried tofu assume it's super bland and the texture is kind of weird. But that's not true if it's prepared well."
Packed with protein, tofu is made from ground soybeans cooked and strained to create soy milk. Next, an acid or salt is added to separate the milk into curds. The curds are pressed to create tofu. It's similar to how cheese is made. Depending on the specific process, tofu can have different textures such as non-silken, commonly known as regular tofu, silken, soft, medium, firm, extra firm, and super firm.
How to Incorporate Tofu Into Your Meals
Ho says adding tofu to your weekly meals is simple. "My go-to way to use tofu is to marinate it and do a simple pan-fry," says Ho. "It's incredible with some cauliflower rice and veggies to make a Buddha bowl. I think I could seriously eat tofu Buddha bowls every single day." When she needs a break from bowls, Ho loves adding tofu to smoothies for added protein. "I was skeptical at first but it adds a creaminess factor," she shares.
For a midday snack, or if you're entertaining, you can also use tofu on a vegan charcuterie board. "I would make a cream cheese spread using tofu, then build it out with all the fruit and crackers my heart desires," she says.
How to Shop for Tofu
If you've never had tofu before or if you didn't love it the last time you had it but are willing to give it another go, consider buying a few different brands and styles. It might take you a few tries to find a tofu brand you like, and some textures lend themselves better to specific uses. "If I'm making tofu for a salad or bowl, I usually go for regular firm tofu because it gives me a tender, crispy texture," says Ho. "If I'm using tofu to make cheesecake or throw in a smoothie, silken seems to work better with the creamy texture."