By Denise Cavassa, CMA
Prep Time: 10minutes; Cook Time: 20-25 minutes; Serving Size: ¾ cup (3 oz.); Makes 4 servings
Tofu is made from soybean curds and provides all of the essential amino acids needed in your diet, making it a “complete protein.” It is low calorie, gluten-free, has no cholesterol, is high in healthy polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid), and is also an excellent source of iron and calcium. Tofu is almost the perfect food, providing daily recommended amounts of 44% of calcium, 40% of iron, 9% of magnesium, and small amounts of vitamin K, folate, choline, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus. A ½ cup serving of tofu contains 94 calories, 5 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 2 grams of carbohydrate.
Tofu can be purchased in a variety of textures from soft (silken) to extra firm which makes it ideal as a meat substitute for just about every kind of meal. The problem is that it has no flavor!
I provide my tried and trusted true recipe for a basic tofu seasoning that will make it the perfect ingredient in any meal. Aside from being absolutely delicious and using unadulterated ingredients, this recipe can be adapted to season tofu however you like to keep healthy, fully digestible meals interesting and something to look forward to! Best of all, it’s a one-pot, quick and easy recipe with extremely easy clean-up!
I highly recommend using ingredients that are organic and/or have no chemical additives.
- 1 12oz package of Extra Firm Tofu
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ medium red onion cut as desired (sliced, chopped, cubed) *
- ¼ cup A1 steak sauce (or equivalent)
- ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ tbsp onion powder
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp Tabasco Sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning: ½ in mixture and sprinkle other ½ while cooking
- ¼ – ½ tsp dried parsley to taste while cooking – add 2nd pour
- No salt is needed because the flavor and ingredients of both the A1 and Worcestershire sauces are salty.
- All seasoning amounts are suggestions and I highly encourage you to season to taste. Add other ingredients for different flavors for your tofu (see Tips & Suggestions).
- Tofu is porous so always purchase in sealed packages to avoid contamination. Be certain to check the sell-by date. Store tofu in the refrigerator.
* Red onion may be substituted for any onion of choice. This recipe also works nicely with scallions.
1) Rinse Tofu and cut it into cubes.
a) I find it easier to cut length-wise and then, width-wise into cubes. I also recommend cutting tofu into smaller cubes for even cooking.
2) Mix seasonings in a measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring and stir.
3) In a medium frying pan or wok, sauté onions in the olive oil on a medium flame until translucent. Sprinkle ¼ tsp of poultry seasoning into oil, stir, and let simmer for approximately 1 minute.
4) Pour in ½ liquid (“1st pour”), stir, and bring to a light boil. Turn down to a medium flame immediately and add tofu, stir. Tofu should be covered with liquid. Cover pot with a lid on a medium flame and let simmer.
a) It is important to completely cover the tofu with the seasoning mix on the first pour so that even absorption can occur for all tofu cubes. You’re going for a stew type of consistency (versus a soup).
b) If you discover that you use more than half of your seasoning mix, just make a little more.
5) Let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. When liquid is half-way evaporated, stir tofu, cover, let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
a) I recommend not removing the lid too often so that the liquid can steam as well as simmer into the tofu.
6) When liquid is barely visible in the bottom of the pan, tofu will be covered with a soft glaze. Sprinkle remaining poultry seasoning and parsley and stir. Add remaining liquid, cover, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
7) Repeat step 4.
8) When liquid is barely visible in the bottom of the pan, reduce flame, stir and let the glaze thicken a bit by leaving the tofu uncovered for 2-5 minutes so that the mixture becomes a slightly crisp glaze but does not stick in the pan.
a) Tip: you can turn out flame and let tofu sit in the pan to let the glaze harden a bit more.
b) Desired texture: a light crust from the glaze will give a slightly crunchy texture to the tofu on one or two sides, depending on how much you stirred during the final process.
9) Serve as desired. This recipe makes a scrumptious tofu that can be enjoyed without additional sauces or seasonings.
Tips & Serving Suggestions
- The first time you make this recipe, I recommend babysitting the tofu to understand the timing, as it is easy to burn it.
- Instead of water, you can use vegetable stock or soup (e.g., vegetarian lentil, onion, split pea, tomato, etc.)
- Other seasoning suggestions: sesame oil drizzle; Tabasco (¼ tsp added to liquid mixture); curry; cumin; cilantro; liquid smoke; let your imagination run wild!
- Serve with everything: pasta, potatoes, rice, noodles, vegetables, bread, salad, etc.! This recipe is delicious hot or cold.
- If you make a little extra seasoning mix (approximately ¼ cup), you can pour it into the pan after you remove the tofu to season rice, pasta, vegetables, etc.
- I often make a double batch (double the recipe) and freeze half of the tofu for later enjoyment. Freeze in an air-tight, plastic, freezer bag and you can do a quick thaw in warm water.