Trying to figure out what to do with tofu? Check out this list of The Best Vegan Tofu Recipes, packed with dinners, sauces, cheeses (?!?!) and more.
Hey Internet, are you a new vegan and lost when it comes to tofu?
Or maybe you’re a seasoned vegan (hah, get it?) and just looking for some new ideas for this incredibly versatile protein.
I’ve made all kinds of things with tofu, such as direct meat replacements, silky sauces, nut-free vegan cheeses, etc.
On occasion, I even use it as an egg alternative.
Though I have to say my absolute favorite way to eat it is by making crispy tofu. Simple, easy, delicious, and super versatile.
Before we get into the tofu recipes, let’s answer some common questions about tofu.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tofu is a vegan and vegetarian friendly protein-packed food made from condensed soy milk that is coagulated and pressed into white blocks. The process is similar to cheesemaking.
You can vary the thickness / firmness of the tofu with minor adjustments during the process.
In fact, you can even make tofu at home and it’s pretty easy to do so! Here’s a great recipe for homemade tofu.
Some folks with soy allergies even make homemade tofu out of other substances, like pumpkin seeds (referred to as “pumfu”).
Much like seitan, tofu doesn’t really have a flavor until you add something to it.
Many vegans will mention their children like plain tofu, but children are known for having simple palates.
Tofu is PACKED with protein, calcium, manganese, and several other micronutrients. It is also low in fat, contains no cholesterol, and is considered a major staple of any vegan or vegetarian diet.
So, you have to be careful here if you are avoiding GMO. There are many Non-GMO Tofu brands out there, just check the packaging!
Tofu is easy to find these days, and in varying firmness.
Super firm tofu, the kind that comes in vacuum sealed plastic, is the best for direct meat replacement. You often don’t need to press it, and you get the most tofu for your buck.
Extra or Firm tofu are also great for meat replacements. Because they come packed in water, you’ll want to drain this water before using them.
Medium or soft tofu are great for more tender applications, like tofu scramble or as the egg in shakshuka, which I have available in my Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book.
Some recipes may encourage you to bread and fry soft tofu (often Asian-inspired recipes) for a bit of a different texture, but amazing all the same.
Silken tofu is the most soft and almost liquidy tofu. It’s fantastic for making super creamy sauces like salad dressings, tofu sour cream, or even vegan mayo.
You’ll want to press tofu if you’re intending to cook it, yes. When it’s packed in water, the tofu absorbs that water like a sponge.
That means it won’t absorb any type of flavor you put in it, like a marinade or a sauce.
Water packed tofu also can result in a less-than-optimal texture when cooking. If you press out most of the excess water, the tofu will become chewy and even crispy with certain cooking methods.
While a tofu press makes it a lot easier to press tofu, you don’t absolutely need one.
Many people will sandwich the tofu between two cutting boards or plates and a few heavy objects (like a cast iron pan or reference books). You may want to wrap the tofu in paper towels if you do this, because a lot of water will come out this way.
If using a tofu press, you may be able to just turn it on its side in or over the sink and let the excess water drip out.
Tofu presses are all pretty different, so you may want to look into how your tofu press best releases extra water.
I prefer this EZ tofu press because it’s like two clamped boards with a crank to press them together and hold the tofu in place.
I flip it on its edge and place it on the clean side of my sink to drip while I do other things.
What is the Freezer Tofu Method?
The freezer tofu method is essentially where you freeze a block of firm or extra firm tofu inside the packaging (with the water and all) until completely frozen, and then you thaw it and use it.
Many folks actually repeat the process by freezing it and thawing it again.
What happens is this: the water in the tofu turns into ice crystals, which creates many holes in the tofu.
This makes it chewy and much more like meat, which is preferred by many vegans for recipes like nuggets or even like chicken in recipes such as my Vegan Kung Pao Chicken.
Note that your tofu will be yellowish after you do this. Totally normal.
How to Cook Tofu
This question kind of depends on what you’re making. Unless you’re blending it, I highly recommend at least draining your tofu, if not also pressing it.
So, with regard to that, let’s get into my big list of vegan tofu recipes.
The Best Tofu Recipes
If you're looking for tofu recipes, I gotchu. Check out my list below of the best tofu recipes, all vegan of course.
Each section contains tons of recipes so you're sure to find something you'll like!
Tofu as a Meat Alternative
Want to make your tofu taste similar to chicken or beef? Check out some of my favorites below.
This Easy Crispy Tofu is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy tofu. If you’ve never tried making it crispy, or if you’ve struggled, check out one of the three methods I’ll share in this post for the best crispy tofu ever.
