My Best Tofu Recipes

A collage of various tofu recipe photos by Dorothy Porker.

Happy new year and welcome to Veganuary 2021! Because I know a lot of people would like to cook (more) vegan meals, I’ve already got a lot of vegan recipes lined up for the new year. Even more people seem to have issues figuring out what to do with tofu, so I figured I’d give you a little roundup of my tastiest tofu recipes.

Top tip: at least in Dutch supermarkets, the wet cardboard that is sold as firm ‘bio’-tofu is practically inedible. It’s best to buy ‘regular’ tofu, ideally from an Asian supermarket. You’d be suprised how much better tofu is if you get the right stuff. Cheaper too.

All the recipes in this post are made with firm tofu. Silk tofu is delicious as well but requires a completely different preparation method than firm tofu. So only buy silken if a recipe calls for it, like this vegan mushroom mapo tofu.

What to do with tofu

I like to use firm tofu two ways. Tofu puffs and minced tofu form the foundation of most of my recipes and while pressing takes a bit of time, it’s smooth sailing from there on out. Both of these basic tofu recipes are versatile and can be spruced up with pretty much any sauce.

  • Minced Tofu – unfortunately I’ve forgotten where I found this method for making tofu mince, but it’s a foundation I use almost every week. Once you’ve fried your tofu to a crisp you can drown it in whatever sauce you like and use as you would minced chicken. I’ve lined up some examples for you below.
  • Tofu Puffs – you can buy tofu puffs at most Asian supermarket if that’s easier for you, I like to make mine in the oven. It’s less messy than shallow frying and I get lovely crisp results every time. Besides the recipes mentioned below, these make an excellent filling accompaniment to Japanese ramen noodles or Vietnamese phở.

Lots of crumbled tofu on a mint green background.

Ideas for using minced tofu

As mentioned, I kind of just drown my minced tofu in whatever sauce I’m in the mood for. If this seems a little daunting, here are some ideas for using minced tofu. Note all these recipes work just as well with store-bought plant-based mince.

  • Mexican chorizo tofu tacos – the coming together of this dish and it’s various influences is probably one of my proudest moments. The chorizo-paste really capture the flavors of Mexican chorizo (as I know it) and result in a smoky earthy taco.
  • Sweet potato with miso glazed tofu – this is a recipe I originally made with meat mince but it works just as well with tofu mince, if not better. It’s filling enough to make up a proper lunch or dinner, with maybe a little salad on the side.
  • Sweet potato and harissa tofu tacos – this recipe was totally off the cuff, bringing together leftovers onto one tasty ass taco.
  • Tofu larb gai – the classic Thai lettuce cups, but make ‘m vegan.

Obviously you can mix and match most of the above and stick chorizo tofu on a sweet potato or miso mince on a taco, etc, etc. If you don’t want to make the harissa from scratch, as always: store-bought is fine.

Three long metal scalloped plates with, from top to bottom, tahin noodles, harissa tofu puffs, both of those together in one plate with some mixed salad leaves and a small bowl of harissa paste

Ideas for using tofu puffs

A lot of people marinate their tofu, but growing up with Dutch-Indonesian food I’ve never really seen this (which isn’t to say that there aren’t any Indonesian recipes where tofu is marinated, just that I don’t know of them). We always fried ours in slices and then drizzled over some kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) with raw bean sprouts and rice and that was pretty much it.

In the new year I want to try some of those marinades. For now, here’s a few recipes for using tofu puffs. Again: store-bought is fine. Reheat your tofu puffs in a hot oven or in a frying pan before use.

  • Harissa tofu puffs and tahin noodles – this recipe marks the start of my descent into harissa. It’s extremely flavorful, earthy and delicious and surprisingly easy.
  • Tika massala – normally I make this recipe with cauliflower, but you can easily replace the cauliflower with tofu puffs. Just toss them in the sauce at the very end of cooking, so they don’t lose their crunch.
  • PB and hot sauce noodles – I usually make this with silken tofu, but for a bit more bite tofu puffs work just as well or maybe even better.
  • Gado gado – you’ll need to replace the trassi (fermented prawn paste) in this with miso, but other than that this Indonesian classic is a perfect vegan dish.

What are your favorite vegan basics? And what’s your vegan go-to dish? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Zoek je deze recepten in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar voor Mijn Lekkerste Tofu Recepten voor Veganuary 2021.

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