How do you get enough protein on plant-based diet? This is usually the first concern for anyone willing to try plant-based diet. Good news is that there are plenty of healthy options that are high in protein, easy to access and prepare. In this post, I want to discuss one of the best plant proteins, my go to protein - Tofu. I will be covering other plant proteins in the future post. Tofu is a super protein, powerhouse of an ingredient, it deserves a dedicated post.
How is Tofu made? - Tofu is made from soybeans that are ground in water, heated and coagulated with minerals like calcium and magnesium salt. Curds are then pressed into solid block and sold as tofu.
Nutrition: Tofu is high in protein, low in fat and certain tofu's are high in calcium. Please read the label, look for tofu that are high in calcium. A 100g serving of tofu provides about 8g of protein, also has all nine essential amino acids. Tofu is also a good source of iron, which is particularly important for people following plant-based diet. From nutrition perspective, tofu is the closest plant protein to animal protein.
Types of Tofu: There are several types of tofu, vary from least firm to most firm. Most common types are silken, soft, medium, firm and extra firm. I tend to use extra firm the most, as they are most versatile and easy to prepare.
Preparing Tofu: Tofu is very easy to prepare; you can sauté, bake, fry, steam, or grill. Tofu does not have a lot of flavor; it is somewhat neutral, can be paired with any flavor profile. It is fun to experiment tofu with flavors and seasonings from various cuisines. Tofu pairs exceptionally well with many ingredients, some of my favorite parings are soy sauce, chili flakes, rice vinegar, paprika, curry powder, honey, maple syrup, pineapple, black pepper, miso, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame seeds, green onions, mint, cumin, coriander, and so many more.
I prefer to sear, shallow fry, roast, bake and/or sauté my tofu. You want to remove as much liquid as possible for nice browning. Extra firm tofu might still have some liquid, remove extra firm tofu from the package, wrap it in clean kitchen towel, set it on a plate, place something heavy on top of the tofu for 10-15 minutes. This process will remove any excess liquid from tofu. There are so many fun ways to prepare tofu, here is one quick and easy way to prepare extra firm tofu. I prefer to slice, dice, or cut tofu into strips before marinating with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili flakes and rice vinegar, make sure your marinade is not too wet. I occasionally use coconut sugar as well; this really adds flavor and color to tofu. Once marinated for 15-20 minutes, you can sauté your tofu in a wok or a sauté pan on high heat with your preferred oil. It is important not to overcrowd your pan, if needed, cook in batches. You can add cooked tofu to your salads, lettuce cups, wraps, tacos, bowls and much more. So, start incorporating this super protein in your diet now to enjoy its health benefits and unique texture. You can start by substituting tofu in full or half (with your traditional protein) in your favorite dishes.