Tofu is a big part of a plant-based diet, and one of my personal favorite foods. It’s a great source of protein despite being relatively low in calories and is a great source of calcium and iron. Plus, it’s rich in isoflavones, which have been linked with lower rates of heart disease and certain cancers.
Tofu is also super versatile. You can scramble it for your morning tofu scramble, use to make vegan cheeses like vegan feta, or use to make it a hearty and satisfying dinner like tofu curry.
But…tofu gets a bad rap for being flavorless and boring, and to be fair, if you don’t know how to prepare it, it can be both of those things. So I thought I’d share 40 delicious plant-based tofu recipes that make tofu truly exciting. From Asia to the Middle East to Latin America, there is tons of global inspiration in this roundup of tofu recipes.
Tofu is sold in two primary categories: silken tofu and regular “block” tofu. The firmer the tofu, the more water has been pressed out of it.
Silken tofu is usually used in pureed applications (smoothies, creamy desserts, sauces) or in East Asian cold tofu dishes.
Firm tofu is my choice for tofu scramble, and can be used in many applications: pan-frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, etc.
Extra-firm tofu is versatile, whether pan-frying, stir-frying, grilling, or baking. It’s a great option for getting crispy tofu.
Super-firm tofu is best option for grilling, or where you need the tofu to remain very compact and dense.
How to improve the texture and taste of tofu
All three of these methods will make firm and extra-firm varieties of tofu less watery, which has two main benefits. First, it enablesthe tofu to better crisp up. Second, it enables the tofu to better absorb the flavors its cooked in (e.g., marinade, sauce, etc.).
Press tofu. When using firm or extra-firm tofu for stir-frying, frying, baking, or grilling it (or another method, where you want the tofu to develop some level of crispness), it is generally wise to press the tofu (don’t press soft or silken tofu).
To press tofu, you can use a tofu press. Or, press the old-fashioned way. Drain the tofu and wrap it in a thin dish towel or several paper towels. Weigh the tofu down with your heaviest cookbook, or a cast iron skillet. If needed, weigh down the book or skillet with a couple cans of beans to evenly distribute the weight. Allow to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes. If you can, change the towels in between.
Freeze tofu. Freezing tofu makes it more porous, which lends a chewier texture and also helps the tofu absorb flavors better. You can freeze a whole unopened package of tofu (it needs about 8 hours to completely freeze). Then, defrost the tofu in the fridge (it takes a full day; you can speed it up a bit by leaving it on the counter for up to 2 hours during this time). You can also defrost in the microwave in 1-minute intervals until thawed.
Boil tofu. If you don’t have frozen tofu on hand, boiling cubed tofu in a pot of generously salted water for 2 minutes also improves it texture, making it chewier and better able to absorb flavors.
My tofu scramble tastes uncannily similar to scrambled eggs – rich, creamy, and flavor-packed, and the perfect recipe to try if you're tired of dry, bland tofu scrambles. Best of all, it’s quick and easy and uses just one pan, so there’s minimal cleanup.
This Vegan Crispy Cajun Fried Tofu Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing by Jessica in the Kitchen is the ultimate healthy indulgent salad! It’s topped with a vegan version of Honey Mustard Dressing and SO crave-worthy!
This dill pickle tofu sandwich by Carleigh of Plant You has a beautiful crispy coating, chicken-like texture, and mouth-watering savory flavor. Dill pickle juice makes an incredible marinade for this incredible sandwich – salty, sweet and tangy at the same time!
My super simple but super delicious way to cook tofu (no pressing required to get the tofu crispy!)! Tofu slabs get pan-fried until crispy, then coated in a sticky 4-ingredient sauce that's sweet, tangy, and just a tad spicy!Note: This recipe is the first recipe card in the included blog post.
These Vegan Buffalo Tofu Wings by Shane & Simple are the perfect appetizer, game day snack, or comfort food. Covered in a crunchy panko bread crumb mixture then tossed in a hot and spicy buffalo sauce, they’re baked to crispy perfection and completely oil-free.
