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  • Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Jun 26, 2024

What Does Tofu Taste Like?

Tofu is one of the most versatile and staple foods in a vegan diet. It can be used in a variety of dishes and enjoyed at any meal of the day. But what does tofu taste like?

For those who might not be familiar with tofu, especially if you are new to a vegan lifestyle, here is everything you need to know about its taste, brought to you by our vegan nutritionist.

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What is tofu?

Tofu is made from condensed soy milk that has been pressed into solid blocks. It is one of the biggest staple ingredients in numerous vegan and vegetarian diets due to its versatility.

You can do so much with tofu because its mild taste allows you to flavor it any way you like. It is one of the best plant-based protein sources, thanks to its high protein content.

It is typically used in:

  • Stir-fries
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • As meat substitute in numerous dishes

What does tofu taste like?

Tofu has a rather neutral taste. It is very mild and subtle when raw, which is why it is often used as a base ingredient that takes on the flavors of the other ingredients it is combined with.

While it may have a slight nutty or bean-like flavor, this is extremely subtle and not overpowering. The taste of tofu is highly adaptable, allowing you to personalize it to suit your own preferences and taste profile.

What is tofu’s texture?

The texture of tofu depends on the type of tofu you are using and the method of preparation. It can range from very silky and smooth to firm and chewy. 

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What does tofu look like?

Tofu typically comes in a rectangular block shape and has a creamy white to pale yellow color, depending on the type of soybeans used and any additional ingredients added during processing.

It looks slightly spongy, especially the very firm varieties where you can see the curds.

You can cut tofu in whichever way you like. Typically, people cut it into 1-inch cubes, but it can also be sliced into thin or thick rectangular strips, depending on the dish.

Tofu forms

Tofu can be bought in a variety of forms. Its firmness depends on its water content: the more water it contains, the smoother it is; the less water it contains, the firmer it becomes.

The form includes:

  • Silken tofu
  • Soft tofu
  • Medium tofu
  • Firm tofu
  • Extra-firm tofu

Silken tofu

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This is an extremely soft and smooth type of tofu, with a texture very similar to fresh cheese like bocconcini.

Unlike other forms of tofu, it has not been pressed, so curds are not formed, making it very smooth and silky.

It is typically used in smoothies, soups, desserts, and dressings, where it adds a source of protein and creaminess.

Soft tofu

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This type of tofu is slightly firmer than silken tofu but still has a very smooth texture, although it is made slightly differently.

Unlike silken tofu, which is only coagulated, this tofu is both coagulated and curdled when the soy milk is cooked.

It is commonly used for soups, stews, and blended dishes.

Medium tofu

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This type of tofu is much firmer than the previous two. It holds its shape better and has less water content. It will crack when handled, making it ideal for dishes that don’t require a lot of manipulation.

Since it holds its shape but may crumble, it is perfect for foods that are boiled or braised, or for scrambles.

Firm tofu

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This type of tofu is an even firmer and denser form of tofu. The block is quite tight with the curds being tight and visible.

It is able to hold its shape a lot more which makes it perfect for grilling, frying, baking and salads.

Extra firm tofu

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This type of tofu is extremely dense and compact, especially compared to the others. It is the densest and firmest of all the forms.

Extra-firm tofu can be pressed even further to remove excess water, making it an excellent meat substitute.

It is perfect for grilling, frying, baking, stir-fries, and adding to salads.

Nutrition content

While the protein content may vary between products, generally, firmer tofu has a higher protein content.

Additionally, some tofu products are fortified with calcium, making them excellent sources of this essential nutrient. These fortified options are a great way for vegans to meet their calcium needs.

Tofu formsProtein content per 100g portion
Silken Tofu~ 7g
Soft Tofu~ 7g
Medium Tofu~ 8g
Firm Tofu~ 13g
Extra-firm Tofu~ 20g
Protein content differences between different forms of tofu.
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How do you eat tofu?

Tofu can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be eaten raw, added cold on top of salads or added to smoothies for a protein boost.

It can be cooked in many ways as well:

  • Baking
  • Grilling
  • Frying
  • Boiling 
  • Steaming

Fried Tofu

Tofu can be fried in a pan or deep fried until it is crispy.

What’s special about tofu is it can be very crunchy on the outside while the inside remains quite soft and chewy

Grilled Tofu

Typically firm and extra-firm forms of tofu are grilled as they hold their shape the best.

Grilling is done to allow it to have a nice smoky flavor and usually the tofu would have been marinated beforehand to help enhance its flavor further.

Starting a vegan diet and being introduced to tofu can seem daunting at first, but there’s really nothing to worry about.

With this breakdown of all the types of tofu and what can be done with them, you’ll become an expert in no time.

To further master your skills and receive personalized guidance on how to utilize tofu, consider booking a consultation with one of our vegan nutritionists.

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