Magazine Recipes

Tofu or Not Tofu: 30 Unexpectedly Tasty Tofu Recipes

By Lora O’Brien

Why didn’t the tofu cross the road? To prove he wasn’t chicken. Okay, bad joke out of the way, now let’s get down to the real matter at hand: what exactly is tofu, and is it really good for us?

Tofu is made from condensed soy milk which it then pressed into solid white blocks. Tofu has long since been an excellent source of protein and it contains all eight essential amino acids, is a source of both iron and calcium, and is host to magnesium, copper, zinc and the vitamin B1. Tofu has been a staple in both Thai and Chinese cooking for centuries, has been celebrated for both its nutritional and health benefits, and is a staple in the diet of the Okinawans in Japan, who live longer than anyone else on the planet. So what’s the problem?

Well, basically the fact that the soy used to produce tofu is usually genetically modified (GMO) means that it should be something that we avoid. And with reason – more and more evidence points to the dangers of GMO food. In addition, the herbicides used to grow GM crops are harmful to a whole range of wildlife and insects, causing birth defects and a drop in population for some species – not great if you’re vegan for the animals. Alarmingly, overuse of the herbicides used on GMOs is a serious cause of superweeds sprouting, meaning farmers are then using more toxic herbicides each and every year. Not only is this destructive to our environment, this also has an impact on our food, which can lead to sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects and cancer.

But tofu itself has a ton of proven health properties. So once you skip out the hideous GMOs, there are so many benefits to adding tofu to your diet. First of all, tofu is a great supplement for bone health and the reduction on bone loss (which is why Asians who eat it have less osteoporosis than Westerners – even though they have pretty much zero dairy in their diet). It also has a positive influence on our memory and brain functioning and it can also help to keep those wrinkles at bay by boosting collagen and elastin. For women going through menopause, tofu can help stop ‘brain fog’ and hot flashes. In fact, anyone who is aiming at feeling great or getting better should consider it.

As for the myth that tofu is bad for you because it mimics estrogen in the body and can lead to breast cancer, well that’s just wrong.

Yes, soy can act like estrogen. But there’s no direct link saying soy can cause cancer. In some animal studies, pure isoflavones, the compound in soy bearing the chemical similarities to estrogen, have been shown to promote tumor growth, as the HuffPost Healthy Living’s Meredith Melnick reported. However, humans both process isoflavones differently than rodents and isoflavone supplements vary greatly from dietary soy.

Among observational studies of humans who get high amounts of dietary soy, findings have shown either no link to breast cancer or even lower rates of the disease. “Even though animal studies have shown mixed effects on breast cancer with soy supplements, studies in humans have not shown harm from eating soy foods,” Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society wrote for the organization. “Moderate consumption of soy foods appears safe for both breast cancer survivors and the general population, and may even lower breast cancer risk.” So there it is – tofu can actually lower your cancer risk.

Yeah, I know – you’re thinking: ok, it’s super healthy, reduces cancer risks, is a great source of protein and all that… but the taste! Ew! Well, the fact is: tofu basically has no taste. Which is an amazing quality: you can transform this food to have whatever flavour you want. It’s basically a flavour sponge, soaking up sweet, sour and savoury tastes equally well.

So whether you’re looking to add a creaminess to smoothies, trying out new pancake recipes, or are looking for a delicious meat-sub for your favourite dishes, I’ve gathered some seriously Tasty Tofu Recipes that show how versatile and delicious tofu can actually be.

1. Tofu & Cinnamon Pancakes

Is your mind blown by this recipe as much as mine was? Tofu . . . in pancakes…? Yep, it’s true. hese tofu and cinnamon pancakes make a delightful breakfast slash brunch, and the beauty of pancakes is that you can pretty much top them with whatever you fancy. Plus, there are some super healthy ingredients in these bad boys that will have you very intrigued – like parsnips!

Get the recipe here.

Tasty Tofu Recipes

2. Green Apple Pie Smoothie

Smoothies have forever been a great way to sneak in healthy things like spirulina because it’s oh so easy to hide the taste but you can easily reap the health rewards. This smoothie is incredibly thick and creamy thanks to the silken tofu – which you will not taste – and it also provides a great hit of protein. Perfect to enjoy either pre or post work-out.

Get the recipe here.

Tasty Tofu Recipes

3. Detox Smoothie

The texture of this smoothie reminds me more of a healthy slushie. Frozen berries and banana give it a thick and cooling vibe. The spinach and kale give it a boost of green goodness and the tofu thrown in just adds a creaminess.

Get the recipe here.

