5 Great Uses for Extra Firm Tofu
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Green Options
Tofu in Stir Fries
Using tofu in a stir-fry is the most obvious use for this delicious food. And there are a couple things you can do. First of all, tofu has a fair amount of its own fat, so when you cook it, you really don’t need to use any oil. It will get golden brown and crispy on its own without oil. So you cut the tofu up into cubes or slices or patties or whatever size/shape you want, and you place them in a nonstick sauté pan. Now you just let them get golden brown and crispy on one sided before turning it over. Don’t fuss with it and push it around; just let it get crispy, then flip it. No oil — about 10 minutes each side. While the tofu is cooking like this in its own pan, you can start cooking up your veggies — peppers, onions, squash, mushrooms, whatever you want to add to your stir-fry — in a separate sauté pan. When the veggies are nearly cooked, add your crispy tofu, and your stir-fry marinade, and just stir-fry until the tofu is hot and mixed with the sauce. Serve over quinoa or brown rice. If you don’t know what quinoa is, then check out my blog post called Five Favorite Foods.
If you don’t own any nonstick pans, feel free to add a little olive oil to your pan and fry up the tofu that way. Tofu is best when it is nice and crispy.
Next: Tofu in Curries
Tofu in Curries
Another way to use extra firm tofu in a meal is to make Thai curry. There are recipe packets on my website, but essentially you add curry paste, coconut milk and whatever veggies you want, and throw in extra firm or super firm tofu into your curry. I think curry — particularly the tofu in the curry — is even better the day after you make it. Yum!
Next: Tofu as “Eggless Egg” Salad
Tofu as easy “eggess egg salad”
You can prepare easy eggless egg salad by mashing up extra firm tofu, mixing it with an eggless mayonnaise, such as Nayonnaise, Vegenaise, or Wildwood’s Garlic Aioli and adding some salt, cumin and turmeric (to make it egg-colored). Eat it plain or add some chopped raw veggies, such as carrots, celery, and peppers.
Next: Grilled and BBQ Tofu
Grilled and BBQ Tofu
Tofu tastes great grilled. Grill tofu and veggie pieces and serve on Focaccia bread with avocado and balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have a grill or don’t want to use it, you can make a modified version of BBQ tofu by just sautéing some tofu pieces — cut into strips or cubes — putting the browned tofu pieces in an 8 or 9-inch casserole dish, pouring BBQ sauce over it, and heating it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve as a main dish or make a sandwich.
Next: Tofu Bacon, Tofu Ricotta Cheese, Tofu Scramble…
Tofu Bacon, Tofu Ricotta Cheese, Tofu Scramble, Etc.
Make tofu bacon by marinating tofu in a combination of water, tamari soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. Make a tofu ricotta cheese (blend firm tofu with lemon juice, fresh basil, fresh garlic, and soy milk) to use in lasagna or stuffed shells. Scramble tofu together with your favorite vegetables and the spice turmeric to give it a beautiful yellow color. This delicious dish can be served as is, or can be used as the basis for “tofu rancheros” by wrapping it in a tortilla, and serving with black beans and salsa. Add cubes of firm tofu to miso soup.
The Versatility of Tofu
Tofu is such a versatile food; you can do so much with it, so definitely give it a chance. It’s really satisfying, really filling, a great source of protein (if that’s something you’re looking for), it’s high in Omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, and is a great source of iron and other minerals such as calcium (especially if you get the tofu that uses a calcium base as its coagulant– it will say “calcium enriched” on the package), and is so versatile. Just don’t be afraid of it. Experiment with it, trust it, trust me, and perhaps someday you’ll get to the same place as me — where it becomes difficult to cook with it, because you want to gobble up the entire block before you even get to use it in whatever dish you’re preparing. (I do have some amount of self control, though!)