From savory to sweet, these dishes pack a powerful punch!

By Tiffany Tse
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Think tofu is bland and flavorless? These mouthwatering recipes will change your mind about the soft, creamy blocks of bean curd forever! Not only is tofu great for low-cal diets, it brims with good-for-you soy protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Tofu is also one of the most versatile foods, making it a great base for both savory entrées and sweet desserts. Check out these 10 delicious dishes that are anything but bland!

Pistachio-Crusted Tofu

243 calories, 15 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 570 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber

In this unique recipe, slabs of tofu are immersed in a nutty mixture of pistachio and breadcrumbs for a flavor-packed dish with an interesting texture.

Ingredients:

14 oz. tofu

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 slices whole-wheat bread

1/2 c. pistachio nuts

Ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp. spicy mustard

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp. tofu mayonnaise

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; prepare a baking sheet by either oiling it lightly or lining it with a silicone liner. Cut the tofu into 8 1/2-in. slices and dry them lightly with paper towels. Brush both sides of the tofu with the 2 tbsp. soy sauce and set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes. While the tofu is marinating, place the bread into the food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Measure out 1 cup of crumbs into a wide, shallow bowl (save any remaining crumbs for another use.) Pulse the pistachios in the processor until they are reduced to fine crumbs. Add them to the breadcrumbs along with a generous grating of black pepper, and mix well. In another shallow bowl, combine the mustard, syrup, soy sauce, and mayo. Dip a slice of tofu into the mustard mixture, lightly coating all sides; then place it into the breadcrumbs, sprinkle crumbs over the top and sides, and lightly press them into the tofu. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all slices of tofu. Put the tofu into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve with the sauce of your choice.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe provided by FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Chocolate Tofu Pudding Cups

112 calories, 10.3 grams sugar, 6.5 grams fat, 11.8 grams carbohydrates, 1.7 grams protein

Craving something sweet? Tofu actually makes a healthy base for low-cal desserts like this silky smooth pudding. Whip up this tasty treat using chocolate and, of course, lots of tofu, and then spoon the pudding into edible chocolate cups.

Ingredients:

For chocolate tofu pudding:

1 box tofu, drained

2 tbsp. agave nectar

1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 c. chocolate sauce (the kind you use for chocolate milk)

For pudding cups:

2 c. chocolate chips

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 recipe chocolate tofu pudding

Raspberries

Whipped cream

Directions:

For chocolate tofu pudding:

Put all the ingredients in a Vitamix (or blender) and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to fill the chocolate cups (about 30 minutes). Once ready to fill the cups, scoop the pudding into a large zip-lock bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag and squeeze the pudding into the cups.

For pudding cups:

Line 24 mini muffin tins with paper liners. Melt the chips and vegetable oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds and heat until chips are fully melted. Spoon about 1 heaping tsp. melted chocolate into each muffin liner and spread up the sides with the back of a spoon. Put the tin in the freezer to get the chocolate firm. Add a second layer of chocolate to the cups, freeze again. Keep frozen until your ready to remove the paper. Refrigerate the filled pudding cups for about 4 hours, so the pudding sets and gets a little firmer. Top with whipped cream and raspberries.

Makes 24 cups.

Spicy Smoked Tofu

84 calories, 4.6 grams sugar, 6.1 grams fat, 5.6 grams carbohydrates, 1.9 grams protein

These slightly crispy bean curd strips get a smoky sweet flavor boost with a low-cal blend of sauces and spices. While you can serve them with kale and rice (as pictured), feel free to combine the tofu with other ingredients to round out a healthy, satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

1 package extra-firm tofu

1 1/2 tbsp. safflower oil

1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Drain your tofu and cut into 8 equal slices. Lay the slices out flat on a doubled over kitchen towel with another doubled over towel on top. Lay a large cutting board on top and place a few heavy books on top. Press for 25 – 35 min. Preheat oven to broil with a rack on the top slats. Whisk all other ingredients together in a large bowl. Slice tofu into 1/4 in. wide strips or small squares. Place tofu in the large bowl with the wet ingredients and stir very gently until well coated. Lay tofu out on a parchment-lined pan and broil for four to eight minutes, until golden brown with slightly darker edges. Time varies depending on your oven. Flip and broil for another four to eight minutes until golden brown. Typically, the second side browns a bit faster. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Recipe provided by The Edible Perspective

