Tofu: what is it and how to use it
Working with people that choose a plant- base lifestyle, we often struggle to cover all the protein needs through the options available (especially in Cyprus!).
Well, most of the vegetarians have heard of this before, but if you haven’t yet this is the time!
You know those little green edamame pods we all love snacking on? Those are little baby soybeans. When soybeans mature out of their green phase, they can begin their life as a delicious block of tofu.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from soybeans, water and a coagulant, or curdling agent. It is high in protein and calcium and well known for its ability to absorb new flavors through spices and marinades.
Is it healthy?
Tofu is one of those foods that sparks debate.
Some can’t stop talking about its health benefits, while others declare that it is a genetically-modified poison to be avoided at all costs.
This may leave you wondering whether you should eat tofu or not. Most of the world’s soybeans are currently grown in the US, and a very large proportion is genetically modified (GMO).
Although GMOs are controversial, research so far has not found them to be harmful to human health. However, if you’re worried about it, simply opt for non-GMO, organic tofu brands.
How to choose the right tofu:
Soft Tofu :
It has a delicate body and a mild, milky flavor making it a great alternative for dairy and eggs in desserts, baked goods or it can be blended into smoothies for extra protein.
Medium Tofu :
Medium-firm tofu has a rougher texture than soft. It is a good choice for stir-frying dishes, soups, dressings and dips.
Firm Tofu :
Firm and extra-firm tofu is denser than soft or silken tofu and retains more of its shape when cooked. This makes it suitable for stir fry, pan fried, baked, scrambled or any meat alternative option in any meals.
How to prepare it
You’ll need to press out excess water to help the tofu absorb flavor, also it tastes best when you marinate it; otherwise it might be bland.
Ideas to include tofu in your meals
Tofu is an ideal choice for grilling, summertime salads, poke bowls and anything you can imagine.
- Grilled tofu marinated with orange juice and chilies
- Replace mozzarella with tofu in Caprese salad
- Use soft tofu as a creamy ingredient to make dips. This is another way to boost protein and make delicious dip to serve with veggie sticks or crackers.
- Marinated with herbs or soya sauce grilled skewers.
- Replace eggs with tofu in stir fry and noodles
Special precaution (for pregnant women, people with thyroid disorders and other medical conditions): since tofu is made from soybeans, please consult your clinical dietitian before adding it to your diet.
Clinical Dietitian- Nutritionist, MSc
Friedman, M. and Brandon, D. (2001). Nutritional and Health Benefits of Soy Proteins†. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 49(3), pp.1069-1086.
Messina, V. (2014). Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(suppl_1), pp.437S-442S.
Sadler, M. (2004). Meat alternatives — market developments and health benefits. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 15(5), pp.250-260.
House Foods. (2019). Discover healthy meal ideas and exciting recipes | House Foods. [online] Available at: https://www.house-foods.com/recipes/ [Accessed 5 Sep. 2019].
House Foods. (2019). So what is tofu anyway? | House Foods. [online] Available at: https://www.house-foods.com/eat-happy/so-what-is-tofu-anyway [Accessed 5 Sep. 2019].