8 Recipes That Bring Out Tofu's Beautiful Side

February 19, 2016

I do not need to explain tofu's bad rap. And admittedly, part of it—soggy, flavorless fried cubes; possibly still-frozen chunks in a college cafeteria's salad bar; the punchline of every joke about vegetarians ever—is deserved.

But I'll come out and say that I love tofu (though not as much as this woman). Even raw. And tofu has come so far since its murky college salad bar days (haven't we all?). Prepared well, it can convince even the most ardent of tofu-haters to reconsider it; here are 8 reasons to start reconsidering tofu now:

Tell us about the best—and the worst—tofu you've ever had in the comments.

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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Heather Kennedy
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    Cate Brome Mattison
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    Aleksandra Till
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Heather K. March 11, 2016
My favorite is based on the tofu they serve at Grit in Athens, GA -- and it's super simple to make, too. Press extra-firm tofu for a bit, cube it, and throw in a medium-hot skillet with a bit of oil. Toss occasionally until the cubes are more or less golden on multiple sides. Drizzle liberally with soy sauce and shake nutritional yeast over it generously. Stir a few times until the coating is kind of evenly distributed. Add to couscous, salads, or sandwiches, or eat straight as your main protein. Stupidly simple, but salty and umami-ish and a nice blend of textures from the golden crust over the creamy firm inside.
jane.coombs88 February 22, 2016
Best and worst is one and the same on the streets of Taipei...Stinky tofu. I am surprised that I am the first to mention it.
Liberty B. February 22, 2016
Made an amazing curry by Bryant Terry which called to bake the tofu first before adding it to a ginger heavy tomato based sauce - total game changer! The sauce also had peanut butter in it - mind blown.
Cate B. February 19, 2016
Tofu Banh Mi sandwiches. We had them the first time visiting my daughter in London, and I've been making them at home regularly since. Pressed tofu slices marinated in Miso, Sesame Oil, Soy, and Garlic. Quick Pickled vegetables, Cilantro, Cucumber and Lime Sriracha mayo - Happy Sandwich!
Aleksandra T. February 19, 2016
I just made the Crispy Japanese Tofu Bites on Food52 today, and am surprised they aren't on this list! They were amazing!
702551 February 19, 2016
Tofu is like bread, it is better fresh, ideally made that day.

Fortunately, I have a reliable source for fresh tofu (made that day): San Jose Tofu. I won't eat any other tofu at home.

During those infrequent occasions when I eat out and have a dish with tofu, I always note how the restaurant tofu is NEVER as good as fresh San Jose Tofu. The rest of the ingredients may be fine, but the tofu itself simply isn't up to the same standard.

Starting with fresh, high-quality tofu is a key factor in the success of a tasty tofu dish.

That said, most of the time I just eat the tofu plain, yudofu style. When it's that fresh, it seems like a shame to doctor it unnecessarily.
Andrea I. March 2, 2016
I also LOVE their tofu! Amazing.
Amanda S. February 19, 2016
That tofu laksa is ze best!