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GabyBaby posted 4/29/2014 22:35 PM

Talk to me about tofu. I'm trying to eat less meat (but not necessarily go vegetarian/vegan) and am curious about tofu.

I can only recall having it in soups at Chinese food restaurants.

What are your favorite ways to prepare it?
What kind do you buy?

Pros/Cons of using it?


MissMouseMo posted 4/29/2014 23:37 PM

I've been vegetarian for many years and still haven't really gotten the hang of tofu (sorry), but I can tell you that a few other meat substitutes have worked real well.

Boca burgers are really good, Boca crumbles (or Morningstar Farms) make a great shepherd's pie, and soyrizo (veggie chorizo) makes the most fabulous pizza you've ever had. I start with a frozen cheese pizza I like, spread the soyrizo, add onion or mushrooms or jalapenos if I have 'em, add more cheese and eat until I big as a tick!

I also like Yves bologna (if you like bologna, it's great - even kids like it), and the frozen corny dogs are usually good, too.

For me, the trick has been to use them IN a recipe, not as just a "thing" by itself. I usually start with a highly-flavored recipe that uses some meat (like Italian sausage in a spaghetti sauce) and then I'll substitute the vegetarian alternative in a much smaller quantities (like half?) and I have enjoyed BLTs with the facon (fake-on? fake bacon?) too. Mmmmmm.

Oh, oh, and one more: EVERYBODY loves those Christmas sausage balls made of Bisquick & cheddar and GimmeLean (rhymes with Jimmy Dean) "soysage".

GabyBaby posted 4/29/2014 23:45 PM

Thanks Triple M!
Do you get the soyrizo at a regular grocery store or more of a specialty place like Trader Joe's/Whole Foods?

TattoodChinaDoll posted 4/29/2014 23:54 PM

Dr. Praeger's makes some really yummy vegetarian food!

Tofu kind of tastes like nothingness. You need to flavor it with something. It's really the consistency that can get you. Not as firm as jello...but not silky like flan. I guess it's more like the consistency of a blood clot...not that I've ever eaten a blood clot. Just the first thing that comes to mind. But you can do anything with tofu. Even grill it!

If you want to be really adventurous find an Asian food market/restaurant that sells stinky tofu!

lieshurt posted 4/30/2014 07:58 AM

Here's a recipe that's good if you like a little spice. My friends and I love it made this way.

metamorphisis posted 4/30/2014 08:10 AM

I only buy the extra firm tofu for recipes and isn't gelatinous or wiggly at all. It's like a spongey texture and you drain the liquid it's packed in out before cooking. It's more like a hard boiled egg in consistency.
We use it crumbled in stir fry and we slice it thin, bread it and make it exactly the same way you would make chicken parm. Everyone, including my very picky 10 yr old will eat it that way. Though covered in cheese and sauce it's pretty hard to go wrong.

MissMouseMo posted 4/30/2014 08:35 AM

Soyrizo's manufacturer's name is Frieda's and I used to just buy it at Kroger's but I noticed they aren't selling it anymore so I'm going to have to go to some place like Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods).

It comes in a "skin" just like other loose sausage - it's twisted in the middle and folded over double. that we're talking about it, I'm going to have to go find some! (Oh and the Yves veggie peperoni is good, too - like make a 3 "meat" pizza with it, soyrizo and crumbles crumbles - or even Tofurky's Italian soysage [I'm not the biggest Tofurky brand fan, but your mileage may vary so try them all]...slowly. Why are they so crazy expensive???)

FaithFool posted 4/30/2014 08:51 AM

I like the firm stuff, drained, diced, pan fried with onion and mushrooms with teriyaki sauce and wheat noodles.

It's also good in coconut milk curry with lots of veggies, or baked with olive oil, sea salt and herbs with roasted root vegetables.

I tend to stay away from the fake meats as they have too many ingredients and I'm never sure if they are genetically modified or not. I'm a few ingredients eater, so eat a lot of bean dishes.

Meatless doesn't have to be boring or involve commercially prepared expensive stuff.

I make my own hummus, and love to do up a big mess of black bean dip to have with homemade corn chips and a fried egg with oven fries. I make the Mexican "megas" in the skillet without the cheese, delish with lots of guacamole.

Time for breakfast!

[This message edited by FaithFool at 8:51 AM, April 30th (Wednesday)]

GabyBaby posted 4/30/2014 10:23 AM

Thanks so much for your suggestions and links!
I dug up some recipes on Pinterest that look pretty darned tasty too.

TCD - I'm pretty adventurous, but "stinky tofu" has me a little worried!

Lieshurt - I LOVE spice/heat, so that is definitely one I will try.

Meta - Great to know that even your picky eater will eat it prepped that way. That's definitely one for the "save" pile.

Thanks MissMouse- I'll have a look at our local stores to see if they carry it and if the ingredients look "whole".

I'm going to have to go to some place like Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods).

Whole Paycheck is right!!!

Faithfool - Oooh the coconut milk and curry ideas sound fantastic!! I LOVE curry.

I'm a few ingredients eater

This is the direction I've been traveling for about a year now. I'm not always perfect, but I almost always pick "real" food over processed.

Thanks again!

allusions posted 4/30/2014 11:27 AM

Take firm or extra firm tofu and freeze it in its container for several days (3-5 days). Defrost it and squeeze the water out. Freezing it changes the tofu gives it a chewy texture.

My favorite tofu cookbook is Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler. It has an excellent recipe for tofu enchiladas and another one for chili con tofu (which I took to a superbowl party and all of the meat-loving guys there liked it and didn't even realize it was tofu!).

