When meat-eaters hear the word tofu, many think, “Tof-ewww.” (See what I did there? I crack myself up.) But come on, guys! Even the meat-loving chain Chipotle is embracing the protein-packed soy-product—so it’s probably about time you jump on board.
I'll be the first to admit it, tofu does not look so good (or taste very good) straight out of the package. In fact, it tastes like nothing—absolutely nothing. But this super bland initial taste is exactly what makes tofu so great; it doesn't have its own flavor so it easily absorbs any flavor of your choosing. In a soy-saucy mood? No problem. More in the mood for pesto? Well, tofu tastes great in that, too. It is, arguably, the most versatile food product in existence. (Can you tell how much I love tofu?)
The inexpensive product, available in pretty much every grocery store, tends to be a staple in vegetarian diets. But there's no reason meat-eaters shouldn't embrace it as well. In fact, tofu provides good doses of iron and calcium and is low in calories to boot. Now, that's something you definitely can't say about a piece of steak.
Here are a few recipes to get the ball rolling on your tofu obsession. And, if you're already a tofu-lover, these should be right up your alley.
Grilled Tofu Tacos
Via Love and Lemons
These vegan and gluten-free fish-inspired tacos are a light and refreshing dish fit for the last cookout of the year. (Because, let's be honest with ourselves, soon it's going to be a bit too chilly to grill-out.) These tasty tacos are topped off with a red cabbage slaw and an avocado cashew "cream" sauce. If those toppings don't float your boat, feel free to mix it up: Try a mango and poblano salsa or an avocado pico de gallo.
Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy
Via Real Simple
This Asian-inspired dish, with soy sauce-marinated tofu steaks served over sautéed bok choy, is sure to satisfy even the most die-hard meat lovers. Bonus: You only have to spend 20 minutes in the kitchen!
Chili con Tofu
Via Food and Wine
Confession: This is a dish that I've been making at least once a week for the past three years, and I have yet to get sick of it. Seriously, it's that good. Plus, all of the ingredients are things that you've probably already got in your fridge or pantry: tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, beans. Also, this dish is a great, inexpensive way to please a crowd. So if you've been freaking out about how you're going to feed the hoards of relatives visiting over the holidays, you can stop now.
The TLT (Tofu, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich)
Via Eating Well
This clever play on the the deli-favorite switches out the artery-clogging bacon for the more heart-healthy mustard-and-soy-dusted baked tofu. Topped off with a creamy adobo mayonnaise (or Veganaise, if you prefer a dairy-free version), this sandwich is sure to become a lunchbox staple.
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup
Via All Recipes
The temperature is dropping and once winter comes along, there is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. This vegan take on the Chinese restaurant staple is sure to warm you up and fill you up. Packed with tofu and mushrooms, this would be a great lunch dish or a nice light dinner. You could even throw in some vitamin-packed seaweed to add a little extra oomph.
Via Martha Stewart
This might be the easiest dinner you've ever made. Seriously. All you have to do is marinate the sliced tofu in your favorite barbecue sauce (I've been totally obsessed with Rockland's Chipotle Hot Sauce lately), and then broil it for about ten minutes. SO easy, right? You can pair this with quinoa for a protein-packed dinner or go the more traditional route, serving your BBQ tofu alongside some grilled corn and mac n' cheese. Yum!
Tofu Tikka Masala
Via Spicy Treats
The smell of Indian food alone is enough to make me cook it every night. Like, if Diptyque made a candle called "Your Favorite Indian Restaurant," I would own it, and I would burn it all day, every day. But enough about the smell. This tomato-based tikka masala made with tofu and veggies strikes the perfect balance of spicy and creamy. Not only is it the perfect cold-weather comfort-food, it also makes for great leftovers.