Low in fat and packed with protein, tofu makes an inexpensive meat alternative or silky dessert ingredient.
Made from soy milk, tofu is a nutritious option for vegetarians, vegans and those who avoid dairy. It’s also low in kilojoules and fat, making it a healthy choice for meat eaters wanting a meat-free meal. For some older women, it may even help reduce menopause symptoms, thanks to the phytoestrogen content.
While some may have preconceptions or reservations about tofu, the taste and texture all come down to how you cook it.
Firm tofu slices neatly and easily, and is well suited for grilling and stir-frying
Silken tofu is ideal for blending into dips, smoothies and dairy-free desserts
Marinated tofu is a convenient addition to a quick Thai, Chinese or Japanese-style dish.
Three reasons to put tofu on the menu!
It’s a source of plant protein: Move over, meat! The soy in tofu is a high-quality protein (unlike most plants), which has all the essential amino acids to build muscle.
It is packed with vital minerals: Tofu is rich in calcium for strong bones and teeth. It’s also high in iron, which means it plays an important role in carrying oxygen around your body.
It gives you bang for your buck: You can find tofu in the supermarket for as cheap as $1.70 per serve. Time to make some serious cash savings!
HFG’s top picks
Macro Extra Soft Silken Tofu
$2.30 per 300g packet
Great for steaming and desserts. Per 100g: 217kJ (52cal), 5.2g protein, 2.6g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.7g carbs, 0.7g sugars, 2.6g fibre, 33mg sodium
Soyco Tofu Japanese
$3.00 per 200g packet
Convenient to add cold to your salads. Per 100g: 732kJ (175cal), 18g protein, 9.5g fat, 1.2g sat fat, 4.6g carbs, 0.8g sugars, 1.4g fibre, 295mg sodium
Simply Better Foods Firm Organic Tofu
$4.93 per 375g packet
Thread on skewers and barbecue! Per 100g: 615kJ (147cal), 15.9g protein, 8.8g total fat, 2.7g sat fat, 0.3g carbs, 0.3g sugars, 17mg sodium
Turn a few ingredients into top tofu meals
Chocolate tofu orange ice cream
Time to make 20 minutes
300g silken tofu
4 tablespoons pure cocoa
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Step 1 Place tofu in a food processor with cocoa, maple syrup and the orange zest and juice. Blend until smooth.
Step 2 Churn mixture in an ice-cream maker until frozen. Alternatively, pour mixture into a shallow container and freeze until firm, whisking the mixture a couple of times as it starts to freeze around the edges. Put in the fridge to soften for 30 minutes before serving.
Per serve: 432kJ (103cal), 5.3g protein, 2.9g fat, 0.9g sat fat, 12.1g carbs, 9.9g sugars, 4.2g fibre, 24mg sodium, 43mg calcium, 2.7mg iron
Step 1 Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil and set over medium heat. Stir-fry tofu until browned. Remove from pan. Sauté kale in same pan for 3–5 minutes, or until wilted and just tender. Sprinkle with chilli flakes. Return tofu to the pan and toss to combine.
Step 2 Toast bread, top with tofu scramble and serve.
Per serve: 1178kJ (282cal), 21.8g protein, 12.9g fat, 1.6g sat fat, 16.7g carbs, 1.9g sugars, 5.9g fibre, 436mg sodium, 101mg calcium, 5.1mg iron
Step 2 Meanwhile, spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil. Stir-fry tofu for 2–3 minutes over medium heat. Remove from pan. Add frozen vegetables to same pan and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Stir through 3 tbs tomato paste and the paprika.
Step 3 Add cooked rice to pan; stir to combine. Return tofu to pan; heat through for 1 minute before serving.
Per serve: 1561kJ (373cal), 22.9g protein, 7.8g fat, 1.0g sat fat, 46.8g carbs, 5.3g sugars, 10.7g fibre, 74mg sodium, 339mg calcium, 4.7mg iron
Melissa is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a love of healthy, delicious food. She is passionate about helping others to lead healthier lives and teaching people to use nutrition to better their health.