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 4/30/2014 11:48 AM

homemade corn chips

Please share your recipe?

GabyBaby posted 4/30/2014 12:11 PM

Thanks Allusions!
I'll give the freezing suggestion a try as well as the chilli recipe!

(And yeah...let's have that chip recipe - and the homemade hummus too!!))

deb3129 posted 4/30/2014 14:01 PM

I have been vegan for a little over two years, and it took me a while to make friends with tofu. It really is just all about the seasoning. My favorite way to eat it is as a scramble, like scrambled eggs. Just crumble it up, brown it a little in a pan with some veggies and seasonings, and it is delicious. My hubby who is not a fan of most of my 'weird' vegan food, loves it this way too.

She11ybeanz posted 4/30/2014 14:20 PM

I used to be OBSESSED with baked tofu!!! I think it was like a sesame peanut marinated kind and I would slice a block of it in half and heat it up in a frying pan with some olive oil until browned on both sides.....(mmmmm.....I'm salivating just thinking about it) and put it on a sandwich with light mayo....

But of local natural foods co-op stopped carrying it....I was devastated. I can never seem to cook raw tofu right so I stopped eating it.

FaithFool posted 4/30/2014 19:44 PM

Hummus is too easy, I can't believe what they charge for the store-bought stuff...

Single person recipe, you can make a bigger batch if you have the bigger blender, which I don't.

I have a granite mortar and pestle, throw in a half cup of chickpeas, a tablespoon of tahini, a splosh of olive oil, big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, sea salt and a bit of water to make it the consistency you want.

Then mash it around until it's smooth. Spread on a whole wheat chapati or whatever. Keep the rest of the chickpeas in the freezer until you want to make more.

I eat it most days at work for lunch so I don't throw in the garlic. If it's the weekend, crush a garlic clove in there and add paprika if you want some spice.

For the corn chips I only make a few at a time because I'm just cooking for one.

Get the organic sprouted tortillas, keep them in the freezer, take out what you need and let them thaw.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, cut the tortilla into 8ths or quarters if you want lots of scooping area, sizzle them in the oil till they're nice and crispy, drain on a paper towel and heat in the oven until the batch is done.

Sprinkle with sea salt. Divine with the hummus and/or guacamole or with fried eggs and potatoes and beans.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 7:45 PM, April 30th (Wednesday)]

4everfaithful83 posted 4/30/2014 19:51 PM

I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I used to work for a Natural Health Food store. We carried a meatless brand called Gardein. We seriously couldn't keep this stuff in stock! I tried several and they were actually really good! You can probably find a store near you that stocks them, The website is:

I know this isn't Tofu, but just thought Id share!! :)

GabyBaby posted 4/30/2014 20:08 PM


mixedemotions posted 5/2/2014 14:12 PM

Adding to already great suggestions -

For me, it took having it made deliciously at a restaurant to realize what I was going for when I cooked it myself. I'd only prepared it to be kind of squishy (as in how it is in Miso soup) and wasn't loving it, but then had it in some really yummy Asian dishes and realized getting a nice crispiness to it (through stir frying, sautéing, etc,) makes all the difference!

I think you should conduct some official research this weekend and order it in a few dishes from your favorite Thai or Chinese restaurants!

I'm with FaithFool in being cautious of fake meats, depending on the ingredients. There are some delicious meat substitutes, but when I researched what was in them it made me wary. I think one possibly "bad" ingredient is soy protein isolate....something about the way it digests in your body that's not good for you? I could be wrong, need to do some more research myself, but I've heard that you should stick with foods made with whole soybeans, rather than protein isolate.

Let us know how those Pinterest recipes turn out!

GabyBaby posted 5/2/2014 15:26 PM

Thanks MixedE!

I've got a couple different varieties of tofu on my grocery list (picking some up after work tonight) so that I can play this weekend.

My husband basically did this:
and walked away as I was pinning some of the recipes. However, knowing him, as long as it tastes good, he'll eat it.

GabyBaby posted 5/4/2014 10:25 AM

I woke up hungry enough to eat a bear, so I tried my first tofu recipe (tofu "bacon") this morning.

It turned out really well. I don't think you'll fool anyone into thinking it is really bacon, but it has a great flavor and worked quite nicely on my "B"LT English muffin.

Tonight I'll try the chocolate pudding (made with silken tofu) for dessert.

I have a couple of the extra firm tofu in the freezer and will try a couple more recipes this coming weekend.

Tofu "Bacon"
1 tablespoon oil, neutral tasting
1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, cut into strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or aminos)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
fresh ground black pepper (optional)

1 Heat oil in a large skillet.

2 Fry "bacon" strips on low heat until crispy on the outside. To do this, place them in the pan in the oil and let them simmer for about 10 minutes, without turning. Now they are firm enough to turn easily.

3 Turn them and simmer another 10 minutes on the other side.

4 Mix the soy sauce with the liquid smoke and brown sugar, stirring to disolve sugar.

5 Remove skillet from heat.

6 Pour the liquid smoke mixture into the pan and move the tofu around so all sides are coated. Place back on heat.

7 Sprinkle the nutritional yeast, covering all sides. If you like, sprinkle a little freshly ground black pepper on now. Stir gently until the liquid is gone and the tofu is covered with a crispy coating of yeast. Enjoy!

ETA: The thinner slices crisped up more, so slice 'em THIN!

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 10:31 AM, May 4th (Sunday)]

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