Here’s an epic collection of tasty, easy tofu recipes for every meal of the day and every course — soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, stir-fries, scrambles, desserts, and more! Tofu is the culinary chameleon of the plant-based world. There are so many ways to use it, as you’ll see ahead.
Storage: Keep the standard 14-to 16-ounce tubs (both firm and extra-firm) and baked tofu in the refrigerator. Be mindful of use-by dates, as tofu doesn’t keep forever. Keep a few 12.3-ounce aseptic packages of firm and/or extra-firm silken tofu in your pantry as well; these have a long shelf life.
A good-for-you food
Four ounces of tofu, on average, has about 100 to 120 calories and 5 to 8 grams of fat and supplies 9 to 10 grams of protein. Tofu made with calcium sulfate provides up to 20% of average daily calcium requirement. In a nutshell, it’s high in easily digestible protein, low in fat, and is a good source of iron, and B vitamins.
Allergy alert: Those with soy allergies or sensitivity will have to avoid any form of tofu, of course. It’s best to buy tofu that’s organic and non-GMO. Here’s more on the nutritional profile of tofu.
Tub tofu sliced and blotted
A brief lexicon of the most common tofu varieties
If you’re a tofu fan, you’ll want to keep a few varieties on hand.
Firm and extra-firm tofu: Firm and extra firm tofu come in 14-to 16-ounce tubs, are used when you want the tofu to hold its shape. Ideal for use in stir fries, soups, stews, and to make cutlets or nuggets.
Super-firm tofu: Sometimes called “sprouted” tofu, this variety comes in vacuum-sealed packages rather than tubs. Though it has a bit drier texture, it can be used for the same preparations as above, and is also ideal for making tofu “feta.”
Baked tofu: This variety of tofu is more commonly found in natural foods stores, though it has become increasingly available in supermarkets. It usually comes in 5.5- to 8-ounce vaccum-sealed packages, and in various flavors including teriyaki and Caribbean. Soy Boy and White Wave are two popular brands, and there are others. Baked tofu has a firm texture and is more of a ready-to-use food than the tub variety; it’s a great plant-based substitute for chicken and tuna.
Silken tofu: Available in 14- to 16-ounce tubs or 12.3 ounce aseptic (shelf-stable) packages, this type of tofu is soft and smooth. It’s ideal to puree and use as a base for soups, dips, and sauces. It also makes wonderful dessert puddings or pie filling. This may be the best type of tofu to use when you need to be sneaky! The most widely available brand is Mori-nu.
How to Blot or Press Tofu
Hilarious tales of pressing tofu are common, and feature cans, small appliances, heavy skillets, and so on, precariously balanced in a quest to extract excess water. To be honest, you need not stress about pressing. If you’re short on time, skip it. For preparations like scrambles, it’s not really necessary, though a brief blotting, as described below, is most always recommended for water-packed tofu.
Firm or extra-firm tofu are the varieties that most often benefit from at least a good blotting. Doing so allows them to hold their shape as well as absorb the flavors of what they’re being prepared with. To do this, drain the tofu and cut the block crosswise into 6 more or less equal slabs. Lay on a clean tea towel or several layers of paper towel. Press down gently with your hands to help remove some of the moisture.
To press tofu, if you like it extra, extra firm, start with the same procedure for blotting, above, but use a few extra layers of towel or paper towel. Top with a cutting board, and — you guessed it — a couple of heavy objects like a skillet or cans. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, or more as time allows.
If you’re a regular user of tofu, make your life easier by purchasing a tofu press. Search “tofu press” and you’ll come up with the best brands. These nifty devices save time and effort, not to mention a lot of paper towels. I just love the Tofu Xpress* (shown above). I’ve had this one for at least 10 years, and I do believe it will outlive me!
Asian Noodle Soup with Tofu, Greens, & Shiitake Mushrooms: When you want to warm up quickly, here’s an Asian noodle soup that’s ready from start to finish in 30 minutes or less. Filled with greens, tofu, and shiitake mushrooms, it’s a lively first course.
Tofu Vegetable Ramen Soup: Quick and colorful, this tofu vegetable ramen soup will please anyone who loves Asian flavors. Simple to make and naturally vegan, it’s ready to eat in no time.
Vegan Thai Coconut Soup with Vegetables and Tofu: Inspired by Tom Kha Gai, a classic Thai coconut soup, this vegan version can be made with tofu or other plant protein of your choice.
