4 Ways to Cook Tofu, Plus How to Prep It for Babies

If you don't have a soy allergy, adding tofu to your weekly meal plan can help you get more plant protein and fiber.
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Cooking tofu can be a mystery for many, but it does not have to be difficult.

Tofu is a rich source of nutrients, such as calcium, fiber and protein. By learning to cook tofu, you can use it to replace high-calorie, high-saturated fat and high-cholesterol foods (like red meat) in some of your meals.

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When cooking tofu, it is important to remember that it is flavorless and will take on the flavor of what you cook it with. The best way to cook tofu depends on your taste preferences, so try these popular methods to get started.

How to Cook Tofu

1. Scramble It

Tofu can be made into a vegetable-infused scramble and eaten as a substitute for scrambled eggs. This is a cholesterol-free, high-protein and high-fiber way to enjoy tofu.

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Here's how to scramble tofu:

  1. Dice up 3 or 4 cups of your favorite vegetables, such as onions, peppers, tomatoes, squash and broccoli, and place them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Then, drain and crumble a block of firm or extra-firm tofu.
  3. Add the crumbled tofu to the frying pan and mix it in with the vegetables.
  4. To add flavor, mix in a small amount of vegetable bouillon with water. Add the bouillon to taste and allow the scramble to cook down until you achieve an egg scramble-like consistency. This may take close to 20 minutes.

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2. Grill It

Tofu is a low-fat and cholesterol-free grilling option that can be used in place of hotdogs and hamburgers.

Here's how to grill tofu:

  1. Slice a block of extra-firm tofu into 1 to 2-inch thick pieces.
  2. Cover the tofu slices with your favorite marinade or seasonings such as barbecue sauce, olive oil and Cajun seasonings, or garlic.
  3. Let the tofu sit in your flavoring for an hour or two. The longer you allow the tofu to soak up the seasoning, the stronger the flavor will be.
  4. Once marinated, place the tofu slices evenly on the heated grill.
  5. Grill on both sides for a couple of minutes.
  6. Remove from the grill and serve over rice, alone, or on a sandwich.

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3. Fry It

Pan-fried tofu is an easily made dish that can add great variety to your diet. Tofu soaks up flavor like a sponge and is best when marinated or dipped in sauce. And coating tofu slices in a small amount of cornstarch before cooking can help it become crispy. Here's how to do it:

  1. Slice a cube of extra-firm tofu into thin cubes or slices, depending on how you want to end on how you intend to use it (such as in a stir-fry or on a sandwich).
  2. Eliminate the extra water from the tofu by placing the slices between several paper towels.
  3. Then, place a heavy pan, weighing about 10 pounds, on top and let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes. This helps remove the excess water.
  4. Once the water is removed, cover each side of the tofu in a thin coating of cornstarch and place it in a heated frying pan.
  5. Fry until the tofu becomes crispy and slightly brown.

4. Bake It

You can also bake tofu slices to use on salads or serve as a simple snack. Here's how to bake tofu:

  1. Drain a cube of extra firm tofu and slice it into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. Eliminate the extra water from the tofu by placing the slices between several paper towels.
  3. Then, place a heavy pan, weighing about 10 pounds, on top and let the tofu sit for at least 15 minutes. This helps remove the excess water.
  4. Flavor the tofu by placing it in a bowl with your favorite seasonings such as soy sauce, chili paste or sweet and sour sauce.
  5. Allow the tofu to soak up the seasonings for about 30 minutes.
  6. Place the tofu slices evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and put the pan in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
  7. Let the tofu bake for 25 to 50 minutes.
  8. Flip the tofu every 15 minutes to make sure that both sides are thoroughly cooked.

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How to Cook Tofu for Babies

Tofu is a soy product and should not be given to babies with a soy allergy. For babies without a soy allergy, tofu makes a good finger food because you can dice it small and it is soft and easy to chew.

Here are a few ideas on how to prepare tofu for a baby:

  • Try giving your baby plain tofu.​ Some babies will like the simple flavors of tofu and you can dice it up and serve it as a snack or appetizer.
  • Roll the tofu in crushed cereal.​ You can crush up some Cheerios and coat small tofu chunks with it and give it to your baby as a snack. Graham crackers or wheat germ works as well.
  • Blend it into a smoothie.​ Add silken tofu, juice and fruit to the blender and whip it into a smoothie. You can serve this through a straw for older babies or feed it to them with a spoon if they can't drink through a straw yet. This is a good way to let a baby practice self-feeding.
  • Use tofu as a meat alternative.​ You can add it to soups or mash it with baby cereal to make a tofu burger. You can mix in shredded vegetables and create a well-rounded meal for your baby. Add chopped tofu to pasta sauce as an alternative to sausage or ground beef.
  • Mix with dips.​ Stir some tofu into hummus, cottage cheese or avocado and serve it with soft vegetables or crackers to dip into it as a mini-meal or snack.

Warning

If you notice any symptoms of an allergy, including rash or breathing difficulties, after your child eats tofu, they may have an allergy and you should seek medical attention right away.

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