Photo: KnowInsiders
Photo: KnowInsiders

All vegans must love tofu or they can’t be in the club. Just kidding! When you eat a plant-based diet, there are an endless number of foods to enjoy besides tofu. However, tofu is delicious, versatile and packed with protein. For some people though, tofu might take some getting used to. With the right tofu cooking tips, you can learn how to prepare it, cook it and make it tantalizing.

Here is how to make Coconut Tofu Stir-fry:


2–4 servings

1 14-oz. block extra-firm tofu

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. sambal oelek

1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. light or dark brown sugar

1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)

1 lime

8 oz. green beans

2 garlic cloves

1 1" piece ginger

1 bunch basil

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Short-grain or jasmine rice (for serving)


Step 1

Photo: Gourmet Vegetarian Kitchen
Photo: Gourmet Vegetarian Kitchen

Drain one 14-oz. block extra-firm tofu and slice ½" thick. Arrange in a single layer on a kitchen towel set on a rimmed baking sheet or dry cutting board. Season lightly with kosher salt. Wrap towel over tofu like you’re tucking it in and press to expel some moisture. Set aside.

Step 2

Photo: Taste Cooking
Photo: Taste Cooking

Mix 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. sambal oelek, 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. soy sauce or tamari, 2 tsp. light or dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. fish sauce (if using), and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl to combine. Cut 1 lime in half; squeeze juice from 1 half into sambal mixture and stir again; set aside. Cut remaining lime half into wedges and set aside for serving.

Step 3

Photo: The Spruce Eats
Photo: The Spruce Eats

Trim 8 oz. green beans and cut into ¼" pieces. Peel 2 garlic cloves and coarsely chop. Then peel one 1" piece ginger and coarsely chop. Very coarsely chop basil leaves from 1 bunch basil to measure 1 loosely packed cup. Set green beans, garlic, ginger, and basil aside.

Step 4

Photo: Bon Appetit
Photo: Bon Appetit

Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Unwrap reserved tofu and arrange in the pan in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 4 minutes. Turn over and cook until other sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut over tofu and cook, turning often to prevent burning, until tofu is coated and coconut is toasted about 2 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; season lightly with salt.

Step 5

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high. Add reserved green beans and toss to coat; season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, add 1 Tbsp. water, and cover pan. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan and add reserved garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return tofu to the pan and add reserved sambal mixture. Cook, tossing gently until sauce is nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Taste stir-fry and season with more salt if needed. Remove from heat and gently toss in reserved basil.

Step 6

How to Make Coconut Tofu Stir-fry
Photo: Choosing Chia

Divide short-grain or jasmine rice among bowls; top with stir-fry. Serve with reserved lime wedges for squeezing over.

Recipe Notes

Per serving: 285 calories, 13 g protein, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 37 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 345 mg sodium.

Is Tofu Healthy?

Not only is tofu a great source of protein, but it is also packed with calcium, selenium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. What it lacks in fiber it makes up for in mineral content.

Unlike many animal sources of protein, tofu is low in saturated fat and is a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. It’s also a great low-carb protein option for vegetarians or vegans wanting to watch their intake.

Tofu is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides fats, carbs, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of tofu offers:

• Protein: 8 grams

• Carbs: 2 grams

• Fiber: 1 gram

• Fat: 4 grams

• Manganese: 31% of the RDI

• Calcium: 20% of the RDI

• Selenium: 14% of the RDI

• Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI

• Copper: 11% of the RDI

• Magnesium: 9% of the RDI

• Iron: 9% of the RDI

• Zinc: 6% of the RDI

This comes with only 70 total calories, which makes tofu a highly nutrient-dense food.

However, the micronutrient content of tofu can vary depending on the coagulant used. Nigari adds more magnesium while precipitated calcium increases the calcium content.

10 Best Tofu Recipes

Now that we know tofu is healthy, versatile, and easy to cook, it’s time to start adding it to our weekly menus! From savory breakfasts to creamy desserts, we have plenty of tofu-packed recipes to boost your plant protein intake.

Szechuan Tofu With Cauliflower

This 25-minute meal features golden, crisp tofu in a seriously delicious sweet, savory, and spicy sauce.

Veggie Bowl with Tofu Scramble

This hearty breakfast is a meal prepper’s dream. Paired with last night’s lentil soup, your morning will be 10 times easier and tastier with this recipe.

Vegetarian Bahn Mi With Crispy Tofu

Vegetarians don’t have to miss out on the amazing flavors of this popular Vietnamese sandwich, thanks to some crispy tofu.

Greek Eggplant Skillet Dinner

Tofu has a place in all types of cuisine, and we absolutely love pairing tofu with meaty eggplant in this hearty Mediterranean-inspired dish.

Coconut-Curry Soup With Cauliflower and Tofu

This gorgeous meal comes together in 15 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights and lazy weekends.

“Huevos” Soy-Cheros

These breakfast tacos could make any omnivore a tofu lover. This 350-calorie dish is packed with flavor to where you won’t miss the eggs at all.

Raspberry-Date Smoothie

Yes, tofu does have a rightful place in your morning smoothie! It adds the perfect amount of creaminess and a nice protein boost, too.

Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagna

Tofu is one of the stars of this dish and acts as the foundation for a rich and creamy vegan ricotta. So good!

Sheet Pan Curried Tofu With Vegetables

Who doesn’t love a delicious sheet-pan dinner? Roasted tofu is the perfect protein boost to this delicious 25-minute dish.

Orange, Tofu, and Bell Pepper Stir-Fry

Chewy tofu is perfectly accented with crisp, crunchy veggies in this stir-fry. Orange juice also gives it a nice hint of acidity.

Pickle-Brined Tofu

This delicious main dish is the perfect replacement for chicken tenders in a vegetarian diet. But don’t get us wrong—omnivores will love this recipe, too.

5 Impressive Benefits of Coconut

1. Highly nutritious

2. May benefit heart health

3. May promote blood sugar control

4. Contains powerful antioxidants

5. Easy to add to your diet

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