Every vegan food blogger probably has at least one post on Tofu recipes. Say what you want, but tofu is a staple in the vegan community. A mild tasting fermented block, it is a versatile protein source for recipes.
Tofu seems to have a lot of myths around it, and whether or not it should be consumed. Who could forget that classic rumor of men getting Tofu Titties and how soy products increase your estrogen levels, causing your hormones to go out of wack. Tofu does contain very weak levels of plant-based estrogen called phytoestrogens, but research has shown no changes to hormone levels. In fact, studies have shown men who consume tofu actually have a lower risk of prostate cancer (source). And if you’re still worried about estrogen in your food, well maybe lay off the animal products, because those definitely have it.
There is also a popular debate on if soy products interfere with proper thyroid function. The thyroid is an important gland for helping with metabolism. This myth was first brought up in the 1960s, and since then, multiple studies have disproven the supposed link between soy products and thyroid control (source). If you are concerned about your thyroid, make sure to get your recommended daily amount of Iodine, which is the number one nutrient in the production of thyroid.
The last big tofu dilemma is that all tofu is GMO. Okay, I’m actually still surprised at this one because with all of the Organic options that are available out there, there are plenty of non GMO tofus to choose. Heck, even Costco carries organic tofu.
Myths aside, somethings to consider when consuming tofu is the type of tofu and how to properly prepare it. There are two main types of tofu: silken and firm. Firm tofu is most common in dishes, as it is easy to marinate, fry, grill, and bake. Silken has more of a creamy texture, and is used more in smoothies, desserts, and dips.
While it is a bland looking plant-based protein block, there is an actual art to preparing tofu. The key to properly using tofu is to drain the excess water from it. Draining the tofu helps in absorb the flavors of whatever recipe you prepare. This can be done with paper towels and putting a semi-heavy object (such as a cookbook) on top of the tofu and having the paper towels absorb the water for about 15-20 minutes. There are even tofu-presses which I personally feel are a must-have for any tofu lover.
When I first had tofu, I hated it. The texture was unusual and I found it bland tasting. Well for one, I had not prepared my tofu properly, so yea, it lacked flavor. The texture aspect took a while to overcome, considering I was a meat eater at the time when I first had tofu. But the more I ate tofu, the more I discovered how great it really is. It’s not just something to add to Asian dishes. Tofu can transform into any cuisine or meal type. Don’t believe me? Here are 50 ways to eat tofu. Trust me, they’re soy good 😉
Sandwiches, Burgers, & Tacos