Although it may be one of the stranger looking foods around, tofu provides a number of essential nutrients and can make a versatile addition to any diet. It is high in B vitamins and protein, low in fat and may help lower your cholesterol levels. You can fit tofu into any meal once you become familiar with the different types and their uses.
Breakfast dishes using tofu include smoothies made with silken tofu, fruit and milk or fruit juice and scrambles made with or without eggs that combine vegetables and seasonings with soft tofu. You can eat these scrambles alone or put them in a whole-grain tortilla with sliced avocado and salsa to make a breakfast burrito. Season your scramble with cumin, coriander and turmeric for an Indian flavor or try a mix of garlic, soy sauce and crushed red pepper.
Next time you have a soup or salad for lunch, consider making it with tofu. Marinate cubed firm or extra-firm tofu for at least an hour in your favorite marinade and then saute it and use it to add protein to your favorite salad. Asian inspired marinades using teriyaki or soy sauce work well, but so do herb marinades like those made with a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, thyme, basil and paprika. You can use pureed silken tofu to make soups creamier or blend it with seasonings to make a creamy salad dressing. Replace the eggs and oil with tofu in your favorite Caesar salad dressing recipe, or mix the tofu with lemon juice, garlic, dill, parsley and Italian seasoning for a ranch dressing.
Stir-fry cubed and marinated extra-firm tofu along with vegetables for a filling and nutritious dinner, or grill a slice of marinated firm tofu a few minutes on each side to take the place of the meat in your meal. You can bread tofu, saute it and top it with tomato sauce and cheese for a vegetarian version of chicken Parmesan, or mix tofu with walnuts, onions, breadcrumbs, egg and spices to make a substitute for meatballs to serve with spaghetti and your favorite pasta sauce.
Mix silken tofu with water, chocolate, sugar and vanilla to form a chocolate mousse; puree it with pumpkin and spices and bake in pie crust to make a vegan pumpkin pie; or use it to replace some of the cream cheese in a cheesecake. You can also blend honey or maple syrup with fruit and silken tofu and use the resulting mix to make a parfait with low-fat granola and fresh fruit for another nutritious dessert option.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.