I *want* to like tofu

ReenieHJ
ReenieHJ Posts: 9,401 Member
I'm looking to add more meatless varieties of protein and have tried several times to add tofu. I know everybody says it takes on the flavor of what it's being cooked with but I still know it's there. :) Maybe it's the texture....IDK. I've tried it in a casserole and a couple stir-fry dishes, plus omelets(the firm kind of tofu). Is it worth trying in smoothies?
Any other suggestions?

Thanks!!!
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Replies

  • acpgee
    acpgee Posts: 6,599 Member
    Here's a method that is similar to deep fried tofu which is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside:
    Buy the firmest tofu you can. If you want to firm it up further there are 3 techniques I know of.
    1. Cut into 1 inch slabs, press between cutting boards lined with paper towel. You can add a weight such as a tin of tomatoes and it takes 45 minutes.
    2. Blanche the tofu in boiling water for a minute then dry off.
    3. Drain the tofu and freeze it. Squeeze out excess water after defrosting. If you are in a hurry to defrost, simmer it in water.
    Cube the tofu and combine in a sealable food container with a tablespoon of oil, a tablespoon of cornstarch and salt and pepper to taste. Seal and shake to coat. Bake or air fry at 200C for 20-30 minutes until crunchy on the outside. Afterwards stir fry with veg and a stir fry sauce.

    Other lesser known plant proteins you could try are seitan (wheat gluten with a very meaty texture) and tempeh (an Indonesian fermented tofu that has a totally different flavour and texture). Both are available in Asian supermarkets but I am sure places like Whole Foods would have them. Seitan is sold in tins as the Asian supermarket, where it is known as Buddhist mock meat. I find tempeh in the freezer section of the Asian supermarket.

    You might try quorn, which is a fungus based plant protein. I don't like it on its own, but if I replace 30% of minced meat in any recipe with quorn mince I can't tell the difference in either taste or texture.
  • BarbaraHelen2013
    BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,846 Member
    I’ve recently begun to enjoy Tofu, having tried it on and off for many years and deciding it wasn’t for me, despite wanting to like it!

    What changed for me was trying Smoked Tofu. It’s readily available in supermarkets here in the U.K. Obviously I don’t know if that’ll be the case in the States. The brand I use is The Tofoo Company. Because it’s smoked it does have a flavour of its own and that seemed to get me past the texture issue I had with Tofu previously. Tofoo Company tofu does not need any pressing etc, which was another thing I dislike about standard tofu - too much messy faff! 😂

    Having come to enjoy the Smoked version I’ve now started to eat normal non smoked tofu and now really like the slightly spongy texture that I found odd for years.
  • sarah7591
    sarah7591 Posts: 248 Member
    This is not about tofu but yesterday I tried Impossible hamburger and breakfast sausage. It was so good! Do they sell that in your area? It is made with soy protein.
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 648 Member
    I've cooked almost exclusively vegetarian for several years and have never liked tofu. There's no need to eat tofu if you don't like it.
  • nooshi713
    nooshi713 Posts: 4,834 Member
    I’m pescatarian and eat a lot of veggie food. I can’t stand tofu despite trying it in many ways. I do like tempeh and seitan though. The texture is preferable to me.
  • glassyo
    glassyo Posts: 6,362 Member
    I bought some silken tofu on a whim in the hopes of making it into a pudding type thing. It expires on 1/13 and didn't realize the work it takes before making it into something but I almost have all the other ingredients depending on which recipe I use.

    Maybe try that?

    One is basically the silken tofu mixed with sf ff chocolate jello pudding and the other two are mixed with cocoa powder, a little milk, and maple syrup (and protein powder for the third).
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,867 Member
    edited January 8
    I like tofu a lot (since it really does just take up the flavor of what it is cooked with, I must like the texture to some degree), but with respect to the smoothie idea, it generally is not noticeable at all. So if you want to add it to up the protein in a smoothie you can. Silken tofu can also be used in plenty of desserts.

    Beyond that, maybe try to figure out what bothers you, and if the texture try ways to alter that some to address whatever it is that you are finding offputting. I like the texture of it pan fried, but I don't think I have expectations of it having a different texture than it does, and sometimes a mismatch there can be bothersome. I also think I grew to like tofu through having it at restaurants -- maybe try it there if you haven't. (I'm pretty sure I first had it and liked it -- my dad tried to cook it when I was a kid and had no idea what he was doing -- in hot and sour soup and pad thai, for example.)

