What is Tofu? Definition and Recipes

Types of Tofu, Cooking Tofu and Nutritional Value of Tofu

Tofu and brown rice
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Tofu 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.

Due to its chameleon-like qualities, affordability and nutritional value, tofu, a staple of Asian cuisines for hundreds of years, has recently become popular in Western vegetarian and vegan cooking. So popular, in fact, that it is celebrated with its own annual festival and has almost become synonymous with vegetarianism itself.

But despite that, there is lots of confusion about what tofu is and isn't and how it should be used (and how it shouldn't be used!). In fact, some people have even wondered if tofu is itself a vegetable!

Look for tofu in the produce section of your regular grocery store or try out some vegetarian tofu recipes here.

Don't like tofu? See also: Help! I want to go vegetarian but I hate tofu!

Types of Tofu

There are two main kinds of tofu, silken or soft tofu, and firm or regular tofu. Learn more about cooking with firm and silken tofu here.

See also: What to do with silken tofu?

Cooking with Tofu

When cooking with firm tofu, you will usually want to drain and press the tofu first, and some recipes will tell you to freeze and thaw your tofu. See how to press tofu and more tofu cooking tips here.

Easy Tofu Recipes

Cooking with tofu can be super easy! Here are a few of my favorite quick and easy recipes to get you started:

Nutritional Value of Tofu

Tofu is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians with over 10 grams per half-cup serving and is also a great source of calcium and iron. See how the nutritional value of tofu stacks up against beef, milk, and eggs here.

Also Known As: Tofu is also sometimes called bean curd or soybean curd.