Despite being variously vegetarian-adjacent for about five years now, I have never been a tofu person.
Even though I occasionally ordered it as my protein option when a restaurant didn’t offer any other options, I was all about the jackfruit and the seitan and the beans and truly anything besides tofu. That’s not to say I hated it — I usually liked it well enough whenever I did eat it — but it never rocked my world. And cooking with it? Nah. Before writing this article, I had never in my life purchased tofu from a grocery store, seriously.
Maybe I let tofu’s reputation for blandness color my judgment, or maybe it’s just an intimidating ingredient to cook with. Probably both. But I faced my fears and I made a whole lot of tofu, and I learned how to make it rock my world.
Tips to crush these tofu recipes:
Tofu is basically a curd made from soy milk!
When cooking with tofu, it’s best to start with firm or extra firm. In the quick video above, we’ll show you how to drain the water out of it (without fancy equipment) which is a super important step!
So, without further ado: nine tofu recipes that are guaranteed to take your tofu to the next level.
Mara’s Tofu With Mixed Grains — NYT Cooking
This recipe is by my personal queen, Samin Nosrat — or rather, adapted by Samin from her friend Mara’s recipe. It’s a really hearty, simple, and deeply delicious meal that I am certain will elevate your tofu, and am even more certain will become a go-to for me. It also meal preps impressively well; I found it just as delicious when reheated for lunch the next day as I did when it was fresh and steaming. Also, definitely read the companion article Samin wrote about this meal. Knowing the background story just made an already satisfying meal even more so.
Easy Marinated Tofu — Simple Vegan Blog
I love that this recipe is relatively simple and quick to make without compromising on flavor — I really liked it! It reheats really well, too, although for meal prep purposes, if you’re going to use chives, chop those up and store them in a separate container to be sprinkled on post-microwave. It’s versatile in that it can be the main event in a dish — I ate it over rice, for example — or a tasty supporting player in a salad, buddha bowl, sandwiches, etc.
Honey Ginger Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry — Pinch of Yum
Oh my god. This will ABSOLUTELY elevate your tofu. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. I think this recipe was the turning point for me, the one that made me genuinely love tofu. I mean, that texture! Incredible. I didn’t have asparagus or carrots (unusual because carrots are maybe my favorite vegetable), so I used broccoli and sweet potato. Would recommend.
Vegan Nashville Hot Tofu Nuggets — Rabbit and Wolves
As a Nashvillian, I couldn’t not try this recipe. It was definitely one of the more work-intensive ones. It’s hard to get anything to stick to tofu, but I managed alright. And it definitely hit the spot, although I doubled the amount of hot sauce in the sauce mixture and also added cayenne powder. I’d recommend taste testing and judging it for yourself based on how much spice you can handle and what kind of hot sauce you have on hand (I had Cholula, which is a bit milder on the spectrum). It also meal prepped surprisingly well! It wasn’t as crispy after being reheated in the microwave, of course, but it remained very good.
Almond Rosemary Lemon Crusted Tofu — It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken
This was probably the most elaborate of this collection of tofu recipes, but it’s also the most impressive-looking. I think so, anyway. One point of contention I have with the recipe: it’s a pretty sizable piece of tofu, and the crust just doesn’t do enough for me flavor-wise, although I found the texture delightful. I want to try it again, this time marinating the tofu first in something acidic, like a lemon juice or apple cider vinegar mixture. Coconut aminos from Trader Joe’s would be good, too. I think this recipe is not ideal for meal prep, although it held up surprisingly well in the microwave. It’s more like an impress-your-friends-without-trying-that-hard kind of dish. Perfect as a main dish for a holiday or if you’re having vegetarian friends over for dinner.
Tofu Stir-Fry with Garlic Sauce — Connoisseurus Veg
This was so delicious, so crispy, so magical. Seriously. The texture of the tofu was amazing, and the sauce was delicious. Truly, I have zero complaints. It reheats well, the sesame seeds were a perfect garnish, the consistency of the sauce was neither runny nor globby. 10/10.
Crispy Fried Tofu — Martha Stewart
I was actually a little shocked by how much I loved this super-simple recipe. It’s basically French fries, but tofu. I didn’t have sriracha or mayonnaise on hand, so I just ate it with my preferred french fry condiment, mustard. And it was really good! All the satisfaction of biting into a crispy french fry, compounded by the satisfaction of a denser, more fulfilling (to me, anyway) texture. It was so quick to make, too — definitely the easiest and fastest one on this list, something you can throw together from a bare-bones fridge and pantry.
Vegetarian Tofu Cashew Coconut Curry — Ambitious Kitchen
Curry is, in general, one of my favorite meals to meal prep: it’s incredibly versatile — I can basically use any and every vegetable in my fridge — and, in part because of that, I can eat it multiple times a week while still feeling like I’m getting enough variety. Plus, the longer it sits, the better the flavor. For some reason, I’ve never used tofu in my curry before this experiment, but this particular recipe is certain to elevate your tofu — the flavors are subtle and layered, so it’s a really enjoyable eating experience. A note: this recipe does seem to be sponsored by a specific brand of tofu, one that I’m sure is great, but I used my zero-waste tofu from Precycle to great success.
Homemade Miso Soup — Just One Cookbook
I couldn’t make a list of tofu recipes without including the tofu dish I’ve always loved most: miso soup. It’s one of the most comforting comfort foods of all time, and it’s beautifully simple, although if you want to truly make it from scratch, it does require a significant amount of prep. What I love most about miso soup is how much flexibility it has, and this recipe gives a really comprehensive overview of the dish without being overly specific about the ingredients. I feel cozier just thinking about it.
Hope you try one of these tofu recipes! If you’re new to cooking AND tofu, I recommend checking out Workweek Lunch’s basic tofu stir fry. It’s an excellent introduction to tofu if you’re not super confident in the kitchen.