Tofu is often a staple in vegan diets. However, many people seem to think tofu is tasteless and mushy. Below are 4 ways you can spice up tofu in your vegan meal prep. These techniques will elevate your dishes to the next level, and give you perfectly flavorful tofu.
The first step before cooking your tofu is to drain and press it. For this, you will need paper towels, two plates, and a heavy object. Most tofu comes packaged in liquid, drain this and remove the tofu from the package. Place several paper towels on one of the plates. Place the tofu on top, and cover with more paper towels. Place the other plate on top, and the heavy object on top of the plate. You can use a book, canned food or anything else around 1lb or more in weight. For best results, you should press the tofu for 3-4 hours, changing paper towels every 30-40 minutes or as they become saturated. By doing this, the tofu will now absorb marinades, and spices better.
You can make crispy, flavorful tofu using a frying pan and a little oil. When sautéing tofu, the key is to season it well before cooking. The easiest way to add additional flavor is by using a marinade. Marinade the day before and refrigerate overnight for the most flavor. It is also recommended to cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces before cooking, so all sides get crispy. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the marinated tofu. Turn tofu every 3-4 minutes to evenly cook each side.
One of the easiest ways to cook tofu is by baking it. All you need is an oven and baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 350F. You can use marinated, plain or pressed tofu when baking. Simply cut your tofu into the desired size and shape, then lay the pieces on the baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes then flip the pieces over and cook for another 20-25 minutes. This method creates a crispy exterior, with a melt in your mouth texture when you bite into the tofu.
This method works well for creating breakfast dishes, or to replicate ground meat in recipes. You will want to use firm, or extra-firm tofu when scrambling it, this ensures it doesn’t become mush. Mash or finely chop your tofu, then add to a frying pan with a small amount of oil over medium heat. Stir frequently until tofu is golden brown. Add any sauces, spices or veggies at this stage. Continue cooking for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
Air-frying has become increasingly popular recently and creates delicious crispy tofu. Now, when air frying, you must ensure you drain and press the tofu. For best results, the tofu should be as dry as possible. Once pressed, chop the tofu into desired size and shape. Using corn starch, coat the tofu pieces. Then place them into the air fryer at 370F for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through. The end result is puffed, crispy tofu pieces ready to be added to curries, stirfry's or dipped in sauces.
Cooking tofu doesn’t need to be difficult. However, by using the methods above you can begin to truly enjoy tofu, and experiment with it in your vegan meal prep. Even non-vegans enjoy a good crispy tofu puff. Texture is just as important as flavor, so practice these techniques to make the best tofu possible.