The Ultimate Tofu Guide for New Vegans: Easy Recipes and Tips


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Unlocking the World of Tofu: Essential Tips, Recipes, and Techniques for Beginners

Tofu is often thought of as bland and unappetizing by many people. This is usually because it hasn’t been prepared correctly. “The Ultimate Tofu Guide for New Vegans: Easy Recipes and Tips” shows you how to prepare tofu properly. Tofu can be an incredibly delicious and versatile component of any dish. It is an excellent source of protein for plant-based and vegan diets, containing all nine essential amino acids. It is also rich in iron, calcium, and other minerals.

What is Tofu, Anyway?

Tofu is crafted from soybean milk extracted from mature white soybeans. This milk is then curdled with a coagulant such as nigari or magnesium chloride before being pressed into tofu blocks. Pressing time adjusts based on curd quantity and desired firmness, typically spanning 15 to 20 minutes, with longer pressing resulting in firmer tofu.

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Understanding Different Types of Tofu and How to Use Them

  1. Super Firm Tofu: This type of tofu has the least moisture content and is very dense and solid, making it suitable for grilling, frying, or stir-frying. It holds its shape well and has a chewy texture, making it ideal for dishes where you want the tofu to retain its form.
  2. Extra Firm Tofu: Extra firm tofu has a higher moisture content than super firm tofu but is still quite dense and holds its shape well. It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, curries, and baked dishes.
  3. Firm Tofu: Firm tofu has a moderate amount of moisture and is slightly softer than extra firm tofu. It’s suitable for frying, baking, or grilling and works well in dishes where you want the tofu to have a bit of texture but still hold together.
  4. Regular Tofu: Regular tofu is often interchangeable with firm tofu and has a similar texture and moisture content. It’s a versatile option that can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stir-fries, and salads.
  5. Soft/Silken Tofu: Soft or silken tofu has the highest moisture content and is very delicate and smooth. It’s often used in dishes where you want a creamy texture, such as smoothies, desserts, dressings, or soups. It can also be blended to create vegan cheeses or creamy sauces.
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Photo Credit: http://www.tofupedia.com/

Tofu Cooking Tips: Mastering the Basics of Tofu Preparation

The firmer the tofu, the more texture and less water it will contain. If you are transitioning from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet, I suggest trying Firm, Extra Firm, or Super Firm tofu first. This will help replicate the thick, meaty texture you may be accustomed to in your daily meals. Firm tofu is well suited for frying and baking, while soft tofu is ideal for soups, smoothies, dressings, and desserts.

Tofu Meal Prep: Tips for Preparing and Storing Tofu

  1. Cut your tofu package open over a sink and drain the excess water.
  2. Give your tofu a quick rinse in cold water, then place it on a cutting board and cut off the amount you will be using.
  3. Store the remaining tofu in a sealable container with some cold clean water and seal it. It can be stored this way for up to 3 days. Be sure to change the water in the container each day. If you forget how long it has been stored check for slime or a rancid smell. These are signs that your tofu has gone bad after storing. Tip: Put the storage date on your tofu container.
  4. For a more meaty texture (and flavor absorption), freeze your tofu! You can put the whole container in the freezer, thaw it, and cut it later. For additional information on freezing tofu watch this video: This is Why You Should Freeze Your Tofu. (Frozen tofu absorbs marinades better too! 5 DIY Tofu Marinades + Easy Vegan Meal Ideas!)
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Tofuture’s Tofu Press (click to use my amazon affiliate link!) 🙂 Photo Credit: https://www.tofuture.com/tofu-press/

To Press or Not to Press: Tofu Cooking Tips for Beginners

If you prefer a thick, meaty texture, pressing tofu is recommended. However, if texture isn’t a priority, skipping the pressing step is perfectly fine. Pressing tofu removes excess water, with longer pressing yielding drier tofu. Use a tofu press or improvise by placing tofu between plates with a weight on top for 15-20 minutes.

Soft Tofu

For soft tofu, it’s best to avoid pressing to prevent it from becoming squished. Instead, drain or blot it and use it raw, puréed, boiled, or battered/deep-fried for optimal enjoyment.

Super Firm, Extra Firm, Firm, and Regular Tofu

These tofu varieties are ideal for pressing or freezing and are commonly used in various cooking methods such as battering, crusting, baking, boiling, pan-frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, or glazing.

Easy Pan-Frying Method for Perfectly Textured Tofu

If you opt not to press your tofu, you can naturally remove excess water by pan-frying it in a non-stick pan with a small amount of oil or plant-based butter over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the tofu for 5-8 minutes on each side until it’s golden brown. For added flavor, top your tofu with salt and seasonings while cooking or after it’s done. Longer cooking times enhance the exterior texture. Once cooked, turn off the stovetop or simmer the tofu with sauce for added flavor.

Crispy Tofu: Simple Methods for Delicious Results

For crispy tofu, cut it into strips and coat it in cornstarch with salt and pepper. Then, pan-fry in a little oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Alternatively, bake or air fry for an oil-free option. Try these recipes for crispy tofu:

  1. Crispy Baked Oil-Free Tofu Recipe | Two Ingredients!
  2. Air Fried Tofu Recipe
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Below, you can explore tofu recipe videos for visual inspiration when cooking tofu.

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Tofu Recipe Videos: Visual Inspiration for Cooking Tofu

Discover a plethora of tofu-related content, including recipes tailored for beginners, easy and quick tofu dishes, cooking tips, and creative recipe ideas suitable for vegans. Explore tutorials showcasing the best tofu cooking techniques and hacks, alongside inspiration for flavorful and healthy tofu meals. Whether you’re new to tofu or seeking fresh ideas for plant-based meal prep, these videos offer invaluable guidance for mastering tofu cooking and creating delicious dishes that cater to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Videos for Firm, Extra Firm, or Super Firm Tofu:
Videos for Silken Tofu or Soft Tofu:
Getting Started with Tofu: (More Essential Information for Beginners)

Tofuture’s Tofu Press! I love this Tofu Press because it has everything you need to press your Tofu and it collects the excess water drained from your Tofu! It’s super easy to use and helps save space. 🙂

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Tofuture’s Tofu Press (click to use my amazon affiliate link!) 🙂 Photo Credit: https://www.tofuture.com/tofu-press/

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Help others join the journey by Pinning The Ultimate Tofu Guide for New Vegans: Easy Recipes and Tips on Pinterest and sharing the tofu love! This comprehensive resource features informative videos and valuable insights on cooking with tofu. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced chef, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and practical advice to enhance your tofu dishes!

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