Cooking Light
August 30, 2011

Though I’m not vegetarian, I consider myself a meatless master. I rarely cook meat at home—with the exception of browning some ground beef or turkey for soups or throwing some salmon into a grill pan—and I only order it at restaurants when I know the source is local and/or humanely-raised, so this month’s challenge to go meatless was pretty easy for me. I decided my personal challenge would be to expand my repertoire into different protein sources.

My goal: To make friends with tofu. I had (perhaps unfairly) prejudged tofu as a squishy sponge of a thing that just sat on my plate and quivered at me. And it involves many decisions: What type do I buy—silken, firm, extra firm? Do I have to drain or press it? Why are you so high maintenance, tofu? Silly, maybe, but I think it stemmed from one hippy potluck dinner in college too many.

It was time to make peace. So I searched for a recipe that incorporated lots of flavor and got away from the slap a brick on a plate method. Here’s an oldie but goodie, Sesame Tofu Stir-Fry Over Rice. The “meaty” mushrooms and nutty, crunchy sesame seeds balanced out the tofu’s texture and served as training wheels for my tofu-phobic self. It’s going into rotation. And here’s an option for a tofu-riffic brunch or breakfast-as-dinner, Hash Browns (ed note: you had me at Hash Browns) with Italian-Seasoned Tofu. So have I been reborn as a tofu lover? Honestly, I’d still rather reach for a grain or something else, but I now view it as a well-meaning acquaintance vs a tasteless enemy.

What are your tofu secrets? Do you have a go-to brand? Here are our tofu taste test award winners.

See More: Our full collection of Healthy Vegetarian Recipes

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