Growing up, I’m pretty sure people thought that my parents denied my brother and I treats, because we both claimed that tofu was our favorite food for a period of time. The truth was that we were obsessed with the tofu from one of our local Chinese restaurants. The obsession was serious, and my mom baked cookies for them every year during the holidays. Tofu gets a bad rap, but the beauty of tofu is truly in how you prepare and serve it. Because of its adaptability, I can serve tofu as the main protein for dinner multiple days in a row without my family noticing.
That said, without cooking it properly, it is easy to understand why people think tofu is bland and unable to replace meat as the star of a meal. For too long, I threw a pack of tofu into a barely oiled pan and didn’t understand why my tofu never looked good or had much flavor. Being pregnant and homebound during the rise of the pandemic ignited my passion for cooking and baking, and it all began with the Baked Sesame Tofu recipe in the list below. It was simple, easy, and reminded me of the tofu that I fell in love with years ago as a child. Since then, my appreciation of tofu has grown alongside my recipe collection.
If you want to incorporate more tofu or plant-based protein into your diet, here are 10 of the best tofu recipes I’ve made to get you started. These are all recipes that I’ve made and enjoyed, and I’ve added any notes or serving suggestions that I have!
1. Crispy Air Fryer Tofu by Jessica in the Kitchen
This is a staple tofu recipe of mine, and I serve it alongside many other dishes. Depending on what you pair with it and if you add sauce, it can transform to be served with Asian-inspired foods, on top of a salad, or with roasted veggies.
2. Baked Sesame Tofu by Cozy Peach Kitchen
I didn’t know that homemade tofu could be so satisfying until this recipe, and I started using its baking method in many other recipes. I don’t make any adjustments, but I usually add a vegetable such as green pepper or broccoli.
3. Bbq Tofu by Kelli Foster from Kitchn
Tofu doesn’t get much easier than this one, and my son LOVES it. The seasoning is good without additional bbq sauce, but coating it in your favorite sauce takes it to the next level. Add mac & cheese and you have yourself a quick, delicious meal.
4. Vegan Mashed Potato Bowls by Rabbit & Wolves
I don’t know why I’d never thought of making mashed potato bowls until I came across this recipe. As written, the tofu takes a little extra effort to batter and bread, but the end result is certainly worth it. If I don’t have time, I take a shortcut and make a simpler tofu recipe to add to the bowl instead (the air fryer tofu above would be perfect here). I’ve made this with many different varieties of veggies, and I think my favorite ones are butternut squash and peppers. It’s also fun to have multiple options and set up a buffet for people to build themselves!
5. Sweet and Sour Tofu by Pickled Plum
This sweet and sour sauce is flavorful and delicious! I personally prefer to bake or air fry tofu, and I like to add frozen pineapple as well.
6. Slow Cooker Tofu Tikka Masala by Yup, it’s Vegan
This was one of the first dishes that I made with graham masala and Indian flavors. While there is a little more work on the front-end compared to many of the other slow-cooker recipes that I’ve made, it’s worth it. I’ve also made it on the stove-top before, but I think the flavor is richer when it has had time to marinate in the slow cooker.
Here are the small adjustments that I make:
- Omit green chili peppers to limit the spice, but I’m sure it would be good with it too.
- Substitute 1 14-oz can of drained diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes
- Omit cilantro
7. Kung Pao Tofu by ProfusionCurry
If you want to make a thick, store-bought tasting sauce, this Kung Pao sauce is perfect, and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. The sauce does thicken up and turn sticky very quickly when added to the tofu, so just be cautious of that. I like to bake or air-fry the tofu instead of sauteing, and I use whatever vegetables I have on hand instead of what the recipe calls for.
8. Vegan Caramelized Black Pepper Tofu and Noodles by Rabbit & Wolves
This noodle dish legitimately tastes like it came from a restaurant- SO GOOD. It has become a frequent flier in my parents’ house.
9. Simple Savory Herbed Tofu by The Carrot Underground
This is the only sauteed tofu recipe that I make where the tofu doesn’t badly stick, and it whips up super quickly! My favorite way that I’ve served it is on a bed of seasoned quinoa to make a Mediterranean-inspired bowl.
10. P.F Chang’s Lettuce Wraps (Copycat Recipe) by Averie Cooks
While this recipe is not vegetarian as written, all you need to do is substitute baked or air fried tofu instead of chicken. Even if you don’t have lettuce, the mixture is great to serve on top of rice (as pictured below). It’s good with diced mushrooms as well!
Let me know if you try out any of these recipes and if you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share!