4. Mini Vegan Frittatas

How delicious do these frittatas look? And these contain absolutely no eggs. So what binds them, you ask? Pureed tofu. Combined with lots of fresh veggies these make a quick and easy snack you can either enjoy on the go or pair with a smoothie for a breakfast or brunch. Plus they taste damn good cold the next day, too.

Get the recipe here.

5. Tofu Breakfast Scramble

Tofu scramble is fast becoming a popular breakfast. And what’s not to love? You can turn tofu into a delicious and filling meal that will have you fueled for the day ahead. Plus, if you miss the traditional scrambled eggs since going vegan then this is a fun way to re-create that without the dairy. The sulfur in the black salt even gives this scramble a slightly eggy taste!

Get the recipe here.

6. Sushi Sandwich

Sushi is a firm favourite of mine. It’s easy to make and you can pack it full of any veggies you desire. But sometimes you want something a little bit more filling than the simple rice and vegetable combo. So that’s why tofu is so brilliant in this recipe – it not only adds a protein hit but it makes this super filling. It’ll make a great lunch and you can even enjoy it on the go.

Get the recipe here.

7. Curry Tofu Autumn Rolls with Sweet Ginger Sauce

Rice paper wraps make such a great go-to food, and you can literally pack them full of whatever you desire, just roll them up and you’re ready to rock. The tofu in these wraps has been scrambled and curried which works so well with the kale and peanuts. Serve them with the sweet ginger sauce for dipping.

Get the recipe here.

8. Crispy Tofu Sandwich with Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Spread

This sandwich ticks so many boxes for me. First up is the crusty roll. Second is the fact it’s layered with so many goodies: namely, golden pumpkin and a sweet potato spread. This is thenall  topped with thick slices of crispy tofu that has marinated with spices in the pan. Veggies like onion, juice tomatoes and fresh lettuce add even more texture.

Get the recipe here.

9. Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl with Quinoa & Avocado

This bowl is made up from a mixture of caramelized roasted veggies, chunks of creamy avo, crisped tofu, quinoa and then it’s all tossed in a herby tahini dressing. This is a mixture of both textures and flavour that all come together perfectly. Buddha bowls are so great to whip up when you’re looking for something both quick and tasty. Great for using up leftovers, too.

Get the recipe here.

10. Crispy Tofu in Chinese Garlic Sauce

The great thing about tofu is that you can marinate it to taste gorgeous – the tofu in this dish has been crisped up in a Chinese garlic sauce. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, so perfect if you like your food quick to make. Plus if you have leftovers the next day, you can enjoy this on a bed of either rice or quinoa.

Get the recipe here.

11. Macaroni Pasta Salad

A cold pasta salad doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some like it hot – and only hot! But this recipe will change their minds. The dressing contains the tofu, coating the pasta in creamy flavours such as dill, garlic and mustard, all sweetened with a little bit of agave. Throw in lots of fresh, crunchy veggies like peppers and scallions and this is a refreshing take on a pasta salad – perfect for picnics.

Get the recipe here.

12. Crispy Baked Tofu & Broccoli with Orange Soy Sauce

Let’s face it; salads can get pretty dull pretty fast. If we’ve had one bland, wilted salad than we’ve had a thousand. But if you’re simply not fulfilled by the salads you’re eating then it may be time to reinvent it a little, with the help of tofu. The tofu is crisped up and glazed with a stunning blood orange/soy sauce. Fancy, huh?

Get the recipe here.

13. Sweet Potato & Kale Green Curry with Tofu

Sometimes, all we want is something warm and nourishing and this curry is just that, with heaps of goodness thrown into it. There’s a subtle spice from the green curry paste, perfect for that little bit of extra warmth!

Get the recipe here.

14. Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites

I dig this recipe big time! I’ve seen a similar one made from cauliflower, but this one is great if you’re looking for a healthy, protein filled snack or are new to the vegan lifestyle and looking to enjoy previous meat-based dishes in a friendlier way. To keep this 100% vegan, just modify the sauce as it contains feta; use vegan sour cream instead.

Get the recipe here.

15. Sweet & Sour Tofu

I love the combination of sweet and sour dishes; it’s a mix that we’ve enjoyed thousands of times over in my household. I can’t wait to get down and dirty in the kitchen and whip up this recipe. And with a slightly crispy outside and a tender inside, the tofu in this dish makes a perfect substitute for chicken.

Get the recipe here.

16. Vegan Ramen with Grilled Vegetables & Tofu

This ramen is a true fusion of flavours. Ginger is prominent and gives a bite to the aromatic broth that the noodles sit in. The dish is then topped with an abundance of chargrilled veggies and cubes of tofu. It also does wonders to boost the immune system – delicious and healing.

