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Tofu, A Versatile Food: From Recipes To Benefits

Haters probably never cooked it right. So let’s discover the life, death, and miracles of this food from the East without forgetting the recipes to enjoy it to the fullest.

Today tofu is a classic of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, yet only some know how to make the best use of it and make it appetizing. Yes, because when we talk about this food, many think of its “non-taste,” making it seem anonymous and without character at first taste. Yet a few small tricks are enough to transform it into a versatile ingredient, which gives a lot of satisfaction even if you don’t follow a plant-based diet.

Because tofu can become very tasty and therefore be appreciated in a thousand versions: grilled, as a spicy skewer, fried, and even in the form of a Mediterranean sauce with a few cherry tomatoes, so let’s find out more about this food that comes from the East, learning to know it (and cook it better) with many advantages and benefits for the figure and health.

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is obtained by curdling soy milk, similar to animal milk cheese. The curdled soy milk is pressed into special containers and cut into blocks. Once ready, it can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a neutral taste, not comparable to the much more decisive one of cow’s or goat’s cheese, but it has a huge advantage: it absorbs the flavor of the condiments and marinades with which it is prepared.

The Types Of Tofu

Throughout the East, China, and Japan first, tofu has a thousand-year history that has its roots in legend and is already present in very ancient cookbooks. It has been used here for several years, thanks to the affirmation of vegan and vegetarian nutrition. Newbies have yet to learn, however, that various types change above all in their consistency.

Classic

It is what we most commonly consume and which can now be easily purchased even in large-scale retailers, as well as in natural food stores and online: it is also found in Italian soybeans from a controlled supply chain. In this case, the cheese is packaged in single loaves, with the storage water, and has a firm and compact consistency, which allows it to be cut into cubes, slices, or crumbled. It is also available in smoked and herb versions.

Silken

As its name suggests, it is more delicate tofu (and a little more difficult to find) and soft in texture. Silken tofu is creamy, similar to soft pudding. Certain brands sell it in versions of different hardness: soft, firm, and extra-firm. It is usually what is served in Asian restaurants (sweet and sour with vegetables or in the “spicy chili” version). It can be used at home in savory preparations and as a filling for many desserts because it easily becomes a soft cream.

Nutritional Values ​​​​And Benefits Of Tofu

Tofu has excellent nutritional values ​​and a high intake of vegetable proteins. In addition, it is low in calories (78 calories per 100 g), low in fat, and does not contain gluten. Among the minerals it provides are calcium, manganese, and copper.

For this reason, it also has other benefits: it can become a healthy and tasty alternative for those who cannot consume cow’s cheese due to lactose intolerance and those with excess cholesterol in the blood. Tofu is also beneficial for bone and heart health; it is very nutritious and, at the same time, light.

The fact that it derives from soy shouldn’t scare you: if there isn’t a specific allergy to soy, with normal consumption, even daily, this food does not contain excesses of phytoestrogens, and even men can consume it without problems. As with the vegetable proteins of other legumes, combining tofu with cereals is sufficient for a dish with a complete supply of amino acids.

Recipes With Tofu

As already mentioned, it can be eaten cooked or raw. The recipes with tofu are easy, tasty, and versatile: in fact, this food can be cooked in many ways and take on very different flavors. So let’s discover some recipes perfect for trying to vary our daily diet and increasing the intake of vegetable proteins for the good of the planet and our health.

  • Salads: Cut into cubes, tofu can be eaten by adding it to green salads, cold barley, or spelled dishes to increase its protein value.
  • Pan-Fried With Vegetables: Diced tofu can also be cooked in a pan with oil, onion, and fresh cherry tomatoes.
  • With meat sauce: perfect as a “veg stew” or as a light and tasty vegetable ragout to season spaghetti and wholemeal fusilli instead of meat.
  • Raw In Pokè: said tofu, perhaps smoked or marinated, can be used with raw and cooked vegetables and cereals in delicious and healthy pokè and bowls. An example? A poké with diced tofu, radishes, zucchini, sliced ​​​​carrots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and boiled rice: a mix of proteins, good fats, and vitamins in quantity. It is seasoned with lime juice and a sprinkling of seeds.
  • Scrambled Tofu: or scrambled tofu, cooked like an egg. It can be cooked in a pan with oil, adding turmeric (for color) and kala namak salt (for flavor). Perfect for a quick lunch or a super energizing vegan protein breakfast that replaces eggs.
  • Added To Soups: silken tofu can become the protein ingredient of a soup or hot vegetable cream. The neutral flavor won’t change the preparation too much but will add protein to the dish, making it complete when paired with a few slices of toasted bread.
  • As An Ingredient For Meatballs, you can prepare excellent steamed meatballs and hamburgers with crumbled tofu, breadcrumbs, and soy milk.
  • Breaded: it can also be breaded (again without using ingredients of animal origin) and fried. Pass the tofu cubes in the flour and breadcrumbs batter and fry for a few minutes, then flavor with rosemary. A cornflake breading makes the fried tofu cubes very crunchy. Children like them too!
  • In Desserts: its silken version can be used as a cream for cakes and spoon desserts. A delicacy to try? The vegan tiramisu where tofu replaces the classic mascarpone.
  • Marinated: left to marinate for a few hours, classic diced tofu perfectly absorbs the flavor of the marinade… Which one? All spices are granted from cumin mustard! It will no longer have anything “dull.” The marinated tofu is cooked in the oven or on the grill (perhaps alternating it with pieces of vegetables to form a skewer), and the second course is ready.

ALSO READ: WHOLE MEAL RUSKS: PROPERTIES, CALORIES, CONTRAINDICATIONS

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