How To Cook Tofu

When I first became a vegetarian, there were only a handful of food options I knew were a great alternative for protein. Beans, quinoa, and tofu.

I hated tofu when I first tried it. But the only reason I hated tofu was because I didn’t know or understand how to prepare it. The first time I cooked with tofu, I used it as a meat replacement for sloppy joes. Epic fail! I tried it a few other times thereafter and I just couldn’t seem to get past that mushy texture. It wasn’t until later on I realized that tofu is extremely versatile and capable of absorbing flavors if prepared correctly.

How To Cook Tofu

What is tofu anyway? 

The simplest way to describe tofu is bean curd. Yes. Bean curd. Doesn’t sound appealing, but let me explain why. Tofu is made from soy beans and is minimally processed into the cube like form that it comes in. It’s very popular in most Asian cuisines.

Tofu comes in a variety of different textures such as silken, firm, or extra firm to name a few. The primary difference is how the tofu was processed. I usually go for the extra firm because I found that it resembles the texture of meat the most. I’ll admit the appearance of it will really throw you off. You will find this cubed white product packaged in water.

When preparing tofu, the water needs to be drained as much as possible.

By draining the water, this allows the tofu to absorb any marinade or seasonings that you apply to it. If you skip this step, you’ll find that it won’t absorb any seasonings and all of that water in the tofu will just give it a bland taste. Trust me. I’ve made this mistake before, and that’s really the biggest part of cooking tofu.

There isn’t one specific way to drain your tofu. I prefer to wrap my tofu around a cloth or paper towel, and press a plate or pot on top of it. I allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes. The cloth/towel should absorb the access water from the tofu, making it a lot easier to cook and/or slice without crumbling.

I have seen some recipes that direct you to freeze your tofu first. But if you’re lazy like me, this is a step I found I could skip.

You have to season your tofu!

You read that correctly. The same you add salt, pepper, or any type of marinade to your meats is the same way you would season tofu. This was the part that I missed. I just assumed that tofu would have a taste of its own. I didn’t realize that tofu really becomes what you make it.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, tumeric, or whatever else floats your boat.

How To Cook Tofu

How To Cook Tofu

The perfecty way to drain and season your extra firm tofu
Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 1 hr

Ingredients
1 pack Extra Firm Tofu
1 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp Garlic Powder

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 400­°f
2. Take your tofu and wrap in a cloth or paper towel. You will need to press or squeeze as much moisture out as possible
3. Once moisture has been removed from tofu, you can cut into little cubes or slices
4. Mix the vegetable oil evenly through the tofu and add in your salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
5. Add tofu to oven and allow to bake for 30 minutes. Flip tofu over about halfway between time
6. Bake until tofu is a crisp brown on all sides

Notes
You can use season salt or garlic salt in place of the normal salt and pepper if you would like more of a kick

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