The Best Way to Cook Tofu

- Food + Drink, Main Dish

Anytime I mention that I like tofu to someone who hasn’t had it before, they wrinkle their nose in disgust, baffled as to why in the world I would actually enjoy it. It never fails.

BUT…I have been a vegetarian for several years and I will admit, it freaked me out a little bit at first as well, but just because I didn’t know the right way to cook it.

I have had AWFUL tofu in some restaurants (not all, of course), and I am convinced that a lot of people just don’t know how to make it. Over the years I have perfected my “technique”, and thought I would share the way I make it, because I am pretty sure it is the best way. ;)

Best Way to Cook Tofu1. Use the “extra firm” kind. There are a couple varieties, including “silken” which is for things like smoothies (yep, you can put tofu in smoothies)…but what I use tofu for most often is stir fry, so “extra firm” is what I like best.

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2. Cut open the package, then drain and rinse. Tofu comes in water, so I drain that out and just rinse the whole block with water from the tap.

3. Lay block on a cutting board and slice into smaller wedges. 

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4. Spread sections out, and dry with paper towels. I think this is where most people go wrong. Like I mentioned, tofu comes in water. It is also like a sponge, so it soaks up a lot of that water. In order to cook it so that it doesn’t come out soggy and sponge-like, you’ll want to get most of the water out. I have seen some people lay a couple of paper towels down on the sections and then top with a heavy pan to press the water out, but I have found that just pressing as much water out as possible with paper towels does the trick. Again, it’s sponge-like, so if you press too hard the tofu will fall apart. Press firmly, but don’t smash it! :)

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5. Cut sections into cubes and put into a bowl to marinate. I use an asian-style sauce (peanut sauce is my current favorite!), about a tablespoon of vegetable oil, a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, and 1/2 a tablespoon of sesame seeds. Obviously not an exact science…just use the sauce and spices you like!

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6. Mix gently, cover and refrigerate. Tofu will pretty much soak up whatever flavoring you put on it, so I make sure I marinate it for a good amount of time before cooking. Sometimes I only marinate it for 30 minutes, and others I do it for an  hour or two. Whatever is easiest!

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7. Spread on a foil-lined pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. The sauce tends to bake onto the pan and nobody likes to scrub dishes after dinner. So, I line the pan with foil for a much easier clean-up.

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8. Remove from oven, flip tofu and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. The end result should be tofu that is crispy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. If it is still too soft for your taste, just put it back in the oven and bake longer.

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You can eat tofu a lot of different ways, but we use ours most often in stir fry. I cook some mixed veggies in a skillet over medium heat, then toss in the tofu to crisp up a little bit more. Over brown rice or quinoa, this is a really good (and really simple) dinner. It makes great leftovers too!IMG_1110 IMG_1107If you try out the recipe, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you.

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    October 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    […] Marinate and cook tofu (check out my tips for the best way to make tofu). […]

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