This ridiculously delicious Sticky Tofu might just be one of the best things I’ve ever made. It’s incredibly easy to make, customize, and it goes with basically everything.
This hearty and delicious Sheet Pan BBQ Tofu Meal is made on one or two sheet pans (depending on how many veggies you want!) and is super hands-off. Loaded with crispy BBQ tofu, the BEST crispy potatoes, surprisingly delicious roasted onions, roasted asparagus, and sweet corn, this is a meal that’s perfect for guests, a weeknight dinner, or meal prep.
This delicious Honey Garlic Tofu is a super easy and flavorful dish. Serve it with rice and your favorite vegetable for a fantastic and satisfying meal.
A vegan take on the Philippines’ national dish, Tofu Adobo is savory, sweet, tangy, rich, and completely delicious. Tofu has met its match with this easy and flavorful meal.
Sweet, tangy, and delicious, this easy Sweet and Sour Tofu is better than takeout and healthier too. Make it in just 20 minutes with simple ingredients and no food coloring.
This fresh and delicious Tofu Poke Bowl couldn’t be any easier to make at home and features delicious baked sesame ginger tofu. Customize it however you like and prep enough to enjoy all week for quick and easy but healthy meals.
Light, crispy and spongy in a good way, this Puffed Tofu does not disappoint. It’s great for a variety of different meals and it’s super quick and easy to make!
Crispy and flavorful, this Panko Tofu is incredibly easy, quick, and versatile. Add it to your favorite bowl, pasta, or salad for a satisfying main or dip it in your favorite sauce for a great snack or appetizer.
Delicious and filling, this Vegan Salmon is easy to make in two different ways: bake it for an easy, hands-off meal or pan sear it and enjoy a crispy “skin” on top with a moist and flaky interior that will impress everyone.
Chewy, smoky, and a little spicy, these Vegan Sausage Crumbles are made from TOFU and are so versatile yet incredibly easy to make. They’re gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, and, of course, utterly delicious.
This sticky and delicious Vegan Orange Chicken uses tofu and is incredibly easy to make. In under 25 minutes you can have a tasty entree that's both healthy and decadent, as this recipe contains zero refined sugar or oil!
Crispy, tender, and flavorful, these Vegan Schnitzel are actually made from tofu and they’re incredibly delicious. This easy meat alternative comes together in just 15 minutes, can be made in one of three ways (instructions provided), and is the perfect protein for any meal.
Saucy, sweet, and spicy, this creamy Bang Bang Tofu is a fun vegan twist on a popular appetizer. It’s so protein packed and easy to make that it can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or even as a main course.
Full of sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and savory flavor, this Vegan Kung Pao Chicken is completely amazing and easy to make. This Kung Pao is better than takeout, and it’s better for you but it does NOT compromise on incredible flavor.
Delicious Vegan Beef and Broccoli is savory, satisfying, and family friendly. Skip the takeout and make this delectable yet healthy dish in less than 30 minutes.
Rich, cozy and PACKED with flavor, this easy Vegan Tom Kha Soup is a Thai-inspired recipe that is simple and quick to make. Customize the heat (or make it not spicy at all), the veggies, and the protein for a delicious and nutritious meal.
Healthy, flavorful, and satisfying, this easy Tofu Buddha Bowl is the perfect weeknight dinner and is super versatile. Fit this bowl to your tastes and macros, and it’ll become a household favorite in no time.
Deliciously smoky, sweet, and chewy, this Baked BBQ Tofu is super easy to make and is delicious alongside any meal or a great topper for salad, pasta, and more. Bake it, air fry it, pan cook it, or grill it, this protein-packed side dish will push its way right into the spotlight.
Quick and easy, this hearty Weeknight Tofu Vegetable Curry utilizes shortcuts like frozen veggies to have dinner on your table in just
30 minutes. It makes tons of leftovers and freezes well, but doesn’t compromise on flavor.
Easy, foolproof tofu steak and potatoes! This meal is so easy to make, you don't have to know how to cook to make it. It's also inexpensive, protein packed, and totally delicious!
Tofu as an Egg Alternative
There are a few different ways to use tofu as eggs. Some actually use silken tofu as an egg replacement in baking! I tend to use it as an oil replacement in baking--I just blend it up and use it 1:1. Here's some other ways to use tofu as egg.
This easy tofu scramble with veggies takes only 10 minutes to prepare and makes a nutritious and delicious savory breakfast. Build your own scramble with veggies, vegan cheese, etc. eat as is, in a wrap, or as a sandwich! If you subscribe to my free recipes newsletter, you'll receive a free 10-recipe e-book that uses this tofu scramble recipe as a filling for breakfast burritos.