The ultimate fall comfort food, my vegan Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed shells are cheesy, creamy, chewy, garlicky and oh-so-delicious! The Ricotta filling is made with a block of extra-firm tofu and a handful of delicious seasonings, and can be used in a variety of cooking applications!
My simple but delicious grilled tofu skewers are a must-make during summer. Learn how to perfectly grill tofu so it's chewy, charred, and crispy! And take them over the top with a few flavorful but quick sauces.
Here's a recipe for an authentic vegan Jamaican Curry Tofu by Jhanelle of From The Comfort Of My Bowl made with only a few simple ingredients. It’s a vegan and gluten-free take on the classic Jamaican chicken recipe.
Kick start your morning with this delicious vegan style Caribbean breakfast recipe by Charla of That Girl Cooks Healthy! It consists of scrambled tofu, steamed iron enriched leafy greens, baked sweet plantain with avocado (pear) on the side.
My Crispy Sesame Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps are a light yet flavorful Asian-inspired dinner perfect anytime. Tofu and oyster mushrooms are baked on a sheet pan, then doused in a spicy almond-sesame sauce and served in lettuce wraps.
Get ready for some serious spice! Here is a simple and delicious veganized recipe of the classic Sichuan dish, Mapo Tofu by Lisa of Healthy Nibbles. Serve the tofu with jasmine rice and her Chinese garlic cucumber salad for a complete meal!
Joanne aka The Korean Vegan decided to veganize the Korean-Chinese sauce she loved growing up, and the result is this amazing Spicy and Crunchy Garlic Tofu! She even claims this dish is "literally the BEST EVER tofu recipe" she's ever made!
A sticky, spicy and slightly sweet tofu and broccoli dish, this is the best of Chinese takeout food but made at home and in the Instant Pot! It’s a recipe from my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook!
My vegan feta recipe has the classic tangy, salty, savory flavors and firm-crumbly texture of classic feta but without any of the dairy. It's surprisingly easy to make with a block of extra-firm tofu and a few pantry staples. Crumble into salads and wraps, serve on top of crostini, or toss into pasta.
If you are craving a hearty, filling, vegan sandwich packed with flavor – this is it. This sandwich by Justine Snacks uses distinct Middle Eastern spices to create a balanced, spicy, umami flavor explosion. Plus it is packed with protein, carbs and healthy fats, making it the perfect easy lunch or dinner.
Here's a recipe for a Mediterranean tofu steak with a crispy zaatar crust, infused with tangy pomegranate and topped with a creamy green tahini by Zena of Zen and Zaatar. It's perfect over couscous and is both vegan and gluten-free!
An alternative to traditional shakshuka, my Vegan Shakshuka is made with protein-packed tofu, white beans, and a variety of spices. It makes an easy, wholesome and comforting weekend brunch or breakfast!
My vegan breakfast burritos feature an eggy tofu scramble, vegan queso, pico de gallo, crispy roasted potatoes, and creamy avocado. All rolled up into a flour tortilla and skillet griddled to perfection. No one will believe they're vegan!
Perfect vegan taco meat made from tofu by Jasmine of Sweet Simple Vegan! This delicious gluten-free recipe is easy to make, full of flavor, and is ready in less than an hour. Plus, it only requires one bowl, one sheet pan, and no pressing of the tofu is required!
These enchiladas are a typical dish from the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. They are open-faced, meaning they are not rolled, but instead the fillings are piled on top. Dora of Dora's Table fills them with vegan chorizo, tofu queso fresco and veggies then tops them with a smoky chile ancho sauce.
Tortas are a Mexican sandwich and this delicious version by Eva of The Curious Chickpea is filled with refried beans, vegan mayo, shredded lettuce, seitan bacon, roasted poblanos, cabbage slaw, and battered tofu steaks. It makes for a filling and protein-packed vegan sandwich.
You may never go back to Chipotle after trying my copycat Sofritas recipe! Meaty tofu crumbles are simmered in a deeply smoky and tangy sauce made from chile peppers and spices. It's deceptively healthy and truly the best vegan burrito bowl topping!
