Although I am not a vegetarian, over the last few years we have seriously cut down on the amount of meat we eat to less once a week. Instead, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals using other protein sources like dairy, eggs, beans, and tofu. Now, I realize tofu is an acquired taste and texture, but recently I have transformed a lot of tofu haters into tofu lovers by using this preparation method.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard about tofu is that it has a funny texture, and it tends to break apart if it’s not fried. Personally, I don’t like frying tofu (or much of anything) because it makes it less healthy, and guess what? You can get the EXACT same fried tofu texture with much less effort by baking it in the oven.
It’s simple–cut your tofu into evenly-sized cubes, place them on a greased baking sheet (with plenty of space between the cubes!), and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden on the outside. You can bake them even longer so they are dry on the inside too, but I prefer to leave them somewhat creamy on the inside.
The best part about this preparation? You don’t have to press the tofu to remove excess water! I prefer the texture of extra firm tofu, but I buy firm tofu at Costco because it is ridiculously cheap. In the past I’ve had to press firm tofu to get the texture I like, but baking it in the oven evaporates the extra water so it ends up just how I like it.
Because baking it the oven crisps it up, tofu prepared this way will hold together really well in stir fries, curries, pad Thai, or any other dish you want to add it too, without having the added fat from frying, or the frustration of the tofu crumbling. Because the outside is drier, it also holds sauce much better than wet tofu.
But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!