Whoever says that plant-based foods are low in protein.. is certainly wrong! My high-protein tofu recipes will definitely prove the point that finding plant-based sources of proteins is not as hard as some might tell you… it’s just a matter of making the right choices!
In addition, tofu is an incredible ingredient for several other reasons. It is extremely versatile and you can consume it in an endless variety of different preparations. It’s even good raw if you know how to prep it! Extra-firm, firm, soft, or silken: these are only a few variants of this amazing plant-based food.
But this is certainly not all! Willing to learn more about this food and discover some tasty and easy high-protein tofu recipes? Then, you are in the right place!
A High-Protein Plant-based Ingredient: discover all the amazing health benefits of tofu!
Tofu is a trendy plant food derived from soy. Basically, its production consists of curdling fresh soy milk, pressing it into a solid block, and then cooling it.
This versatile – and very cheap!– ingredient has been around for many centuries, especially in Eastern and Southern-Asian countries, where it is a very popular component of many different traditional dishes. But let’s be honest, a part of its popularity is also linked to its amazing properties!
The most talked about is certainly the fact that it is an incredible source of plant proteins. Indeed, a 4 oz serving (cooked), provides approximately 14 grams of protein, which is almost one-third of the average woman’s protein needs for the day – though I certainly recommend more for retaining lean body mass and its other various benefits. This is certainly not bad considering that this ingredient is extremely versatile and can be easily inserted into your daily diet.
But what is even greater is the fact that it comes with very few fats and carbs, and no bad (LDL) cholesterol! Studies even show that the regular consumption of tofu is associated with a reduction in “bad” cholesterol levels and improved endothelial function (the lining of blood vessels that control blood pressure and flow). The merits for this go to the isoflavones and lecithins contained in tofu – precious compounds that can also help to reduce menopausal symptoms.
Moreover, these isoflavones may help protect against some cancers, and to prevent severe forms of osteoporosis. Studies show that women who consume soy in early childhood have an even greater reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those who begin consumption later in life.
However, overconsumption of soy – especially in menopausal women – may present some risks, as isoflavones interact with the regular production of estrogen (the link in regard is still unclear). What is clear, instead, is that soy does not impact sperm quality and levels of testosterone in male consumers.
Last but not least, tofu contains precious omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote good heart health and reduce the levels of inflammation in our body. Studies show that soy may help prevent chronic diseases like heart diseases and type-2 diabetes.
Tofu: Some Nutrition Facts
Tofu is a very good source of protein and is rich in several precious micro-nutrients. Among them are calcium, copper, selenium, iron, zinc, and vitamin A.
Depending on the type of coagulant used to make tofu, its nutrient content may vary. For instance, nigari-set tofu contains slightly more fat and potassium but less protein, fiber, and calcium. Here are the values for a serving of regular soft tofu:
- Calories: 144
- Protein: 17 grams
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
- Calcium: 53% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 51% of the DV
- Copper: 42% of the DV
- Selenium: 32% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 18% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 15% of the DV
- Iron: 15% of the DV
- Magnesium: 14% of the DV
- Zinc: 14% of the DV
Fun Facts about Tofu
- Soybean products include both unfermented and fermented foods. Unfermented foods include tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy nuts, and sprouts. On the other hand, fermented soy products include – miso, tempeh, natto, and soy sauce.
- Soybeans contain hormone-like substances called phytoestrogens, one example being isoflavones. Isoflavones are very strong antioxidants and can mimic the effects of estrogen.
- 2021-22 world soybean production is around 353 million metric tons. The USA is currently the world leader in soybean production.
- Written evidence shows that tofu was already popular in 3000 BC in ancient China.
Ingredient Selection Tips
An important detail to consider when choosing your soy products is the origin of the soy. I always prefer non-GMO over GMO soy products! While the difference between the two is not always clear – when in doubt, choose the most natural product.
Organic soy products are often a better choice if your pocketbook allows them. Look for information on the origin of the raw material on the packaging itself, or – if you cannot find them – ask the seller.
Also, check the expiration date of the product, and visually inspect the packaging itself for any damage that could affect the quality of the product.
High-Protein Tofu Recipes
Tofu can be prepared in many different ways, depending on the type of tofu you choose. For example, silken tofu is great in the preparation of desserts and soups, while hard tofu is perfect for stews or nuggets.
Moreover, tofu has a very delicate taste, and can therefore be used as a “sponge” to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients and sauces used during the preparation of your favorite recipes!
I have plenty of recipes for tofu, all of which are delicious and super high in plant protein!
Among my favorites are the Sweet & Spicy Thai Pineapple Curry with Crispy Tofu, the Easy Tofu Chorizo, the Easy Mexican Eggs Benedict w/ Tofu Chorizo & Chipotle Hollandaise, and my Shepherd’s Pie Vegan Tofu Cauliflower Recipe.
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