You don't often hear tofu described as flavorful; in fact, on its own, tofu can seem positively devoid of flavor. But that's why we love this vegan protein. Tofu is excellent at soaking up other flavors, making it the star of many a full-flavored Meatless Monday dish. These four are some of the best tofu recipes we know for dressing this ingredient up and making it the star of your dinner table.
It's no surprise that some of the best tofu recipes hail from China -- most sources agree that tofu originated in China during the Han dynasty, over 2,000 years ago. From China, it was introduced into Korea and Japan, but not until some 800 years later. The Chinese had a long time to perfect their best tofu recipes, including a Szechuan favorite, mapo tofu. While traditional forms of the dish feature meat, this vegan mapo tofu recipe gets its umami flavor from dry and fresh mushrooms. Tofu is the perfect base for this fiery dish.
Kimchi chigae image via Shutterstock
Kimchi chigae could be seen as the Korean answer to this Szechuan recipe. While it's a very unique dish, it shares some of the same components: a nice amount of tofu, a whole lot of spice... and usually, a bit of meat, too. Luckily, kimchi chigae doesn't suffer for lack of meat, as this vegan version of the flavorful kimchi stew shows. Ferment your own kimchi for the base, or buy vegan kimchi at your local Asian supermarket.
Image via Karissa Bowers
Just because tofu hails from Asian cuisine doesn't mean that all of the best tofu recipes come from Asia. This modern, vegan spin on nachos is completely gluten-free and just as tasty as the classic. Instead of corn chips, homemade sweet potato chips are used as the base. Topped with beans, avocado, jalapeño, and a homemade tofu sour cream, these nachos are absolutely delicious.
Image: Rescue Rabbit
This vegan stuffed mushroom recipe is perfect for a crowd. Tofurky Italian sausage adds a great deal of flavor to this dish, which also includes some herbs and spices like parsley and cayenne pepper. Top with vegan cheese or Parmesan if you're cooking for a dairy-loving crowd, and serve as canapés or alongside a green salad as a complete meal.
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Mapo tofu image via Shutterstock