Gingery Miso-Mushroom Soup: Featuring plenty of silken tofu, here’s a light yet satisfying way to warm up most any time of year. And it’s vegan, unlike miso soup served in Japanese restaurants.
Baked and Roasted Tofu
Baked Tofu Nuggets with Vegan Tartar Sauce: Simple to make, these crispy baked tofu nuggets disappear quickly! Serve with the vegan tartar sauce given in the recipe, or substitute your favorite condiment.
Homemade Teriyaki Baked Tofu: Get ready for this tasty homemade teriyaki baked tofu to disappear quickly — if you’re feeding a group of tofu fans, plan to double this recipe.
Orange Roasted Tofu with Baby Carrots and Almonds: Sprightly citrusy flavors infuse orange roasted tofu, making it a fantastic special occasion or company dish.
Vegan Fish and Chips: Vegan fish and chips with tartar sauce — who would have thought this sea-worthy classic could be made plant-based?
Skillet dishes & stews
Skillet Tofu with Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes: Tofu with corn, green beans, and tomatoes is an easy skillet stew that makes an ideal seasonal dinner dish for summer and early fall.
Greek Vegetable Stew with Tofu “Feta”: This interpretation of a classic Greek vegetable stew is enlivened with bites of tofu “feta.” It’s delicious with a crusty whole-grain bread.
Tofu and Seitan Skillet with Easy Gravy: Here’s a high-protein dish combining tofu and seitan in one easy skillet. Tasty and filling, use it to boost your veggie-filled dinner plate.
Sautéed Tofu with Tomatoes and Basil: A simple dish of tofu with tomatoes transforms the two starring ingredients into a summery delight.
Vegan Hash Browns with Tofu, Greens, and Tomatoes: Veggie-filled vegan hash browns is a great weekend brunch dish, though they make a fantastic “breakfast-for-dinner” dish, too.
Simple Lemon-Pepper Tofu Steaks: Super simple yet elegant lemon pepper tofu steaks can be served on their own or with your favorite sauce.
Easy Tofu Teriyaki: Easy tofu teriyaki is all about the sauce, which absorbs into the tofu to make it remarkably flavorful.
Sweet and Savory Glazed Orange Tofu: For this easy version of orange tofu, fruit preserves, orange juice, and soy sauce create a luscious glaze with no added fat.
Pauline’s Caramelized Tofu: Pauline’s Caramelized Tofu is a recipe from Sweet + Salty by Lagusta Yearwood, the first cookbook by a talented chef and chocolatier.
Tofu and Bok Choy Stir-Fry: This quick tofu and bok choy stir-fry uses two of my favorite shortcuts — a richly-flavored teriyaki marinade and squeeze-bottle ginger.
Peanut Satay Golden Tofu Triangles: This simple preparation of golden tofu triangles, inspired by a Thai appetizer, gets its luscious flavor from peanut sauce — homemade or bottled.
Stir-Fried Soba Noodles with Tofu & Green Vegetables: Soba noodles with tofu, broccoli, green peas, mushrooms, and snow peas make a quick, light dinner.
Teriyaki Asian Noodles with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables: Stir-fried noodles with tofu and stir-fried vegetables tastes just as great as what you might get for take-out. Maybe better!
Vegan Pad See Ew: This easy recipe for vegan pad see eew also happens to be gluten-free. Pad see eew is a Chinese-influenced stir-fried noodle dish that’s a favorite in Thai restaurants.
Teriyaki Fried Rice and Tofu: This simple teriyaki fried rice and tofu stir-fry is a sturdy, everyday kind of weekday dinner main dish.
Simple Stir-Fried Tofu with Sweet and Savory Flavors: With the synergy of gently sweet and salty flavors, stir-fried tofu becomes a tasty treat once it turns crisp and golden.
Spinach or Arugula Scrambled Tofu: Here’s a colorful and tasty spinach or arugula scrambled tofu that’s festive enough for a company brunch, but simple enough to make for a weekend meal for you and yours.
Vegetable Tofu Scrambles with Lots of Variations: For tofu fans and vegans, the breakfast and brunch repertoire wouldn’t be complete without a great basic vegetable tofu scramble.
Spicy Vegan Tofu Rancheros: Spicy vegan tofu rancheros is a well-seasoned egg-free version of the Southwestern classic, huevos rancheros. It’s an easy brunch or dinner dish for company or everyday meals.
