Tofu is a meatless source of protein. But is tofu vegan? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about tofu! And, discover the best vegan recipes that you have to try.
There are 3 key ingredients to making tofu:
- Soybeans: Dried soybeans soak in water, then get crushed and boiled to make soy milk.
- Coagulant: Then, adding coagulant(s) to the soy milk solidifies the protein and oil. It separates the curds from the whey, much like the process of making cheese. There are many different coagulants. But, tofu processors most often uses Calcium Sulphate, according to the Institute of Food Technologies.
Also, tofu may get seasoned with other ingredients, such as spices or smoke flavor.
Different types of tofu
Plain tofu is versatile. White blocks of tofu are sold in various textures:
- Silken tofu
- Soft tofu
- Medium tofu
- Firm tofu
- Extra-firm tofu
You can choose the firmness that best suits the dish you're making.
Other seasoned tofu-products are available too. Some examples are:
- Smoked tofu
- Spiced tofu
- Inari (sweet and salty tofu pockets)
- Fermented tofu
Is tofu vegan?
Yes, most tofu is vegan. In fact, tofu is a great source of plant-based protein.
However, be aware that some tofu has added ingredients that are not vegan. For example, "stinky tofu"—popular in China and Taiwan—is usually fermented in a brine made from milk and meat. And, "egg tofu" contains eggs. (Fun fact: Japanese Egg Tofu isn't usually made with soy/tofu, it just has a similar consistency).
Always read the label to confirm the tofu product is vegan, if needed.
Is tofu vegetarian?
Yes, tofu is almost always vegetarian. The exception would be if the tofu has any added meat or seafood during processing (such as "stinky tofu"). Check the package if you are ever unsure.
10 best vegan tofu recipes
We've cooked—and eaten—a lot of tofu over the years! These are the top 10 vegan (plant-based) tofu recipes we recommend: