How to Make Tofu Taste Good
Boring, bland, bleak… That’s about the only way to describe a flavorless, colorless hunk of condensed soy milk. But tofu is the chameleon of spongy soy products: It can become almost anything. At some point, every plant-based foodie has wondered how to make tofu taste good. You’d be surprised to learn how easy it is.
What it lacks in flavor, tofu makes up for in health benefits. Tofu is nutrient dense, high in protein and fat, and may reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. We love a multifaceted queen!
By getting to know tofu and brushing up on a few cooking tips, you can turn bland into that brand-new plant-based protein favorite you’ve been looking for. Here’s how to make tofu taste good.
Get to Know Your Tofu
Don’t go chatting to the tofu shelf at the grocery store — people might stare. But before you start shoveling it into your cart, you should brush up on your tofu trivia. Mainly, know that there are three types of tofu (that vary in texture and firmness) to choose from, depending on how you’re prepping it.
Silken tofu. Silken tofu is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a smooth and silky version that’s usually very high in water content. This makes it perfect for adding to wet dishes like miso soup or creamy pasta sauces.
Firm tofu. Firm tofu is the most common tofu. It’s the medium-firm tofu of the bunch but is more porous and lighter than its extra-firm version. This is ideal for baking or frying as it’s great at soaking up marinades and bringing those flavors along for the ride.
Extra firm tofu. As the name would imply, this is the firmest type of tofu. Extra firm tofu is less water dense than the others and is ideal when you want your final product to have a crunchy, almost chicken-like consistency.
Once you’ve narrowed down your preferred tofu texture, you can finally get cooking, right? Not quite. Knowing how to make tofu taste good involves knowing your types of tofu AND how to prep it for the best flavor and texture.
Press for Success
One often-missed step in prepping tofu is pressing. Tofu can be pressed to remove some of the water content to reduce the cooking time and adjust its final texture.
Start by wrapping your tofu in the towel, then place it on a cutting board or flat surface and put a pan on top. Place your heavy items on the pan, and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
Pressing tofu is hard work, so while you wait, refuel with Outstanding Foods snacks. Our Cheese Balls are dairy-free and contain 20 vitamins and minerals and 5 grams of protein per serving.
Don’t get too distracted by your Cheese Balls, though. If your tofu gets too dry, it may become brittle enough to crack when cooked.
Soak, Simmer, Sauté
The three most important, life-changing words to keep in mind when you’re wondering how to make tofu taste good (and honestly, good tofu IS life-changing). Here’s when to use each one.
Tofu is great for marinating because it really soaks up the flavors you’re using. Thirty minutes is as short a time you’ll ever want to wait, but at least four hours — or, ideally, overnight — is best.
Marinating your tofu helps to bring out that sweet, salty, or savory taste you’re looking for. To boost its absorbing powers, freeze your tofu the night before you plan to soak it. Defrosted tofu absorbs a lot more flavor, but it adds a chewy, denser texture, as well.
Consider adding in your tofu to your dish when you’re simmering a sauce mid-recipe to reduce it. Allowing the tofu to soak up some of those flavors not only helps the sauce set up faster, but it also helps tie together a variety of flavors.
To add a bit of texture to your saucy, simmering masterpiece, you can scramble your tofu so it resembles a scrambled egg consistency and blends in more with your saucy pastas or dressed-up salads.
Frying or sautéing your tofu in a light coat of cornstarch adds a crispy shell that pairs great with a salad. (Who doesn’t love some protein-infused croutons?). Just coat your tofu in cornstarch and fry it up in a pan with 1-2 tablespoons of oil for a couple minutes.
More Crunch, Protein & Imagination
You can always step into the unknown and try some new ways to kick your tofu up a notch by getting creative. Let your favorite Outstanding Foods snack stand in for breadcrumbs on your next tofu adventure. You’ll be adding our signature flavors and packing more protein into your dish.
There’s no Holy Grail of tips for how to make tofu taste good, but with a combination of the right tofu and the right recipe, you can impress all your friends and family with your outstanding tofu-cooking skills.
And while you’re researching your next tofu dish, check out our Bundle Builder to mix and match your favorite Outstanding Foods snacks.