    That aside, there is absolutely no reason you have to like tofu, of course, but if you keep trying you may find it to be tasty at some point.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,481 Member
    The soft/silken types can be blended into a "creamy" soup, such as a squash or sweet potato soup, white bean soup, among others. Sometimes I blend the soft types with the ricotta cheese for a lasagna dish, or put it in a veggie moussaka with the bechamel. I put it in red-lentil pasta'n'cheese mixed with Winter squash or cauliflower, plain Greek yogurt, and a moderate amount of flavorful cheese (even the firm type, cut up small, seems fine for this, to me).

    I've even blended soft tofu to puree with avocado, to make a calorie-lightened, much more protein rich guacamole. A surprisingly high proportion of tofu can be used, and still have a good quac-type flavor/texture. I can't tell you proportions, because I cook by throwing things together, not by recipe. I'd say experiment, starting with maybe 1/4 tofu to avocado, by volume.

    Some people skip the soft tofu because firm has (seemingly) more protein. Firm does have more protein per volume, but the calorie/protein ratio is similar across the different firmnesses. The difference is mainly water content in the tofu. The price/protein ratio is going to depend on what your store has, so I won't speculate.

    I agree with a couple of the comments above, specifically:

    I like the smoked tofu. It's still somewhat tofu-textured, but firmer than firm tofu. Sliced fairly thin, it has a somewhat lunch-meat-ish texture. Coincidentally, I just ate a fold-over sandwich on an Ezekiel tortilla that had dill mustard, thin-sliced smoked tofu, some reduced-fat cheddar cheese (many are not good, but Cabot is OK by me, but mozzarella is OK too), thin-sliced sweet onion, heated to melt the cheese; then I add raw sauerkraut. It's one of the few non-breakfast main dishes I repeat in a consistent form often, because I like it that much.

    The texture can be varied, but you do need to figure out what you don't like. I don't hate it, but don't love it in big soft-ish chunks, either. Often, I take firm tofu and either slice it thin (around 1/4"), or cut it in maybe 1/4" dice, then put it in the oven on an oiled pan. The slices I usually bake until crispy/chewy (flipping once), and eat with a dipping sauce of some type (peanut sauce made with peanut power/chile sauce/vinegar is one, but I'm liking Nando's garlic peri-peri sauce lately. The small cubes I usually bake until just dry/crisp, then put in something that has a bit of thin sauce, like stir-fried veggies with tamari & rice vinegar; the dry small tofu cubes suck in the liquid, and absorb the flavor.

    You may not like those textures, either, but they are quite different from the basic firm tofu.

    Have you tried tempeh? It looks a little scary, but the texture is bean-like, and flavor (of those not pre-seasoned) quite neutral. There are quite a variety of seasoned ones available, too.

    Other ways of eating tofu/soy: There are commercial tofu noodles, and they're quite noodle-like (in an Asian-ish noodle way). Occasionally I see things like "tofu skins" egg roll wrappers or wonton wrappers; those also have a texture fairly similar to the equivalent flour products, IMO. Edamame/soy pasta is high in protein, like 24-25g protein per 2 oz (dry) serving, for maybe 180 calories. It's chewy when cooked (not like tofu, very different), so I don't like it in Italian-like preps, but do enjoy it in Asian-style dishes. Dry roasted soybeans, which can be bought flavored or plain, are good as a snack, or a crispy thing to sprinkle over salad or soup or whatever.
  • janicemlove
    janicemlove Posts: 181 Member
    I love tofu. I've found I like it more if I stick it in a tofu press and in the fridge for a few days (make sure it's sealed well).
  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,474 Member
    I use silken tofu as a salad dressing base instead ofsyo or yogurt. Have to really spice it up, but it's got a great creamy texture and adds a protein boost to a salad
  • Mrscanmore
    Mrscanmore Posts: 846 Member
    I also wish I liked it, but I don't. I hate it! We've also tried to have more plant based proteins. I prefer cooking with lentils. I had some really good sweet potato black bean tacos this week from half baked harvest blog. I also like minimalist baker sloppy joes.
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,401 Member
    Thank you everybody :)
    Lots of ideas and advice. I still think I'll skip putting Tofu on my grocery list this week. :) I'll get brave again soon and try some of your wonderful ideas.
  • nooshi713
    nooshi713 Posts: 4,834 Member
    There are lots of other ways to consume soy though: veggie burgers, nuggets, soy milk, edamame…..
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,401 Member
    @Nooshi713 Veggie burgers did jump into my cart yesterday. :)
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 648 Member
    Budget Bytes has some excellent vegetarian recipes that are cheap, easy, and don't include tofu. That's always my go to resource when helping people add plant-based meals to their repertoire.
  • Xerogs
    Xerogs Posts: 318 Member
    edited January 10
    I usually prefer firm or extra firm tofu. I use our Tofu Bud to drain the water which works really well. I then cube the tofu and place in our air fryer. This will crisp up the tofu and remove any left over moisture. Once that is complete you can then season to taste since tofu will take on whatever seasoning you apply to it. We use this method prior to making a veggie stir fry and tofu buffalo wraps. Last night I had cubed tofu right out of the air fryer over brown rice, tomatoes, and seasoned with liquid aminos and sriracha with a some vegan butter added to the rice.

