Tofu 101

Tofu dinner

January 7, 2024

I’m Amanda.
The AWH Guide to all things health. With two doctorates and a background in healthcare I provide recommendations you can trust. 
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As January health resolutions begin – or perhaps they are already waning – I wanted to provide a quick guide on the nutrition front: Demystifying tofu.

Since I started AWH, I have been regularly asked about tofu – how do you purchase, prepare and cook. To hopefully answer your questions, I shall respond to tofu preparation in a Q/A format:

What is tofu? Simply stated, tofu comes from one ingredient, dried soybeans. It is a low calorie, low carb food that is HIGH in protein which makes it a plant-based staple! It has all of your essential amino acids – without the saturated fat! Additionally, tofu is nutrient dense, providing 53%, yes you read that correctly, over half of your daily calcium requirements. Other nutrients include: iron, manganese, copper, selenium, vitamin A, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and zinc. The best part, it is high in protein. A block of tofu is 177 calories, and yet it yields almost 22g of protein!

What are the health benefits of tofu? Tofu is hearty-healthy, can support menopause (and hormone regulation), regulates blood sugar, lowers your risk of cancer, strengthens bones, builds your immunity the list of pros goes on … Additionally, it not just supports a healthy diet, but you are getting the added benefit of calcium, magnesium, etc.

Which type should I use? Silken and Extra Firm tofu are the two that I have the most experience cooking with and they are always in our fridge.

  • Silken is great for blending, making pasta sauces, salad dressings, dips etc. Some of my favorite sauce recipes come from Deliciously Ella – she has simple, low ingredient plant-based recipes Also, I love Dr. B’s Fiber Field Cookbook as there is a recipe in there to make a feta tofu that is great on salads, over grilled veggies, etc.

silken tofu

  • Extra Firm:  Extra firm tofu is best for cutting (it really holds its shape). It can be grilled (have you ever had bar-b-que tofu? It is soooo good), sautéed, baked, scrambled, tons of options. This Minimalist Baker tofu scramble was one of the first meals I made my husband when teaching him about plant-based cooking. It is flavorful and the ingredients really pop to make a delicious breakfast meal.extra firm tofu

What does it taste like? The thing I love most about tofu, besides its incredible protein content, is its ability to adapt to whatever flavor profile you want to pursue. It readily absorbs ingredients and sauces, and the longer you marinate the better!

How do I prepare it? You need to drain and press tofu before you cook with it. I first open the packet and drain the liquid. I then cover the tofu in paper towels and press it between two plates. I usually let it sit for ~15 minutes (the longer the better) to get any excess liquid out and then you are good to go!

Silken does not require the long press time if you want to use for a sauce or dressing. However, I highly recommend pressing the extra firm. Favorite ways we like to prepare tofu are to grill, air fry, bake, or blend into a protein-filled pasta sauce.

Do you have a recipe I could try? I am working on this! Quentin and I definitely have a favorite that we make fairly regularly. I hope to get it posted soon.

If you are interested in learning more check out this article: The Case for Tofu.

Enjoy trying this protein-packed dish. It is one of our toddler’s favorite things to eat and a great way for you to add healthy protein into your diet.  If you make a recipe that you enjoy, please share or tag me in a post so that I can try it out as well.

in good health,
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