A Guide To Tofu
Tofu might sound like some new-age, hippie food but in fact, it has been a key part of the Asian diet for centuries. Tofu is made from soybeans and is high in protein, making it an excellent choice if you want to boost your protein intake or are following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Tofu is also extremely versatile and can be easily incorporated into almost any dish. This article covers everything you need to know about tofu as well as how to incorporate it into your diet.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a plant-based protein source that is essentially a curd made from soybeans. Not only is tofu very high in protein, it is also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
In order to make tofu, soy milk is first made by soaking the soybeans in water and then pressing them together to create a substance similar to cheese. The soy milk is then mixed with a curdling agent (also known as a coagulant). This causes the soymilk to curdle and these curds are then drained and pressed to create a block of tofu. This may sound like a strange process but making tofu is very similar to how cheese is made with the main difference being that tofu is made from soybeans rather than cow's milk.
Is Soy Bad For You?
Soy products, like tofu, have gotten a bad wrap. Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information about soy products and tofu. Some believed that the estrogen-like compounds found in soy increased the risks of hormone-related cancers and would cause hormone imbalances in men and make them develop boobs.
The studies being done that made scientists come to this conclusion were being done on rodents and as they later discovered rodents actually process soy differently than humans. Research is now showing the benefits of soy products reducing the risk of breast cancer and the anti-oxidative effect soy has.
How much protein is in tofu?
A 100-gram serving of tofu contains 10 grams of protein. This makes it a high-protein food and an excellent choice if you want to boost your protein intake, especially on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Tofu contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. The best part is that tofu is very low in calories, with the same serving (100 grams) of tofu containing just 85 calories. This makes it an excellent source of protein if you’re trying to lose weight, as protein is an essential macronutrient and is essential to maintaining a healthy body.
Tofu Nutrition Facts
As mentioned above, tofu is a very high-protein food and is also very low in calories. A 100-gram serving of tofu contains 10 grams of protein and just 85 calories. It also contains a small amount of fat, with the same serving of tofu containing just 5 grams of fat.
Protein aside, it is also a good source of iron, potassium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B.
Other Benefits of Tofu + Soy Products
Soybeans contain soy isoflavones, which are a class of flavonoids that exhibit antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Soy isoflavones have shown in studies obesity-preventing effects, reducing blood glucose levels (anti-diabetic), reducing the risk of esteroporosis and breast cancer, and anti-oxidative effects. Soy isoflavones reduce body fat and weight, and epidemiologic studies have shown women who consume soybeans have lower BMI than those who do not. Soy isoflavones greatly benefit post-menopausal women by increasing bone mineral density and reducing the risk of breast cancer.
What is the best tofu to buy?
Tofu comes in a variety of different textures. The two most common types of tofu are soft tofu and firm tofu. Tofu texture is determined by how much water has been pressed out of the tofu. The more water that is pressed out of the tofu, the firmer and denser it will be. Soft tofu is ideal for recipes that require a smoother texture, like smoothies, sauces, or desserts. Firmer tofu is great for substituting meat in meals or using to make crispy tofu for grain bowls, noodle bowls, and tofu scrambles.
How To Make Tofu Taste Good
Given that tofu is bland, tasteless food, it might seem difficult to incorporate into your diet. Luckily, there are a few techniques that if used actually make tofu taste good. Follow these steps to make your tofu taste good (specifically medium to extra firm tofu):
- Start by pressing your tofu. When tofu is packaged it is stored in a brine. Pressing the tofu either with a tofu press or layering with towels and stacking a couple of books on top will help remove some of the excess brine from the tofu. This can be done anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
- Now that the tofu has been pressed and some of the brine is removed, the tofu is primed to absorb a marinade and take on some flavor. Marinades are essentially a sauce or liquid that has been seasoned with herbs and spices. You can marinate tofu similar to how you would marinate other meat. A great addition to your marinades is soy sauce, tamari, or liquid amino, all of which contribute a similar flavor. Whip up a marinade and then marinate the tofu for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Once marinated, you can either coat it with some breading to make it crispy or go ahead and cook it as is. Tofu can be pan-fried and baked.
Tofu can be done so many different ways. If you want to learn more about how to cook tofu check out our plant-based cooking course, where we teach how to make crispy pan-fried tofu perfect for grain or noddles bowls, blackened tofu that goes great in wraps, salads, and bowls, and tofu scramble that makes an easy protein-packed breakfast that can be mixed with other veggies or used to fill your breakfast tacos.
Tofu, Final Words
Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein. It’s also fairly low in calories, making it a perfect food for people who want to lose weight. Tofu is also extremely versatile and can be easily incorporated into almost any dish. This makes it a great choice if you want to eat healthy while also saving money. You can buy tofu in bulk and use it in various recipes, making it much cheaper than eating meat. If you want to eat healthily and save money, tofu is an excellent choice. It tastes great in stir fry, baked dishes, and any other recipe you can think of.