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Tofu can be quite a confusing ingredient. Who would have thought that a small block of soya could be so intimidating?! Though, I can assure you, all it takes is some patience and practice to become a tofu-cooking pro.
I have witnessed a great deal of 'tofu hatred' in my years of being a vegan. For years, people have labelled it as a bland 'hippy' food, which is a majorly outdated opinion, might I add! Besides, it couldn't be further from the truth.
Tofu isn't something to simply chop into cubes and fry up with a dash of seasoning. I mean, you can certainly eat it like that if you want to, but it can also be whatever you make it!
So let's dive into a few of the many reasons why you should start adding tofu into your weekly menu...
Silken tofu is ideal for blending and makes a creamy base for you to flavour however you want. If you have some nutritional yeast in your kitchen and don't want to spend a small fortune on cashews, use silken tofu. The possibilities range from ricotta cheese to feta!
We have all grown up in a society that teaches us that dairy is essential for healthy bones. However, tofu is an excellent source of calcium; 120g tofu (steamed or fried) contains around 200mg of calcium.
Don't knock it until you've tried it! Tofu doesn't have a strong flavour which means that it can easily blend into any dessert as a replacement for dairy or egg. Another great benefit of using tofu in baking is that it will make your dish lower in fat and cholesterol. In vegan baking, you will likely see silken tofu pop up in recipes for cheesecakes or mousse.
All plants have some element of protein in them. Plant-based proteins tend to be lower in calories than animal proteins, making them great if you're trying to lose weight. A 1/2 cup serving of raw, firm tofu contains around 10 grams of protein.
Hear me out here; the texture of firm (or extra-firm) tofu can quite easily be made into a mouth-watering bacon substitute with minimal effort. First, make sure to drain and press the tofu to get the liquid out, then slice it into bacon strips, marinate it with rich flavours like soy sauce, and then pop it in the oven until it's crispy! It's a much healthier version of traditional bacon. Yet, it still has that deep umami flavour and chewy, crisp texture (a good tip is to freeze the tofu block before marinating to give it an even chewier texture).
Searching for a vegan substitute that is gluten-free can sometimes be an annoying task, which is where good old tofu comes in. Can't find gluten-free vegan 'chicken'? You could make your own using tofu. Can't find a gluten-free 'steak'? Yep, that's right; you could make your own using tofu.
Tofu is packed with protein, and not only does it contain zero cholesterol, but it's also low in saturated fat. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? It's not! This ingredient has been a part of Chinese diets for thousands of years, and it's popular for a reason.
If you're working towards lowering your cholesterol levels, then I'd highly recommend adding tofu as a meat replacement into your meals now and then.
Have you ever heard of scrambled tofu? What about a tofu omelette? Well, they both exist, they're delicious, and they're a healthier alternative to using eggs! All you have to do is obtain a magical little ingredient by the name of black salt (aka Kala namak) to give your tofu that unique, unmistakable flavour.
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