Many people are unsure about what to do with tofu, and the grocery store’s displays do not help with the confusion. If you sent a tofu virgin into a market to pick up a block of tofu they might leave crying, or best case scenario, buy one of each variety!
Tofu is more than just a flavorless sponge that is supposedly good for you. Did you know that tofu is low in saturated fat and cholesterol free? It’s also packed with tons of necessary vitamins and minerals, and is well-known for being high in protein, calcium, and iron. One half cup of tofu offers 10 grams of protein. Let’s compare that to our daily protein requirements according to WebMD:
- Infants require about 10 grams a day.
- Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
- Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
- Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
- Adult women need about 46 grams a day.
Tofu is also a very versatile food. Because it is very spongy, you can make it taste however you would like. Soy, ginger, garlic, and curry are commonly suggested to pair with tofu, but why stop there? Just add your favorite marinade and/or spices! There are a few different varieties of tofu, which can be sort of confusing to the non-tofu or even the occasional tofu eater. Usually, stores will carry, silken (soft), medium, firm, and extra firm. There are other variations, but let’s keep it simple for now.
Soft (silken): This type contains the most moisture. Soft tofu can be used as a dairy substitute, in dips and dressings, and also in creamy desserts.
Medium: Medium firm tofu is great for soups and curries
Firm or Extra Firm: Use these for grilling or to add some protein to your stir-fry. Or you can try a vegan staple: Tofu Scramble.
Tofu scramble is very simple. First you must drain the tofu (instructions for draining listed below). Then, Take a block of firm or extra firm tofu, and crumble it with your hands into bite-sized crumbles. Put the crumble tofu into a skillet, and add the following ingredients:
- about 2 1/2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
- Sea Salt to taste
Gently stir in the skillet for 5-7 minutes, and serve! That’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve made a vegan masterpiece!
I’m also a huge proponent of adding vegetables to everything. Some great options include, but are not limited to: mushrooms, onion, chives, tomato, red or green pepper, broccoli, etc.
Draining the tofu may be the most strenuous part of this whole process. But, no worries, it’s a very simple procedure.
1. Place tofu in a shallow bowl on top of a couple sheets of paper towels.
2. Place a couple more sheets of paper towels on top of the block of tofu, and press.
3. Change out paper towels, and repeat steps 1-2, but this time place some sort of weighted object on top of your block of tofu, such as canned goods, or another bowl. Then, let it sit there for about 15-30 minutes.
And now you’re all ready to scramble, saute, grill or whatever your heart desires with your now drained ready-to-use block of tofu. The possibilities are endless!