Tofu is a low calorie, high protein and mineral dense food. It’s one way to tackle those Meatless Mondays my clients are leaning into more these days, but most of us are unfamiliar with how to manipulate an appealing texture form the insipid gelatinous bean curd, or how to infuse it with flavor. Here are some of my favorite tips.

Crispy Ginger Turkey Lettuce Wraps – texture and flavor infusion are key to great tofu

I will not usually do sponsored posts, but when I ran across the TofuXpress  by chance – I had to have one (and now wish I’d asked for ten). Since I do spend a gazillion unpaid hours writing this blog, I thought why not enjoy a perk for a change? I contacted the company, and voila, within a week I was taking this groovy device for a test run. After all, if it turned out to be a flop, I just wouldn’t write about it. FINALLY, a kitchen tool that solves the most annoying problem I find when cooking with firm tofu – draining the tofu evenly and completely!

Taking TofuXpress for a test run

How many times has my tofu fallen to bits, or released liquid that watered down the flavors of my marinade or sauces? TofuXpress gets the liquid out without going through an entire roll of paper towels, then ending up with an uneven mess. You just put the tofu in the body of the device, place the top half over and push down on the spring while turning the handle to lock it in place, then store in the refrigerator. Most of the liquid is

Snap on lid, and store in fridge overnight

expressed within an hour, but I like to leave it in there overnight for a more porous texture that has a meatier mouth feel, and soaks up marinades more successfully. My one and only tiny criticism is you need to remove the press carefully, keeping it level, or the excess liquid will spill. I of course learned this the hard way.

Since texture plays a huge role in why people dislike tofu, another technique I employ is freezing the tofu in the liquid it was packaged in. Then I defrost it overnight in the fridge, drain thoroughly, and crumble it for a ground meat like texture. You’d be surprised how easily your staunch meat lovers will gobble up my Crispy Ginger Tofu Wraps (photo above) without an ounce of protest!

Marinating my pineapple teriyaki grilled tofu

Marinating is key to infusing flavor, and I love how I can do this in the same device without dirtying another dish. I just added the drained tofu back to the container, poured in my pineapple teriyaki sauce, and covered with marinating lid that was conveniently stored on the bottom of the press, and returned it to the refrigerator.

I use it to drain spinach for my Creamy Gruyere Spinach & Artichoke Casserole too

By the way, the TofuXpress is really handy draining liquid from spinach, and eggplant too (previously another pet peeve of mine), so it is an already compact kitchen tool worth finding space for! Just to prove how much I’m enjoying my TofuXpress, here’s another delicious tofu recipe from a recent weekly menu plan. If you’d like to try all of the recipes in this post please do join the Personal Chef Approach™ here. Do you have some cooking with tofu questions, or tips to share? I’d love to hear, so don’t forget to click “comment” below!

BBQ Baked Tofu

This is actually a really flavorful tofu recipe that even those staunch meat eaters in your household will probably like, but of course you could use the same recipe for barbecue chicken or pork by simply adjusting the cook time accordingly. I suggest doing half (tofu) and half, so they can at least try a bite. It might sway them to stick with the low in fat, high in protein and calcium tofu next time.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the barbecue sauce:

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tofu:

Cooking spray
2 12 ounce packages firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2” thick, quartered slices
1 cup barbecue sauce

Directions:

1). In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the onions, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and chili powder; when the vegetables are coated with the spices, add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes; set aside and let cool.

2). Pour barbecue sauce into a large bowl, add tofu and gently toss to coat evenly with sauce. Let the tofu marinate in the barbecue sauce for at least 1 hour.

3). Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

4). Reserving the barbecues sauce, place tofu evenly on prepared baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn and baste tofu with remaining barbecue sauce and bake for another 20 minutes, or until tofu is browned around the edges.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve hot with green bean & corn salad.

 

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  • September 14, 2012
    9:17 am

    ohhh SNAP! This is BRILLIANT! I never get the draining right and it’s so messy too. Simple ideas are the best

    • September 15, 2012
      10:17 am

      It works miracles with tofu, but I like that it works on spinach too, since the spinach and artichoke casserole is requested by clients all the time (and again, I hate the mess of trying to squeeze liquid out of the spinach).

  • September 14, 2012
    1:11 pm

    I use the freezing method for tofu and find this is great when I find it on sale and can buy extra. Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to tofu, but now that I use the freezer method, it does soak up more flavour, have better texture and I am loving this in lettuce wraps. Hoping to pick up some tofu this weekend. This is one food that I don’t need to pack in meal sized portions as I use it up over the course of three days at most for lunch time meals.

    • September 15, 2012
      10:21 am

      Yes, I think those crispy ginger tofu lettuce wraps are still my favorite tofu recipe too – but try to think outside the Asian box a bit too. You can use that same method with just about any ground meat recipe, so try lasagnas, sloppy Joes etc. as well.

  • September 14, 2012
    2:08 pm

    Jewels’ BBQ sauce makes everything better.

    And now that there’s a better way to drain the stubborn tofu, I’m a very happy camper!

  • September 14, 2012
    12:05 pm

    I can never get my tofu to absorb the flavors I want due to the darn moisture. This is great! I also can’t wait to try the BBQ sauce recipe!

    • September 15, 2012
      10:18 am

      I know, that was my biggest obstacle when I first started cooking with tofu, an ingredient I personally disliked, but once you get that pesky liquid out of the way – it becomes a whole new ingredient that can be made so tasty!

  • September 15, 2012
    10:22 am

    I use tofu much more often for myself now that I have the TofuXpress.