Also known as soybean curd, Tofu is a nutritious meat substitute with a cheese-like texture. Its incredible versatility and its numerous health benefits make this ingredient an important pillar of the vegan diet. Not a big fan of this bland food? Maybe you haven’t prepared it well!
Read 9 awesome tofu-facts and learn how to make this food freaking delicious.
1. IT’S A BEAN JUICE (WHAT?!)
Tofu is made of bean curds. Similar to the process of making cheese, Tofu is made from cooking soybeans into a kind of ‘soy juice’ and then adding Nigari (magnesium chloride for all you chemists out there). Nigari acts as a coagulant and produces curds that are pressed into the soft white blocks of tofu that you see in the supermarket.
2. IT’S A 2,000 YEARS OLD MAN
Tofu it’s a pretty old food, first developed in China around 200 B.C. It is thought that very early Buddhist monks ate tofu as part of their strict vegetarian diets.
3. DESSERT ANYONE?!
Yes, use it to create delicious desserts. There are different varieties of tofu. Where the firm and extra-firm ones are more meat-like in texture and great for stir-fries, silken medium and soft tofu are very creamy, perfect to make flavourful sweet delights. Try it in chocolate puddings, pumpkin pies, cheesecakes and why not, also in smoothies!
4. IT’S A CHAMELEON
Tofu is a truly culinary chameleon. Thanks to his very bland nature, it goes with everything and takes on any flavour you cook it with. So get creative with it! Just make sure to press all the water out of the block, and make more room for flavour to get in.
5. FROZEN TOFU IS A DELICACY
Frozen tofu is a delicacy! It’s called Thousand Layer Tofu because when it is frozen, the large ice crystals that develop within the tofu result in the formation of large cavities that appear to be layered. Have leftover tofu? Freeze it and it will become more textured than fresh tofu and it will hold more flavour.
6. CUT BAD FAT & CHOLESTEROL
Tofu trumps other sources of protein in terms of fat and cholesterol content. A 4 oz serving of ground pork contains 24g fat, 9g saturated fat, 105 mg of cholesterol. The same serving of lean ground beef – 17g of fat, 7g saturated fat, and 100 mg of cholesterol. Tofu contains only 6g of fat, no saturated fat, and zero cholesterol. Who’s the winner?
7. AWESOME NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Tofu’s nutritional breakdown in one word? Awesome.
One half-cup of tofu contains:
- 10 grammes of protein (the equivalent of about half a chicken breast)
- 25% of calcium RDI
- 11% of iron RDI
- 5 grammes of fat
- high levels of phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and selenium
8. ALL ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS (YES, ALL OF THEM!)
Tofu contains all of the essential amino acids. This makes it unique among plant proteins. There are 20 common amino acids and 8 to 10 of these are essential amino acids, meaning our bodies cannot make them, so we have to get them from our diet. Soybeans, and consequently tofu, contain all of the essential amino acids making it the only complete plant protein.
9. INFINITE HEALTH BENEFITS
Tofu has amazing health benefits. Adding a moderate amount of tofu to your diet can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, lower cholesterol, reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease (CD), heal hot flashes (yes, hot flashes), and prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries – not a good thing).
Although avoid tofu if you have kidney and gallbladder stones. Even if it doesn’t cause these conditions, it doesn’t help if they are already there. In fact, the oxalates found in soya products tend to concentrate in the fluids of the body and form crystals, which cause further problems for existing stones.
So now grab some tofu and start making some serious dishes. Need some cooking inspo? Check out our delicious recipes!