It’s Tofu Time: How to Prepare Tofu, Effortlessly

Despite reports of higer-than-ever obesity rates and an increase in other diseases that result from a diet lacking essential nutrients, consumer interest in nutrition is also increasing.

This year, the United Soybean Board conducted an annual study that reported 86 percent of respondents expressed concern about the nutritional content of the food they eat.

Whether you maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet or are cutting back on the amount of meat you eat to lower your saturated fat and cholesterol consumption, tofu can be a simple, delicious way to get the protein you need.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of confusion over how to prepare tofu, so registered dietitian Joy Blakeslee of Publicis Consultants provided some of her favorite tofu-friendly cooking tips.

Tofu Press. When using tofu in stir-fry or as a substitute for grilled meat, select the firm or extra-firm tofu variety. To help the block of tofu remain firm during the cooking process, blot excess water. One way to do this is by using two paper towels and placing the block of tofu on a plate. Using a large can or a heavy book, press the tofu for about 10-20 minutes. If you don’t have 20 minutes, think about purchasing a gadget like the Tofu Xpress to help do the job faster.

Marinate. Tofu is like a sponge and will absorb the flavors that it is in. For an Asian-inspired flavor blend hot chilies, fresh garlic, ginger, lemongrass and coconut milk. For an Indian-inspired taste, try mixing curry powder, cumin, fresh garlic, onions and black pepper in soybean oil.  Pour the marinade into the pan with your tofu and cook until it reduces to a glaze.

Think beyond the block. While firm and extra-firm tofu lend themselves to slicing, sauteing and other cooking methods, silken and creamy tofu varieties let you get creative. To make a creamy soup without the calories, fat and dairy of real cream, puree silken tofu in a blender with other ingredients before heating.

Mix and match. Omnivores don’t have to skip meat entirely to enjoy tofu. Tofu and other meats, such as pork, can coexist peacefully (and deliciously) in almost any dish from your favorite Asian entree to marinated kebabs for the grill.

Try some of these great tofu recipes!

Dave’s Teriyaki Tofu

Easy Stir FryWith Tofu

Lemon Tofu Stir Fry

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