Five Uses For Tofu

If you follow health and nutrition news, you are no doubt aware of the amazing health benefits of soy products.

Research indicates that soy protein and soy isoflavones help prevent cardiovascular disease and relieve the symptoms of menopause.

In addition, soy products, including tofu, provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega 3 fatty acids that are critical to health. Although you know that tofu would be a healthful addition to your diet, are you struggling to find ways to use and cook this versatile, yet unusual food?

To help you get started, here is a little bit of information about tofu. For additional information, please see the article on tofu in our food database.

Tofu is available refrigerated in individual packages or in bulk, or non-refrigerated in aseptically sealed containers. Packaged tofu should feature expiration dates that you should check to make sure that you will be using it before that date. Tofu varies in texture from soft to firm to extra-firm. Soft tofu has a smoother texture and is therefore better suited for salad dressings, sauces and desserts, while firm and extra-firm tofu are best for baking, stir-frying and grilling.

While aseptically packaged tofu need not be refrigerated until it is opened, all other forms of tofu should be refrigerated in their container. Once their packages are open, all types should be rinsed well, kept in a container covered with water, and placed in the refrigerator. Changing the water daily will help keep the tofu fresh for up to one week. Tofu can also be frozen in its original packaging and will keep this way for up to five months. This process will actually alter its texture and color, making it more spongy and absorbant, and more yellowish in color. This change in physical properties is actually very suitable for certain recipe preparations. If you are selecting tofu on the basis of fat content, the firmer tofus are usually the highest in fat, and the softest tofus, often called silky or silken, are the lowest.

Now you are ready to begin experimenting with tofu:

  1. Start with something quick and easy, a stir-fry for example. Select your favorite vegetables and a firm tofu. If you are comfortable making stir-frys, go for it. If you would like more guidance, see our Tofu Stir-Fry recipe in our recipe database.
  2. Now, think tofu for dessert. The creamy, soft texture of silken tofu is ideal for desserts, and can even be used as a substitute for dairy products in mousses, puddings, and cream pies. Try our fantastic dessert recipes using tofu: Chocolate Mousse and Very Berry Delight.
  3. Make a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast or a nutritious snack by blending soft tofu with your favorite fruits (and cane sugar or honey to taste) in a blender or food processor.
  4. Marinated baked tofu can be served in salads or in sandwiches. Use olive oil as the basis for the marinade and add the seasonings of your choice. Some of our favorites include tamari, garlic and ginger.
  5. Scramble soft tofu together with your favorite vegetables and turmeric to give it a yellow "egg-like" coloring. This delicious dish can be served as is or can be used as the basis for "tofu rancheros" by being wrapped in a tortilla and served with black beans and salsa.


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