Tofu tips and starter recipes from the 31-Day Vegan Challenge

So every few days, the Vegan Challenge participants get an informative email that shares recipes, tips, and other info.  In fact, they have been so informative that even I- a vegan of nearly eight years- am learning new things with each new email!  I thought, is there any reason why these should not be shared with everyone else?

What follows is an excerpt from the welcome email that was sent to Vegan Challenge participants by organizers Krista Mayer and Marc Charron.


Not so delicious.

Although some of you may already be familiar with it, we had to start with a classic veg delight – tofu! Tofu is a very versatile cooking ingredient. It can take on and absorb the taste of many of your favourite dishes, so your options are almost endless…You can also try other delicious soy products like tempeh and miso.

Tips on Cooking Tofu:

  • Delicious.

    Use firm or extra firm tofu for most recipes. Excess water may be squeezed out to make the texture even firmer.

  • An adult serving size is about ¼ of a block of tofu.
  • Some sources say that raw tofu should be steamed for 5 minutes to kill bacteria.
  • Silken tofu is already cooked before packaging, so it can be used without any prior preparation in things such as smoothies and desserts.
  • To store unused tofu for up to a week, completely submerge it in water and keep in the refrigerator. Be sure to change the water daily.
  • For longer periods of time, try freezing your tofu. This will change the texture and the colour but don’t worry – it’s normal and safe to consume. Simply defrost and squeeze out excess water before using.
  • Fried Tofu: Slice firm tofu in 1/2 x 1″ pieces, marinate in soy sauce 5 minutes, then fry both sides until crispy. This can be placed into pasta, rice, casseroles, stir fries, etc…Tofu can be marinated in any sauce you love. Add garlic or ginger (or any other favourite) to tailor the taste of the tofu to your liking.


Easy Tofu Recipes:

(The title for each recipe links to the original recipe source. These are not original NCVA recipes.)

Tofu Salad

We just tried this recipe the other day and it was delicious!

Serves 4


1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 (16 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and diced

1 cup snow peas, trimmed

2 small carrots, grated

1 cup finely shredded red cabbage

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts


1. In a large bowl, mix the chili sauce, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Place tofu in the mixture, and marinate 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Immerse the snow peas in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then immerse in a a bowl of cold water. Drain, and set aside.

3. Toss the peas, carrots, cabbage, and peanuts with the tofu and marinade to serve.



Lime Curry Tofu

You can use this recipe as a stir fry or throw it into a wrap instead.

Serves 4


2 tablespoons peanut oil (can substitute with other oil)

16 ounces extra firm tofu (cut into bite sized cubes)

1 tablespoon ginger root (minced fresh)

2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 lb zucchini (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

14 ounces coconut milk

½ cup fresh basil (chopped)


1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown.

2. Remove the tofu and set aside, leaving the remaining oil in the wok.

3. Stir the ginger and curry paste into the hot oil for a few seconds until the curry paste is fragrant and the ginger begins to turn golden. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute.

4. Pour in the lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup, coconut milk, and tofu. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer, and cook a few minutes until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is hot.

5. Stir in the chopped basil just before serving.


Peanut Sauce Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu

Serves 4


1 tablespoon oil

1 small head broccoli, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

5 medium mushrooms, sliced

1 (12 -14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, cubed

1/2 cup hot water

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter

cayenne pepper, to taste

3 cups cooked rice


1. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, hot water, vinegar, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. (Don’t worry if sauce is not entirely blended; heat will melt the peanut butter into a smooth texture when added to wok.)

2. Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Sauté broccoli, pepper, mushrooms, and tofu for 5 minutes.

3. Pour peanut sauce over vegetable-tofu mix. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and crisp.

4. Serve over rice, and enjoy!

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