    You can also crumble extra firm tofu to make scrambles but make sure to drain the water out. I've used silken tofu in some smoothies and miso soups. It takes some experimentation to get figure out what works best for you. My wife hated tofu in the beginning but the Tofu Bud and air fryer she really likes it especially with Primal vegan buffalo sauce.

    Soy curls are another option but much like tofu they will take on whatever you season them with and they have a more meat like texture if you like that.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,772 Member
    For most people I know who do not like tofu, it's a texture thing...kind of like how people are with mushrooms or olives. If it's a texture thing, it's pretty hard to get over. I like tofu, but I usually only get it when we're getting Thai takeout. I don't think I've ever bought it at the store or prepared my own.
  • LenGray
    LenGray Posts: 687 Member
    Tofu has a bit of a learning curve, unfortunately. It took me a while before I really started to enjoy it and even now, I'm just as likely to reach for other high-protein alternatives like seitan, tempeh, soy curls, TVP, chickpea flour, or straight legumes. IF you want to try tofu again, I'd highly recommend these recipes until you get a taste for it:

    https://www.rhiansrecipes.com/vegan-japanese-style-mapo-tofu-gf/#wprm-recipe-container-9548. I usually use firm tofu for this mapo tofu. No need to press, just slice it and dump it in.

    https://thymeandlove.com/vegan-baked-pasta-with-tofu-ricotta/. Awesome recipe that goes well with firm or extra-firm tofu. Yet again, pressing not necessary, though I usually squeeze mine a little.

    https://theveglife.com/tofu-noodle-soup-vegan/. Delicious soup for two. Yet again, no need to press.

    https://www.veganricha.com/celery-black-pepper-tofu/. A great faux-takeout dish that (you guessed it!) requires no pressing.

    https://frommybowl.com/crispy-tofu-recipe/#tasty-recipes-4868. This is my favorite 'general-purpose' tofu. It tastes a bit like chicken. Would highly recommend extra-firm tofu for this one, as well as some smoked paprika.

    Another option would be checking out the local tofu options in your area. Once I started looking, there were a surprising amount of tofu-based dishes at my local Asian restaurants. Eating those gave me an idea of what tofu 'should' taste like. Also, check out your Asian grocery stores. They will typically have more options and variety than what you can find elsewhere.
  • glassyo
    glassyo Posts: 6,362 Member
    edited January 10
    So this thread (and the expiration date of the tofu I bought) got my butt in gear to try one of those pudding recipes I mentioned. It didn't need to be drained (thank you, google) so that was good. And I mixed it by hand and not with the immersion blender or hand mixer I surprisingly still had and I'm impatient so it wasn't as smooth as it could have been. And I should have gone with my first instinct not to buy cocoa powder because all the maple syrup and then added splenda couldn't get rid of that bitter taste.

    The silken tofu itself was a good texture, tho, and when I tried it without any flavoring, it wasn't offensive or anything.

    I only used one serving of the tofu so next up is protein powder on its own and, when I get it, the sf ff chocolate jello pudding.

    So anyone want some slightly used cocoa powder? :)
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,481 Member
    glassyo wrote: »
    So this thread (and the expiration date of the tofu I bought) got my butt in gear to try one of those pudding recipes I mentioned. It didn't need to be drained (thank you, google) so that was good. And I mixed it by hand and not with the immersion blender or hand mixer I surprisingly still had and I'm impatient so it wasn't as smooth as it could have been. And I should have gone with my first instinct not to buy cocoa powder because all the maple syrup and then added splenda couldn't get rid of that bitter taste.

    The silken tofu itself was a good texture, tho, and when I tried it without any flavoring, it wasn't offensive or anything.

    I only used one serving of the tofu so next up is protein powder on its own and, when I get it, the sf ff chocolate jello pudding.

    So anyone want some slightly used cocoa powder? :)

    If it's unsweetened cocoa powder, try it in black bean soup, chili, or something like that. Definitely cook it. I like about 1 tablespoon (I think that's around 7g?) per large serving, but you might want to try half that first. It doesn't (to me) taste explicitly "chocolate-y", just richer, mostly.