We’re spilling all our secrets on how to cook tofu in this vegan recipe round-up! From meaty marinated cutlets to smooth and silky protein-packed dips, here are 20+ totally vegan recipes to get you started (or keep you going) on your love affair with tofu!
My love for tofu is no secret around here, and neither is the long hard road it took to get there.
I ate my way through my fair share of squishy blocks of flavorless mush before we arrived at this point in our relationship, but I can now honestly say, I couldn’t live without tofu in my life!
These days, I’m using it in ways I would have never imagined.
So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or me 10 years ago just trying to figure this whole thing out, we hope there will be something in this round-up to inspire you to cook with tofu in a way that totally blows your mind
We broke the recipes below into three sections for three different types of tofu: silken (or “soft”), firm, and extra firm.
How to Cook with Silken Tofu
Silken is possibly the most misunderstood; it’s the unsung hero of the tofu world. It took me years to go anywhere near the stuff. I mean, WHY is it so mushy?! I’m trying to get away from tofu mush, right? Well, kind of.
The secret to cooking with silken tofu is all in your approach. Instead of stir fries or crispy bites, think dips, sauces, and dressings!
Because when you put this silken magic in a blender, it transforms into this super creamy dreamy sauce that is a perfect base for everything from pasta sauces to protein-packed queso, to the most amazing salad dressings.
This creamy pasta sauce is crazy easy to make, cashew-free, and pure comfort food…all thanks to silken tofu! Several of our friends and readers have hailed it the perfect date-night-in recipe, so that’s a major plus too.
This queso dip was probably THE first recipe I ever made with silken tofu, and I’m still head-over-heels for it today. It takes 5 minutes and the texture is mind-blowingly silky, thanks to the tofu magic! I love this served as a dip with salty tortilla chips and margaritas or an ice-cold beer.
This vegan caesar dressing made with silken tofu is our go-to for pretty much every dinner party and/or summer lunch by the pool. It’s creamy and dreamy but also lighter than its dairy or even cashew-based counterparts. A total family favorite!
We adore this easy mozzarella sauce cooked atop pizza or baked ziti or BOTH (as in the photograph of our Baked Ziti Pizza above). The addition of the tapioca starch, when heated, creates a killer ooey gooey cheesy effect that you will love.
We’ve also used silken tofu to make mozzarella balls! Check out our lemon pepper marinated vegan bocconcini for that recipe.
How to Cook with Firm Tofu
Ahh, the middle child of the tofu world. Firm tofu (sometimes labeled “medium firm”) is much firmer than silken, but holds more liquid than extra firm. It’s great for thicker dips, crumbly cheeses, and even a vegan quiche!
Firm tofu is the base of both of our vegan feta recipes: The dip version (pictured above) and the block version (a long-time reader fave!). Both of these recipes are total show-stoppers at parties and so easy to make, with no cashew-soaking required!
If you’re looking for a family brunch dish that requires minimal work but is sure to impress, you’ve found it in this Vegan Quiche En Croute. Not only does the tofu in this recipe have a killer eggy flavor and texture, but anything wrapped in puff pastry is going to be an instant hit!
How to Cook with Extra Firm Tofu
Extra firm tofu is probably the variety with which you’re most familiar. This is where I started when I was first learning how to cook with tofu.
One of our favorite tricks for extra firm tofu is to FREEZE IT! This has been completely revolutionary for us, as it makes the texture meaty AF, wonderfully (and perhaps eerily) similar to that of chicken.
The first four recipes below highlight this technique. The last 3 recipes will show you how to make some kickass creamy cheeses!
We call this “salad chicken” in our house because it tastes exactly like that grilled chicken I used to order on my salads in the summertime. This is on permanent repeat in our house and uses the freezing technique to get that perfect meaty texture.
Same method, different flavor. These balsamic tomato marinated tofu cutlets are killer on pasta or sandwiches or right off the pan!
If you’re a fan of spicy/sweet Asian-inspired flavors, you’ll love this one! We love them in stir fries and always served with a big pile of rice. If you dig this flavor but want a different cooking method, you can also try our air-fried version.
This was the FIRST recipe in which we employed the freezing strategy, and it is still one of our favorites. (Not to mention, a MAJOR hit with all the non-vegans in our life!).
The difference in this recipe is that we breaded the cutlets in a peppery, cheesy, breadcrumb coating that I swear on all that is holy tastes EXACTLY like the restaurant chicken parm I used to love growing up. Your childhood dreams will not be disappointed with this one; it’s pure magic.
Switching gears now to a different way to use extra firm tofu: VEGAN. CHEESE. This cheeseball actually happened by accident a few Christmases ago when I learned I could emulsify refined coconut oil with extra firm tofu to create a delicious and mind-blowingly thick and creamy base for the perfect spread-able vegan cheeses.
My family loves this recipe so much, especially my Nana whose recipe I was trying to emulate. That’s when you know it’s a win!
Once we made the cheeseball, our next stop was this easy veggie cream cheese and holy WOW is it good! The texture and flavor are unbeatable. Plus, it’s super easy to make and perfect for meal prep!
We’re finishing this round-up on DESSERT (as it should be 🙂 ). Yes, that’s right, tofu makes a great dessert recipe. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! These champagne cheesecakes are the perfect easy and delicious dessert for a celebration!
We hope you enjoyed this tofu round-up and would love to hear your best tips and tricks as well! Leave them, along with any questions, in the comments. We wanna hear it all: From your funny recipe fails to your biggest triumphs!
As we learn and cook more, we plan to update this list.
When you make any of these recipes, be sure to tag us in your amazing tofu creations on Instagram. We’d love to see them! If you’re not already following along, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
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Now, go forth and live a life filled with delicious tofu recipes that definitely don’t suck. 😉 Until next time, my tofu-loving friends!