How to CookBreakfast

Genius Crispy, Fluffy (Vegan) Waffles with a Very Strange Secret Ingredient

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Moms, listen up: This recipe will avenge every time your kids scoffed when you mixed in the healthy cereal with the sugary stuff, every time you enforced the TV rules, every time you made an unpopular decision about lima beans or BB guns or bedtime and stuck with it. I'm just going to say it: You were right.

And non-moms, stick around—you'll get some really great waffles out of it (and another good reason to call your mother).

Hannah Kirshner's Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles
Hannah Kirshner's Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles

As controversial as sneaking healthy ingredients into junky kid-foods may be (I've been known to throw stones myself), parents need to do what they need to do. And, in at least this one case, doing the unthinkable in the name of health led to a totally genius result.

The unthinkable? Emptying an entire package of tofu into the waffle batter.

"This is a variation on the tofu waffles that my dear friend Shanti's mother would make us when we had sleepovers," Hannah Kirshner wrote when she published this recipe on her site Sweets and Bitters in 2013, "to get a little more protein into our growing tweenage bodies."

At the time, Shanti's mother would simply purée the tofu with soy milk and add it to Snoqualmie Falls pancake and waffle mix, and Kirshner says that you could do the same in any pancake or waffle recipe, replacing the liquid with liquified tofu.

Or you could follow her tested and perfected recipe. Here's why you should:

Thanks to coconut oil, a little bit of sugar, and a little bit of lemon, the waffles taste well-toasted, lightly sweet, and faintly tangy in the manner of buttermilk or overnight yeasted waffles, and nothing like tofu, despite the fact that it's something like 60% of their genetic makeup.

But the sheer volume of tofu does miraculous things for their texture—the crust is crisp and sturdy, the interior is fluffy and a bit creamy without tasting raw or tofu-ish, and they have a slight, satisfying chew.

And unlike when you go out to brunch and receive but one flimsy Belgian waffle that obviously requires a side omelette, tofu waffles act like real food. Two will take care of you for the better part of the day. Not that you'll stop there.

Hannah Kirshner's Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles

Hannah Kirshner's Best Ever (Vegan) Waffles

Genius Recipes Genius Recipes
Serves 2, with leftovers (probably)
  • 12 ounces silken tofu (2 cups crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup melted and cooled coconut oil, plus more for the waffle iron
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Go to Recipe

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thank you to our Assistant Editor Caroline Lange for this one!

Photos by Bobbi Lin

Tags: Vegan, Tips & Techniques, Genius Recipes