5 High Protein Tofu Recipes You’ll Love (Even If You Don’t Like Tofu)

Inevitably when someone hears you’re a vegan (or vegetarian) they ask, “But where do you get your protein?!” My response? “Plenty of places!” and begin my list: tofu, seitan, beans, lentils, nuts, tempeh, edamame, hummus, quinoa… and somewhere down the line they’ll nod in agreement. See, it’s not so bad being meat-free!

If you’re considering trying a vegan lifestyle or just want to try something new after your next workout class, give tofu a chance. Depending on how it’s prepared, it can actually be a tasty, easy alternative to the usual chicken, beef or pork you usually go for. From my collection of recipes to your kitchen, here are some of my favorite takes on protein-packed tofu recipes:

Balsamic Glazed Tofu

by The Vegan Foodie

Ingredients:

Serves – 2

  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon agave nectar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed
  • A pinch of thyme, oregano, rosemary and marjoram

How to make it:

  1. After pressing the tofu, slice up the block and marinade. You can slice the tofu anyway you like, I prefer slabs. Let it sit for at least an hour and then grill.
  2. Preheat a large pan to medium-high heat and add in the marinade. Bring it to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Then place the tofu on the pan and cook about 3-4 minutes per side.

Mango BBQ Beans

by Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Ingredients:

Serves – 2

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 mango, seeded and chopped small
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or ¼ teaspoon if you want it less spicy
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 (25-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar

How to make it:

  1. Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the broth with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and kidney beans. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.
  3. Turn off the heat, mix in the agave and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Adjust the salt and seasonings, taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed, and serve. I like to serve over quinoa or brown rice, but they’re good just the way they are too!

Red Rice Salad with Crispy Tofu

by Chef Melissa King and House Foods’ #tofurevolution

Ingredients:

Serves – 4

  • 2 cup of raw red rice, boiled in salted water until tender, strain
  • 1 package – organic extra firm tofu, drain well, medium diced
  • 2 ears – corn kernels, char the corn on the grill until there is color, cut kernels off and chill (discard cobs)
  • ½ cup – cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup – kidney beans, canned, drain and rinse well
  • ½ cup – English cucumbers, remove seeds, small diced
  • ½ cup – radishes, small diced (or sliced on mandolin)
  • ½ each – red onion, slice thinly or diced
  • ¼ cup – Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup – basil leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup – mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup – potato starch
  • ½ cup – rice flour
  • ½ cup – cornstarch

Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup – canola oil
  • 1 cup – red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup – extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – small shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

How to make it:

  1. To make the vinaigrette, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot of water (no salt). Once boiling, add the red rice. After 15 to 20 minutes the grains will start to split, at this point you can add salt to the water to flavor the rice, and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse very well, and cool the rice for later use.
  3. Mix potato starch, rice flour, and cornstarch together. Lightly dust the tofu dices in the flour, and shake off excess. Heat a pan with canola oil. When it is hot, add the tofu and crisp on one side until golden brown. Then turn and crisp on the other side, until all sides are golden brown. Remove from pan, onto a paper towel, and salt immediately.
  4. Get a large mixing bowl, add cooked red rice, grilled corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, radishes, kidney beans, parsley, basil, mint, and enough dressing to absorb well into the rice. Season with additional salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure it’s has an even amount of acid and brightness from the vinaigrette and fresh herbs. Garnish with additional chopped basil and parsley if needed. Refrigerate until needed. To serve, top with crispy tofu and serve immediately.

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

by Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Ingredients:

Serves – 4

  • 8 ounces whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup grilled eggplant, yellow squash and mushrooms (my optional add in)

Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta

  • 1 medium-size head cauliflower (11/2 to 2 pounds), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Red Sauce

  • One (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to make it:

  1. First, we’ll roast the cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; that way the cauliflower won’t stick. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle the oil over it. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss it with your hands to make sure everything is salted. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes, then flip it with a spatula. (You don’t have to flip each and every one, so don’t get OCD about it.) Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned, tender, and toasty.
  2. In the meantime, crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mash the tofu, squeezing it between your fingers, until it has the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, pepper, and remaining salt. Use a fork to mix well.
  3. When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to the mixing bowl with the tofu mixture. Use a potato masher to mash it really well, for a minute or so. If it doesn’t seem to be mashing enough with the potato masher, a few pulses in the food processor should get it nice and crumbly. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the sauce, mix all its ingredients together and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour a thin layer of red sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square casserole. Line with a layer of noodles. Spread with one-third of the cauliflower ricotta. Layer with 3/4 cup of spinach leaves. Layer with half your grilled veggies. Pour on about a cup of sauce.
  6. Repeat the process one more time, creating another identical layer, starting with the noodles. For the top layer it’s just a little different: Layer with noodles, pour the sauce on first, then layer with ricotta. This layer doesn’t get any spinach or veggies.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is browned. You can serve it immediately or let it cool down for a bit first, whatever floats your boat!

Everything in a Pot

by my Dad

Ingredients:

Serves – 4

  • A good sized onion
  • A red bell pepper
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or none depending on your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 carton vegetable stock
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup loosely packed and roughly chopped Kale (just the leaf, not the stem)
  • 1 4oz package of mushrooms
  • 1 4oz package of shitake mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cans beans (pinot, kidney, cannellini or black or one can of two types)
  • Lemon or soy sauce

How to make it:

  1. Chop the onion, red bell pepper and celery and put in a large pot with about 2 Tablespoons of the vegetable stock. Cook on a medium high heat for about 5 minutes.
  2.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the spices (red pepper flakes, paprika, turmeric and ground pepper) stir into the vegetables and cook for about 1 minute.  
  3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes. Rinse the inside of the can with some of the vegetable stock to get the tomatoes that stick to the side and add to the pot along with the rest of the vegetable stock.
  4.  Bring to a slow boil and then add the quinoa and Kale. Cook for 11 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms. Cook for another 6 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and broccoli. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes after the pot returns to a slow boil. Drain, rinse and add the beans. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. I then add an excessive amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice, or soy sauce is a good option as well.

Photo Credit: NY Times

Anne Terry is a political junkie turned communications extraordinaire with a mild workout habit. She’s a cheese-loving vegan and the founder of Poochie Puppers, which sells hipster clothes for dogs. As the lifecycle marketing manager at ClassPass, a little piece of Anne's soul dies when you unsubscribe from our newsletter.