Tofu, the protein workhorse of vegetarian cuisine, is sometimes underappreciated. Though it has many virtues, some kitchen finesse is required to help the ingredient shine through. Because bean curd can tend towards the bland, it’s easy to see why some might consider it an acquired taste. But there’s an easy remedy: when soaked in bright, flavorful marinades prior to cooking, tofu takes on a wonderful taste and texture—one that even soy skeptics will clamor for. Most recipes require tofu to marinate for about an hour, but you’ll still add excellent flavor in 10 to 20 minutes if that’s all you have to work with.
Here are 8 terrific tofu recipes that are sure to please vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Because of its neutral flavor, tofu makes the perfect foil for capsaicin heat. Pick your favorite chili powder, then mix two heaping teaspoons of it into orange juice, maple syrup, smoked paprika, oil, and salt, creating an addictively sweet-and-spicy marinade. Once your tofu has taken on the sweetness and the heat, it’s ready for the oven, grill or sauté pan. This Chili Roasted Tofu pairs beautifully with its accompaniment, a pomegranate relish.
(Image: Sprouted Kitchen)
Marinated and Glazed Tofu
recipe from Cookie & Kate pairs the tofu with Brussels sprouts, which also get coated with the glaze.
(Image: Cookie & Kate)
A combination of mustard, vinegar, oil, dill and red onion lends a salad dressing-like flavor to this exquisite Greek Baked Tofu that first appeared in the cookbook of Peter Berley, master tofu marinator. When cooled, the slices taste wonderful in sandwiches piled high with carrots, lettuce and avocado.
Tahini & Lemon
By thinning sesame paste with lemon juice and olive oil and flavoring it with Mediterranean ingredients like lemon zest, pomegranate molasses and dried mint, you’ll create a rich marinade that adds deep flavor and a rich, nut-buttery silkiness to the tofu.
Fermented soybean paste, also known as miso, is full of umami, making it a dramatic counterpart to its milder soy cousin, tofu. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with 2 tablespoons of miso and 3 tablespoons of mirin or other sweet white wine to make the simplest-ever miso marinade, then customize the miso marinade to your liking by adding your own favorite aromatics. Here’s a basic recipe for miso marinated tofu.