Vegetarians can get plenty of protein from non-animal sources like beans, legumes, quinoa, grains, etc etc. If you’ve never tried to make tofu before for fear of this mushy white block that peers at you from behind the refrigerator in the hippy dippy plant protein section of the grocery store…read on.
Tofu is an incredible food- after all it’s just basically condensed soy milk. It’s loaded with protein and a really excellent non-dairy source of calcium. It comes in several varieties that have different culinary uses…
Silken/soft: the softest form of tofu…great in smoothies and baked desserts.
Firm: usually what I stick with and perfect for making soups, stir frying, and eating on its own after marinating.
Extra firm: this kind holds up better in a dish but to me, feels like it has a rubbery texture.
Sprouted: a good option because it has almost twice the amount of protein than regular tofu, but can be more expensive. Some people also say this form is easier to digest if you’re sensitive to soy. Tummy = satisfied. Wallet = not so happy.
The best part about tofu is its versatility. It will absorb just about any flavor you marinate it or cook it with. Common tofu marinades around my kitchen range from soy sauce to BBQ sauce to citrus/ginger/cilantro. So now that you know more about tofu than you probably ever wanted to, here is a quick run down on how to prepare it so you can start incorporating it into some vegetarian dishes. Sound good?
1) Slice open the package and drain the water out. (This is organic firm tofu from Trader Joe’s…it’s under $3:)
2) Now we “press” the tofu to get the rest of the moisture out. Place a couple paper towels on a plate, put the tofu block on them, and place another few paper towels on top. Then add another plate
3) I always grab some cans but any heavy object(s) will do…you just want some weight on the top of the plate so that the liquid seeps out. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. The paper towels will be saturated at the end
4) Throw away the paper towels and slice open the block. You can slice it any way you’d like, it’s really easy to cut through but I usually cut through width-wise once to make the block into two thinner squares
5) Additionally, I like to cut mine into tiny triangles for stir frying but it’s up to you…to make these babies just slice each thin block into 3 strips, then cut each strip in half to make squares. Cut each square diagonally to form triangles
6) There you have it! Now these are ready to marinate, stir fry, bake, etc etc.
I will post a new tofu recipe soon so you can use this method to make all your vegetarian fantasies come trueeeee. Cheers.