Southwestern Tofu Scramble: This scramble is a vegan interpretation of migas, a dish developed for using up corn tortillas that have lost their freshness.
Sandwiches and Wraps
Ridiculously Easy “Tofuna” — Tofu Salad or Sandwich Spread: “Tofuna,” aka tuna-style tofu salad, is my go-to recipe as a sandwich spread, and probably the single recipe I make most often.
“Tofuna” Vegan Tuna Melt Sandwiches: I like to use baked tofu for vegan tuna melt sandwiches, but you can use some of the great new plant-based tuna alternatives.
Ultimate Tofu Eggless Salad: Tofu eggless salad has the look and feel of egg salad, though it’s not intended to fool anyone! Whether as an egg salad knock-off or not, it’s delicious in its own right, on bread or dolloped on salads.
Big BBQ-Flavored Tofu Sandwiches: Barbecue sauce is one of the best flavorings for bland but friendly tofu, as you’ll see when you try these big, bold, BBQ-flavored tofu sandwiches.
Baked Tofu Wraps with Greens, Apple, and Avocado: The title gives away most of what makes these fast and easy baked tofu wraps so good — baby greens, avocado, and the surprising pop of tart green apple.
Baked Tofu and Broccoli Salad: This sturdy cool-weather baked tofu and broccoli salad has a double dose of mango, for a feast of flavor, color, and texture.
Nori Rice Bowls with Tofu, Cucumber, and Avocado: Simple nori rice bowls are subtly infused with the tasty sea vegetable. Embellished with crispy tofu, cucumber, and avocado, it’s like veggie sushi deconstructed.
Vegan Pasta “Tuna” Salad: Vegan pasta tuna salad — made with baked tofu or plant-based tuna — brings a nostalgic classic into the 21st century.
Cool Cucumber and Kale Salad with Hot and Spicy Tofu: I just love salads that are both hot and cold. This cool and refreshing cucumber and kale salad topped with sriracha-sautéed tofu is a prime example.
Vegan Niçoise-Style Salad: Bearing its French elegance beautifully, vegan Niçoise salad is a composed dish that may look fancy, but is incredibly easy to make. Baked tofu stands in for the customary tuna.
Traditional Pasta Dishes
Silken Tofu and Cauliflower Alfredo: This vegan Alfredo pasta is proof positive of the versatility of this beloved cruciferous vegetable, but what’s even more convincing is the creamy texture, thanks to silken tofu.
Vegan Stuffed Shells: Toni Okomoto brings Italy to your table with these vegan stuffed shells, filled with a tofu-based ricotta and topped with your favorite vegan cheese shreds.
Super-Easy Vegan Macaroni and Cheese: This easy vegan macaroni and cheese recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Using pureed silken tofu as a base makes it creamy and deceptively rich-tasting.
Tofu as “feta”
Olive Bar Medley with Tofu “Feta”: Colorful and briny, small servings of this olive-rich appetizer featuring tofu feta go a long way.
Greek-ish Pizza: Enjoy the sunny flavors of Greek cuisine with this spinach olive pizza, embellished with vegan “feta” — a recipe by Laura Theodore in her trademark easy and do-able style.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie: Silken tofu is the secret to this vegan chocolate mousse pie —it has just the right consistency to create a smooth and creamy texture.
Silken Tofu and Avocado Chocolate Mousse: This luscious and easy silken tofu chocolate mousse and avocado chocolate pudding is a mash-up of two contemporary classics.
Vanilla Cream-Chocolate Pudding Parfaits: Beautiful to look at and lovely to eat, Laura Theodore’s simple but elegant vegan chocolate pudding parfaits will surely please vanilla and chocolate lovers alike.
Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie: Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie is hard to imagine. But you need not wait for a holiday to enjoy this easy silken tofu-based vegan pumpkin pie, which offers an option to use butternut squash.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Hint of Chocolate: Here’s another silken tofu-based vegan pumpkin cheesecake that treats your taste buds to a subtle chocolate burst with each bite.
Vegan Sweet Potato Pie: A dessert that brightens everyday or special occasion fall / winter meals. silken tofu is once again the perfect base for the pie filling, setting up beautifully when baked.
Raspberry Swirl Cheese-Cake: This amazing dairy-free vegan cheesecake by Laura Theodore tastes incredibly creamy and delicious. It’s a fruity, lemony sweet dessert that makes a gorgeous presentation to impress your family and guests!
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