Not sure how to prepare tofu? We’ve got you covered! Click here to see five easy and delicious recipes with tofu.

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or you simply want to cut down on your meat consumption but still wish to cook with a complete protein source, tofu can be an excellent, highly versatile and tasty choice, as long as you know how to use it. Known for a myriad of health benefits, it can work well with a wide range of cuisines, plus it is planet-friendly to boot. Here we look at its benefits, as well as how to prepare healthy tofu recipes at home, which also happen to be super quick and easy too.

Tofu As A Healthy Protein Source Alternative

Tofu, otherwise known as bean curd, is an excellent source of complete protein. Made from curdled then cooled soya bean milk, it is pressed into solid blocks in a process not dissimilar to cheesemaking. The legend goes that tofu was discovered by accident 2000 years ago in China, when a cook mistakenly curdled soymilk upon adding nigari seaweed.

It contains all nine essential amino acids, as well as being a great source of iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. It is extremely low in fat; gluten-free; is thought to lower levels off bad cholesterol; and it contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens, which may protect against some cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. The phyto chemicals are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, making it a great choice to incorporate as part of a wider anti-inflammatory diet. Finally, tofu has long been associated with maintaining a healthy weight.

Here are just a few tasty ideas for how to cook tofu. An unusually versatile ingredient, it can be prepared either soft or crunchy, whether by pan-frying, stir-frying, deep-frying of using in a stew. Check out these protein-rich five best tofu recipes.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu Recipe

Bon Appetit

Andy Baraghani’s delicious recipe for Bon Appetit features a beautiful marriage of textures; the silken softness of the noodles the perfect foil for the crunchy tofu.

2 medium Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds Kosher salt
1 1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
5 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
1 red chilli, such as Holland or Fresno, thinly sliced, seeded if you’re spice-averse
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1 12-oz block firm tofu, drained, patted dry
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola, peanut, or vegetable
4 oz. dried soba noodles
2 tbsp tahini
3 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1. Toss cucumbers and a few pinches of salt in a colander. Let sit until salt begins to draw out water from cucumbers (about five minutes). Massage cucumbers, gently at first to keep them from breaking, then more vigorously as they start to expel water. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid again. Transfer cucumbers to a small bowl.
2. Add ginger and 1 tbsp vinegar and toss to combine. Chill until ready to use.
3. Whisk chilli, soy sauce, honey, and 3 tbsp vinegar in a medium bowl.
4. Cut tofu into 9 square-ish pieces by cutting the block into thirds, then cutting each third crosswise into 3 pieces. Pat dry.
5. Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Cook tofu, undisturbed, until very crisp and dark brown underneath (4–5 minutes).
6. Transfer tofu to a plate; wipe out skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high. Return tofu to skillet and add soy sauce mixture (reserve medium bowl; you’ll use it again). Cook, turning tofu occasionally and reducing heat to medium if needed, until glaze is almost thick enough to coat a spoon (about 4 minutes).
7. Cook soba noodles according to package directions; drain. Do not rinse noodles, even if the instructions tell you to — you want them to stay warm.
8. Transfer tofu to a plate, leaving sauce in pan. Pour sauce into reserved medium bowl. Whisk in tahini and remaining 1 tbsp vinegar. Add noodles and toss until coated with sauce.
9. Divide noodles among bowls. Top with tofu, pickled cucumbers, and scallions.

Tofu & Vegetable Patties Recipe

BBC Good Food

This recipe, supplied by BBC Good Food reader Julie Frankland, is inspired by the Japanese dish Ganmodoki. It makes for a great quick and healthy mid-week dinner.

1 carrot, grated
Bunch spring onions sliced, plus extra strips to serve
1 garlic clove, crushed
3cm/11/4 inch piece ginger, grated
400g block firm tofu, drained and crumbled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp each sesame and vegetable oil
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

1. Combine all the ingredients except the oils in a large bowl with some seasoning and mix well. Heat both the oils in a frying pan. Grease an 8cm metal pastry ring or cookie cutter and place in the pan. When hot, pour 5 tbsp of the batter in and turn the heat down to medium.
2. Cook 4-5 mins until golden, then take off the ring (be careful, as it may be hot), flip the pattie and cook the other side. Do this in batches, keeping finished patties warm in a low oven. Serve with the chilli sauce and extra spring onions, if you like.

