Time to Talk Tofu



I feel like tofu has one of the worst reputations. People tend to “hate” it even though they’ve never tried it. It really is a shame because it’s one of the most versatile ingredients in the meatless community. The problem is, people don’t know how to use tofu. It can be a little intimidating. (There’s so many different kinds!) It’s all wet! (Yes, you have to press it.) It’s very bland. (Yes, you need to season it!) The texture can be offputting. (Yes, but once you cook it…)

Luckily, I am here to help through all your tofu trepidation.

Silken, Firm, Extra Firm?

All tofu is made from coagulated soy milk, but the process in which this is done is what results in different firmnessess of tofu.


Different types of tofu are necessary in different types of recipes. The silken,or Mori-Nu tofu, is usually not refrigerated and can be found in the Asian cuisine aisle in most supermarkets. It comes in firm or extra firm, but this particular type of tofu is so fragile anyway, that the difference is usually negligible. Silken tofu is most useful when making vegan desserts, (I have a wonderful lowfat brownie recipe to share), or when that creamy element is needed, as in a sauce or dressing.

Firm or extra firm tofu is what I always keep in my refrigerator. This is the kind I use most often for recipes such as tofu scramble, tofu ricotta, marinated tofu, or even just cubed, fried, and seasoned stir fry tofu. It will retain its shape when frying in a pan or marinating, unlike the silken.


The difference in textures can be seen with silken on the left and regular tofu on the right

Pressing Tofu

Because tofu is packed in water, it first needs to be pressed. It is best to press tofu for at least 30 minutes before cooking, but the longer you press it, the better it will absorb the flavor. There are two ways to press tofu. After taking the tofu out of the package, wrap it in a paper towel or cloth and set on a plate. Put another plate on top and then put something somewhat heavy on top of that. I like to use a metal pot. During the 30 minutes, you will probably have to change the paper towel or cloth at least once. This can seem a little annoying, and it is. (But worth it in the end!) This is why someone invented the tofu press. I actually had never heard of a tofu press until I was reading a blog recipe that mentioned it; now, I don’t know how I lived without one. A tofu press gets the water out of your tofu better than the aforementioned method, but at the price of about $40. If you decide you love tofu and will use it all the time, it is absolutely worth the fee! My favorite one is the tofuXpress and can be purchased here.





You can see the major difference between extra firm tofu that has been pressed over night in the tofu press, and extra firm tofu that has not been pressed at all.

*Please note that silken tofu should never be placed in a tofu press, as it will just crumble under the pressure.*

Isn’t it flavorless?

Tofu actually is essentially flavorless, but that should enthrall you, not scare you away! Just like people season steaks before throwing them on the grill, do yourself a favor and season your tofu before cooking it. Sometimes just a little garlic, salt, and pepper is all that’s needed. Tofu will take on whatever flavor you give it, so the possibilities are endless!

That texture though…

Being a person who is picky about textures myself, I waited a long time before giving tofu it’s fair shot. In all honesty, it doesn’t look the most appetizing just sitting there, but in tofu’s defense, neither does a raw piece of meat! When tofu is fried in a pan, the outer part gets slightly crispy while the inside remains nice and soft; It’s a beautiful combination! Most recently, I enjoy it breaded in panko and placed in the air fryer, then served over Thai noodles. 😍 Tofu can also be cut into smaller strips and marinated to emulate the bacon in a BLT. Its crispiness is unparalleled. The short of it is, the texture of cooked tofu can be very different from what you take out of the package!



As you can see from the meals I made, tofu wears many different hats!

Isn’t soy bad for you?

In recent years, there has been a “soy scare.” I have heard people say that soy has too much estrogen and that it can affect the hormones in both males and females. My response to these people is “do you only eat meat that comes from (fe)male animals?” If not, you are ingesting estrogen from those animals, so the plant based estrogen should be slightly less of a concern. Also, the general idea of soy being bad for you has been debunked. There’s a lot of information, but I really liked this article and further reading on the subject can be found here.

I hope this inspires you to give tofu a well-deserved try. Grab a package and keep it in your fridge because I plan to share a tasty tofu recipe in the upcoming weeks! 🙂










Author: thevegtablevegan

Becoming vegan has been a life changing experience for me. Cutting back on animal products gives us the ability to change the world in so many ways. I started this blog to have all of my favorite recipes handy when someone asks, "What do you eat?" I am by no means a professional photographer, but I always enjoy visually seeing a recipe, so I do like to include pictures. I'm a busy, stay at home mommy, but try to find the time to add new recipes. I hope to offer delicious and easy plant-based recipes for those who are having trouble transitioning, already vegan, or simply want to incorporate a few vegan meals here and there. 🙂

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