A friend requested that I blog about tofu, how to use it and did I have any good recipes as her daughter decided to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. Our daughter had had some dietary issues in her teenage years and found that by carefully following a vegetarian diet, her health improved. This resulted in lots of experimentation both in the home kitchen and in the Home Economics lab. Today, I’ll share some background information on tofu and two of our favorite recipes with you.
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is made from soybeans, water and a curdling agent. Very high in protein, calcium and iron, tofu has long been a staple in Asian and western vegetarian diets. Cooks love tofu for its versatility and its ability to absorb the flavors of sauces and spices introduced into a tofu recipe. You can usually find the two main types of tofu – soft and firm – in the produce section of your favorite grocery store.
The two main types of tofu:
- Soft, silken, or Japanese-style tofu – smooth and creamy, is used in sauces, salad dressings and desserts.
- Regular tofu or firm tofu – can be carefully cut into slices or diced – is packed in water.
*Note: Both types of tofu are available in soft, medium, firm and extra-firm consistencies; however, do not interchange soft and regular tofu in a recipe as they are each processed differently. In using soft tofu, the different kinds are usually interchangeable in a recipe.
Make this flavorful recipe tonight instead of a regular meatloaf. Good also for gluten free diets.
1 pound firm regular tofu, drained and mashed
¼ cup ketcup
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 – 6 finely chopped brown mushrooms
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup grated medium cheddar cheese (optional)
½ cup whole grain bread crumbs or rolled oats (**you can substitute gluten-free bread crumbs or gluten-free rolled oats for those on a gluten-free diet)
1.Saute chopped onions and mushrooms in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil until soft.
2.Put 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the bottom of a loaf pan (9x4x2½ inch). Spray sides with nonstick spray.
3.Press loaf mixture into pan.
4.Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until firm when lightly touched. Cool 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before unmolding onto a serving plate. Garnish with additional shredded cheese.
CHOCOLATE TOFU DESSERT
Place following ingredients into a blender and process until smooth:
1 package (500 ml or 2 cups) soft tofu
¾ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
Pour into serving dish and chill until firm. Serve with fresh raspberries in pretty individual bowls.