Get the recipe here.

17. Baked Tofu Fries

Seriously, hands up if you knew about tofu fries before now and never sent me a memo! If you’re expecting these to be a replacement for fries, they’re not quite the same – think of a more delicious, creamy ‘fry’. It’s a great new alternative for introducing tofu into your diet. Serve with spicy mayo: yummy!

Get the recipe here.

18. Spicy Tofu Vegan Enchiladas

How do you like your enchiladas? How about filled with crispy tofu, beans, diced tomatoes and then smothered with a spicy chipotle sauce and chunks of creamy avocado? Cool, then this is just the recipe for you!

Get the recipe here.

19. Cajun Tofu Tacos

Oh, tacos. You know I’m obsessed! I usually enjoy mine with a vegan ground meat substitute, but I’m super excited to try these Cajun infused tofu tacos. The best part? They take next to no time to make.

Get the recipe here.

20. Sichuan Bok Choy Tofu

This may be a pretty simple dish but it’s earning serious brownie points from me right now. Slightly crispy tofu that is covered in a delicious sticky sauce? Hello! The tofu is simmered in a sweet and sour sauce and stir fried with some bok choy. You can either serve this with a bowl of rice or eat it alone. Either way, it’ll taste damn good.

Get the recipe here.

21. Black Bean Tofu Meatballs

When thinking of a way to eating meatballs with the, er, meat, I never would have considered tofu. Until I found this recipe. These tofu balls are deep fried before being placed into the oven to bake to give them a slight crust which also works to lock in moisture keeping these nuggets both juicy and firm. Serve with pasta for an authentic spaghetti and meatball dish.

Get the recipe here.

22. Caribbean Tofu with Coconut Quinoa

If you’re looking to bring a little Caribbean magic to teatime, and you love the taste of coconut, then this is the dish for you. You’ll go nuts for it, I can assure you. The tofu soaks up all of the various flavours such as coconut and lime – it’s just bursting with flavour!

Get the recipe here.

23. Thai Tofu Pizza

How vibrant and delicious does this pizza look? And with a Thai theme this pizza is delicately spiced and drizzled with a creamy peanut butter sauce. Weird, but tasty, trust me. And whoever says pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza needs to try this and get back to me. It just works, my friends.

Get the recipe here.

24. Vegan Chinese Salt & Pepper Tofu

These little salt and pepper tofu spears make the perfect snack or appetizer if you’re hosting and looking for finger food to share. The encrusted tofu gets all crispy on the outside and is deliciously smooth and tender on the inside. Serve them up on a platter with a tangy dip and watch them disappear in seconds.

Get the recipe here.

25. Vegan Tofu Lasgana with Spinach

Lasagna can be pretty heavy, especially if you remember the version that is laden down with heart-attack inducing meat and dairy. Well, not this delicious vegan version. It’s layered with crumbled tofu and is packed with spinach giving it a boost of essential leafy greens.

Get the recipe here.

26. Mini Peanut Butter Cups in a Jar

Peanut butter cups are my obsession. I love the creamy/crunchy combination of peanut butter and chocolate. But these desserts are a little bit like cheesecake versions with their cracker based bottom layer. Make this and store them in your fridge to have a sweet treat on hand whenever cravings strike.

Get the recipe here.

27. Chocolate Espresso Chocolate Mousse

I love how decadent and creamy mousse is. But it’s made even more so by the addition of tofu – who would have thought that a chocolate based dessert could actually be good for both our body and our skin? But don’t just take my word for it. The proof is well and truly in the pudding.

Get the recipe here.

28. Pumpkin Pie Pudding

I just have to read the words pumpkin pie and I’m sold. So a pumpkin pie pudding that is both a sweet treat, healthy AND good for me? How could I pass on that?! It’s sweet and creamy and oozing that pumpkin pie flavour. It’s also pretty high in both protein and fiber. Not bad for a dessert, huh?

Get the recipe here.

29. Tofu Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate brownies are the go-to dessert for many of us. And what’s not to love? Gooey chunks of chocolate goodness. The tofu and applesauce helps give the base of these that dense chocolate texture and they’re sweetened with coconut sugar. And the chocolate chips? Vegan chocolate of course.

Get the recipe here.

30. Vegan Cheesecake with Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

I don’t feel like I need to say much about this recipe except that 1. It’s cheesecake. 2. It’s chocolatey. 3. It’s got tofu in it. You want a slice now don’t you?

Get the recipe here.

Main image: Tofu Scramble Toasts 



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