Smoky Tofu Tortillas Recipe

BBC Good Food

Jane Hornby’s recipe for BBC Good Food demonstrates how well tofu lends itself to a delicious smokiness, here supplied by the addition of paprika. Absolutely ideal for a large hungry crowd, or school night dinners that’ll please the whole family.

1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 onions, each cut into 12 wedges
2 Romano peppers, deseeded and sliced
Small pack coriander, leaves picked and stems finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
200g pack smoked tofu (I liked Taifun), cut into bite-sized pieces
400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400g can cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp dark brown soft sugar

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Season and cook on a high heat for 8 mins or until just tender and starting to char. Add the coriander stems, fry for 1 min, stirring, then add the spices and cook for 2 mins more, stirring, until fragrant.
2. Tip in the tofu, beans, tomatoes and sugar, and cook for 5 mins until the sauce is quite dry and the tofu is heated through. Warm the tortillas following pack instructions.
3. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add the coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and serve with the tortillas, lime halves, avocado and yogurt or soured cream on the side.

Tofu, Black bean and Avocado Rice Bowl Recipe

BBC Good Food

Cassie Best’s recipe for BBC Good Food shows how well tofu can stand in for meat; here she gives carnivores the option of preparing exactly the same recipe, the only substitution being for chorizo. We’ll stick with the meat-free tofu option, which is hearty, delicious and full of goodness.

2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 x 400g cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Zest 2 limes, then 1 juiced, the other cut into wedges to serve
396g pack tofu, halved through the centre, then chopped into small chunks
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 x 200g pouches cooked brown rice
2 small ripe avocados, halved, stoned, peeled and chopped small bunch coriander, leaves only
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Heat the grill to high. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or so until soft. Add the garlic and sizzle for 30 secs more, then stir in the cumin and black beans. Cook for 5 mins until the beans start to pop and are hot through. Stir through the lime zest and juice, and season.
2. While the beans cook, put the tofu in a bowl and gently toss through the remaining oil, the paprika and some seasoning. Line a baking tray with foil and arrange the tofu on top. Cook under the grill for 5 mins each side until charred all over.
3. Heat the rice following pack instructions, then divide between bowls. Top with the beans, tofu, avocado, coriander and a wedge of lime. Add a few slices of chilli too, if you like it spicy.

Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe

Simple Vegan Blog

For any new vegetarians or vegans, there will always be the odd dish that is hard to quell the cravings for. Sweet and sour pork must rank high amongst such. And yet, Simply Vegan demonstrates that you needn’t go without: this plant-based version of the dish is every bit as delicious – and several times healthier. Here’s how to make it.

2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
10 ounces firm tofu (275 g), cubed
6 tbsp cornstarch
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

For the sweet and sour sauce:
4 tbsp cane, coconut or brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
6 tbsp water (100 ml)
2 tsp cornstarch

1. Mix tamari or soy sauce and apple cider vinegar in a bowl until well combined.
2. Add the tofu cubes and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
3. Drain the tofu and transfer 1/3 of the tofu cubes to a freezer bag with 2 tbsp of cornstarch and toss to coat. Repeat this step with the rest of the tofu and cornstarch. Add more cornstarch if needed.
4. Cook the tofu cubes in a skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until all sides are golden brown. Remove tofu from the pan and set aside.
5. Cook the veggies in the skillet with some water or oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Set aside.
6. To make the sauce just mix all the ingredients until well combined.
7. Add the sauce to a saucepan and cook until it thickens, stirring frequently.
8. Mix the tofu, veggies and sauce in the skillet, stir and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve with some sesame seeds on top (optional).

By Nancy Alsop
December 2020


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Nancy Alsop


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