In my Tofu Tikka Masala, tofu chunks get marinated in a homemade spice blend and creamy yogurt, then broiled until charred and coated in a rich tomato-onion gravy. It's a plant-based spin on chicken tikka masala and one of the most delicious Indian dishes you'll ever taste!
This succulent, saucy and spicy vegan Chilli Tofu by Vaishali of Holy Cow Vegan is based off an Indo-Chinese recipe, and flavored with tamari, ginger, garlic, coriander and cumin, making it the perfect blend of these two distinctive cuisines. Serve with rice or lo mein or Mandarin pancakes for a tasty dinner.
Enjoy gourmet restaurant-style Indian food at home with my Vegan Palak Tofu Paneer! A fragrant, creamy spinach curry made healthier with tofu instead of cheese. An easy yet impressive vegan Indian dinner!
My Vegan Curry with Tofu brings gourmet Indian flavors to your dinner table in under 45 minutes! A creamy plant-based curry with warming Indian spices, nutrient-dense cauliflower and spinach, and protein-packed tofu. Boiling previously frozen tofu makes it remarkably chewy and almost meaty!
Here's my recipe for a crispy golden tofu (that requires no pressing!) that gets drizzled with a creamy and indulgent peanut sauce, and paired alongside a refreshing, citrusy cabbage-carrot slaw. A gourmet dinner in just 20 minutes!Note: This is the 1st recipe card in this blog post.
This Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu by Remy of Veggiekins has rice noodles, tamarind, lime juice, vegan fish sauce, sprouts, and crushed peanuts on top. It's a veganized version of the classic that makes no compromises!
This tofu dish by Lisa aka The Viet Vegan has a wonderful texture: it's soft tender tofu with a crispy outer crust. The sauce is a savoury broth with green onion oil and enhanced with some vegan fish sauce! It’s rich and light, and so delicious in a Vietnamese style bento box!
My plant-based and Instant Pot spin on pho, an incredibly delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. With the magic of the Instant Pot, you get the umami and depth of flavor of traditional pho in a fraction of the time.
1 14-ounceblock Earth Grown Organic Extra Firm Tofu
3/4cup(9g) cilantroleaves and tender stems
2chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
6garlic cloves, roughly chopped
⅓cup(80 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 ½tablespoonsfreshly squeezed lime juice
¼cup(60 mL) Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tablespoonorganic cane sugar or brown sugar
1teaspoonkosher saltplus more to taste
Lots of black pepper
Simply Nature 100% Avocado Oil
Drain the tofu. Slice the tofu crosswise into ⅓-inch slabs, about 8 to 11 slices per block. Arrange on a paper towel-lined cutting board and add a few paper towels on top. Weight with a heavy cookbook or cast-iron skillet. Press for 15 minutes to remove excess water.
Make the marinade: To a blender or food processor, add the cilantro, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, cumin, salt, and black pepper to taste. Blend until relatively smooth. Season to taste with more salt and pepper needed. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the marinade.
Transfer tofu slabs to a shallow dish or pan and pour the rest of the marinade on top, using a pastry brush to evenly coat the tofu. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature, or up to 1 hour in the fridge.
Prepare the grill. Preheat a gas grill (between medium and medium-high) with the lid on for at least 10 minutes to get the grates really hot. Scrub down with a heavy-duty grill brush to remove any gunk or drippings. Set a small bowl with a few tablespoons of oil near the grill and oil up a wad of paper towels in the oil. Use a set of tongs to rub the preheated grill grates with the oil-soaked towels. Let the oil smoke for 40 seconds or so, then rub with oil again. Repeat three to four times total to build up a good layer of seasoning.
Immediately before or as soon as you add the tofu, turn the burners directly under the tofu to low heat and close the lid. Grill the tofu for 8 to 10 minutes, until nice grill marks form. Using a pair of tongs and/or a thin metal spatula, carefully flip each tofu slab and grill for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Once the tofu is grilled, brush it with the reserved marinade.