9 Ways to Use Up Your Tofu Dregs

August 10, 2015

Short of eating it raw, how do you use up half a block of tofu?


We all have our own regular refrigerator and pantry dregs—the things that linger and linger while we cook everything else. And about once a week, I find myself in the position of having purchased and drained a block of tofu, used half, and then been left with the other half—and while I have a standard rotation of go-to recipes, I asked the Hotline: Short of just eating it raw (c'mon, tofu lovers, we've all done it), what should I do with half a block of tofu? 

  • HalfPint recommended crumbling and scrambling firm tofu with some onions, garlic, curry powder, and salt. For silken tofu, warm it by covering with hot water for 5 minutes, then drain it gently, splash on some soy sauce, and top with thinly sliced green onions and bonito flakes.
  • Many suggested cubing tofu and adding it to soups—like miso, hot and sour, or kimchi soup.
  • Someone suggested I layer it onto banh mi-inspired sandwiches.
  • Nancy shared that she purées silken tofu to use in smoothies or as an egg replacement.
  • Marinate and stir-fry tofu to add protein to fried rice or tacos. 
  • "Tofu salad with rice wine vinegar or miso dressing, scallions, and bonito flakes!" advised Ali. She says sesame seeds make a good addition.
  • Puréed silk tofu makes for a creamy vegan Caesar salad dressing, according to matthewcarberry.
  • Micki isn't vegan, but said that silken tofu, when puréed, can make a rich, mousse-like chocolate pudding.
  • And if you can't get to it for a couple of days, just store it submerged in water, said cv.

Photo by James Ransom

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AntoniaJames August 10, 2015
Incidentally (I've been thinking about this since the last "dregs" piece), did you know that "dregs" is defined as, "sediment contained in a liquid or precipitated from it" or, "the most undesirable part —usually used in plural ." This is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I checked several others, which provide virtually the same definition. ;o)
Caroline L. August 11, 2015
yes! our hope is to bring these often undesirable fridge lingerers back from the brink.
AntoniaJames August 10, 2015
I realize that this may not be appealing in August to those of you not living in a cool marine climate (e.g., SF Bay Area), but I would bake it on a parchment lined baking sheet in a hot oven - while roasting something else or baking bread - for about 20 minutes. Cut into cubes if you like. Turn over once, if you like, or not.
Baking at high heat without pressing beforehand gives it a slightly chewy exterior, and a puffy, almost creamy interior - and makes it perfect for snacking, too! It will hold, once baked, for 4-5 days.
I use the baked tofu in stir fries, dishes with sauces, noodle soup recipes, etc. It's a great alternative to frying, as there is no spattering whatsoever.
For more information, see this (symbiotic tofu and bread baking, something I stumbled on in my quest for greater efficiency and more environmentally responsible kitchen practices):
savorthis August 10, 2015
Lately we have been draining/pressing and grating firm tofu to use in place of typical ground meat dishes. A favorite is one with lots of mushrooms (fresh and dried), green onion, ginger, garlic, soy, fermented black beans served with something very green over rice. But we have also used it in taco situations and Moroccan inspired dishes.
Coco E. August 10, 2015
Freezing silken or medium tofu is also an awesome option since it completely transforms it into a sponge that just dies to soak up flavours in a saucy stir-fry or rich broth. It's my favourite in hot pots, actually!
Coco E. August 10, 2015
PS: make sure you cube it before freezing.
Caroline L. August 10, 2015
good tips! thank you!
Coco E. August 10, 2015
No problem!
savorthis August 10, 2015
I always keep some drained tofu in the freezer for that reason. Mark Bittman's caramel tofu banh mi is on regular rotation!
Coco E. August 10, 2015
Ooh that sounds amazing, gotta give that a shot sometime!