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Though many vegetarians eat tofu as a healthy alternative protein source to meat, many delicious dishes can be made with tofu that appeal to vegetarians and carnivores alike. From fried tofu in curry sauce to hot and sour soup, tofu goes great in a variety of healthy and delicious dishes for both the strict vegetarian and the hardcore meat eater.
Because tofu has little taste of its own, it will take on the flavors of whatever it is cooked with. Therefore tofu can go in a wide variety of different dishes that are cooked to accomplish different flavors. For example, stir-fried vegetables go great with tofu, and the finished product takes little time to cook. Simply steam your favorite vegetables -- carrots, broccoli, snow peas, bamboo, and peppers are good options -- then saute the tofu in sesame oil and a touch of soy sauce. Then add the steamed veggies, lightly stir fry with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, and enjoy. Add noodles or white rice for a heartier meal.
Making dishes with tofu is a great way to replace the protein you would normally get with meat. Because tofu has enough protein to be a meat substitute, you can add tofu to most dishes in which you would normally add meat. Try a tofu Caesar salad rather than the typical chicken version; or, make ravioli stuffed with tofu and cheese rather than beef.
Tofu goes well with soups, too. Even a simple dish like ramen noodles can be made into a hearty lunch by adding tofu to the already easy-to-make dish. Or, try noodle soup with tofu rather than chicken. Many Japanese dishes, such as miso soup, are based around the addition of tofu, and with the right ingredients, can be made quickly and easily.
Another great way to incorporate tofu into your meals is in your side dishes, such as rice and rice pilaf, or mixed with beans and rice. Try steaming asparagus in lemon juice, salt and pepper, then add cubed tofu either fresh or sauteed. Indeed, tofu can be the centerpiece of a meal or a simple side.
Even your favorite foods come with tofu alternatives now. Try a tofu hot dog, or a tofu hamburger and you'll find the same taste and texture you know and love from backyard barbecues, except without the high fat content and cholesterol. Making pasta for dinner? try tofu meatballs instead of beef. They taste similar and the texture comes extremely close.
If you are looking for some tofu recipes you might want to consider using tofu in desserts. They usually call for silken tofu which is the softer kind of tofu, rather than firm tofu.
People use tofu pretty much as a replacement for milk or cream or cream cheese in dessert recipes and you can just blend it with bananas and cocoa and sugar, for example to make a pudding.
But, some people don't like the taste of tofu used like this, so be careful about making a big recipe unless you know you're going to like it.
I quite like tofu now but it took me a while to discover that, because I don't like it at all when it has been soaked in something.
I really didn't like it when I got tofu in soup or even in a really greasy tofu stir fry when it has been sitting too long. It always seemed like of like eating a sponge, and the texture didn't seem to go with the vegetables and meats that were also in the meal.
But, then one of my friends made me some freshly fried tofu and I realized that preparation is everything. So if you don't think you like tofu, you might want to try it again. It might not be the ingredient, but the cooking method that you don't enjoy.
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