Decadent yet wholesome, this delicious Vegan Quiche takes breakfast to a whole new level with a HASH BROWN CRUST, a layer of vegan cheese, vegan eggs, sun dried tomatoes and veggies. Perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, a decadent breakfast or the perfect potluck dish, this quiche can be eaten warm or cold and even works great for meal prep.
Rich, creamy, and satisfying yet easy and healthy, this vegan tofu Eggs Benedict comes together in just 30 minutes and is simple enough to make on a weekday yet indulgent enough to enjoy for weekend brunch. Bonus: take it go with one simple modification.
Tofu as a Cheese Alternative
Unless you're making tofu palak paneer (tofu in spinach curry), in my opinion you cannot just use tofu straight up as a cheese alternative. You have to transform it. Check out these vegan cheese recipes below where I show you how to use tofu to make nut-free vegan cheese.
Creamy, rich, and buttery smooth, this Vegan Brie is not only incredibly easy to make, but it’s also deliciously similar to its dairy counterpart. Instructions included for nut-free and soy-free versions. Prep this vegan Brie recipe in just 10 minutes and the next day you’ll be met with amazing vegan cheese perfect for a party or just for snacking.
This vegan nut-free cheddar cheese does everything dairy cheese does--it melts, shreds, and slices, but it’s totally free of any nuts, oil, or animal products! In 10 minutes of prep time and a brief time in the refrigerator, you can enjoy a delicious vegan cheddar on pizza, pasta, grilled cheese and more!
This Nut and Oil-Free Vegan Feta Cheese is super easy and delicious--it even melts! It only takes 10 minutes, a few simple ingredients, and a bit of time in the fridge to prepare this delicious cheese that’s great on pasta, pizza, salads, and more!
Ridiculously quick and easy, my 5 Minute Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Sauce is stretchy, melty, and super easy to make. It will become your new favorite for grilled cheese, pasta, pizza, and more.
Melty, gooey, stretchy my Vegan Melty Cheddar Cheese Sauce is perfect for quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and more! Nut-free, gluten-free, AND oil-free! The best part is it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and keeps well in the fridge, too.
Creamy and loaded with flavor, this awesome Vegan Cheese Ball is easy to make, fun to decorate, and perfect for an appetizer or party snack. Highlight it on a vegan snack board or just dig in with some crackers and enjoy!
This creamy, tangy, and nut-free Vegan Goat Cheese is absolutely delicious and quick! Make it up in just 10 minutes and throw it on some salad, crackers, or crostini if you’re feeling fancy. It makes the perfect quick high protein snack.
Rich, creamy, and smooth, this delicious Vegan Camembert is a fantastic fancy yet easy nut-free vegan cheese perfect for any vegan charcuterie board or snack. Prep this vegan Camembert recipe in just 10 minutes and let chill for an out-of-this-world flavor experience.
Tofu as a Base for Sauces
Tofu is actually a great base for sauces. Silken tofu can be blended into just about anything. However, in my experience, you can actually use any firmness (besides extra or super firm) to make a tofu sauce. Only have access to firm tofu? This is the bulk of what I use because I, well, buy it in bulk. Just add a little water or unsweetened non-dairy milk to make a base for any sauce. I use tofu in place of cashews for a nut-free, low-fat sauce base.
This easy tofu sour cream is delicious and so fast to make with only 3 ingredients. It’s perfect as a dipping sauce, but it also works really well in baking to keep a cake or pastry moist.
Creamy and rich yet also light, this nut-free vegan mayo is so delicious, yet actually made from tofu! We can't believe it's so easy to make, and so versatile. It's a great base for an aioli, chipotle mayo, or anything else--but my husband mostly just likes to spread it on his sandwiches.
Creamy, zesty, and traditional in flavor, this easy Nut-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing is easy to make and free of oils, nuts, and sugar. It’s also packed with plant-based protein and takes just 5 minutes to whiz up in any kind of blender!
This easy, creamy Tofu Cream Cheese is packed with protein, totally customizable and so easy to make in a blender or food processor. Schmear this 5-minute vegan cream cheese on a bagel, use it in a recipe, or just dip veggies / fruit in it.
Creamy, sweet, tangy, and salty, this lightened up Vegan Russian Dressing is quick and easy to make. This sauce is the perfect condiment for vegan reuben sandwiches, salads, and more--it’s fabulous as a dip for potato wedges too!
Luscious, creamy, protein-packed Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting with no refined sugar! This healthy frosting takes only 5 minutes to make, and requires less than 10 ingredients.
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