Hoisin Glazed Grilled Tofu and Asparagus

138 calories, 8.2 grams sugar, 5.2 grams fat, 14.6 grams carbohydrates, 12.4 grams protein

Crunchy asparagus spears offer a tasty (and nourishing) counterpoint to soft blocks of bean curd, while a drizzle of spicy hoisin sauce lends this dish a surprising kick of flavor. Not only is this meal a surefire way to impress dinner guests, it's also low in calories and fat.

Ingredients:

7 oz. firm tofu

1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

2 tbsp. hoisin sauce

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp. Sriracha sauce

1 tsp. white sugar (optional)

10 spears asparagus

1/2 tsp. five spice

Directions:

Turn the grill or a grill pan to high. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat toast the sesame seeds until golden. Pour onto a plate and save for garnish. Cut the tofu block in half, then turn one half on its side and cut it in half so that you have two pieces that are about 1 inch thick. Save the bigger half for another use or double the recipe. Set the cut pieces on a clean paper towel and blot dry.

To make the sauce:

In a small bowl mix together the hoisin, soy, Sriracha, and sugar. Set aside. Place the asparagus on the grill (optional: rub spears with a touch of oil) and grill for five minutes rotating the spears until evenly grilled. Divide between two plates. Set the dry tofu on a plate and sprinkle both sides with the five spice. Rub the grill with a touch of vegetable oil on a towel so the tofu doesn't stick. Place the tofu on the grill and don't touch for one minute so that it can sear without sticking. Turn the tofu 45 degrees to create the "X" pattern grill marks. Cook 30 seconds. Using a spatula carefully flip the tofu over and grill for one more minute. While it is grilling, brush or spoon some of the sauce onto the tofu. Remove tofu from grill and place on top of the asparagus spears. Drizzle the remaining sauce over each plate (you will have some extra). Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe provided by Jeffrey Saad, Cooking Channel host of United Tastes of America, restauranteur, chef, and author of Jeffrey Saad's Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders (available March 20th)

Crunchy Tofu Nuggets

80 calories, 0.7 grams sugar, 1.7 grams fat, 11.8 grams carbohydrates, 3.5 grams protein

Who needs chicken nuggets when you can munch on nutritious tofu nuggets instead? These mealtime treats are easy to make and perfect for dipping into a variety of sauces. Our suggestion? A simply delicious vegan honey mustard spread made from 1 tsp. agave, 2 tbsp. mustard, and 1 tbsp. vegan mayo.

Ingredients:

1 pckg. firm tofu (frozen, thawed, and pressed)

1 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk

3 tbsp. vegetable bouillon

3 tbsp. mustard

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1 c. whole-wheat flour

Salt and pepper (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take your firm tofu (frozen, thawed, and pressed for better texture), and slice it into 1 in. cubes. Mix vegan "milk", vegetable bouillon, and mustard together. Dip cubed tofu into the "milk" mixture. Roll it into whole-wheat flour. Dip into the milk mixture again. Roll in panko crumbs. Place onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy with your hot sauce, vegan ranch dressing, ketchup, mustard, etc.

Makes 16 nuggets.

Recipe provided by Veg Obsession

Sweet and Sour Honey Lemon Tofu

47 calories, 8.4 grams sugar, 0.2 grams fat, 11.8 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 grams protein

Whether you need a hearty dinner entrée or just want a wholesome snack, these sweet and sour tofu slices make a great option. A mix of sweet jam (like mango chutney) and lemon juice infuse the tofu with an irresistible tangy flavor that won't interfere with your healthy diet.

Ingredients:

1 block extra-firm tofu

1/2 c. sweet jam/jelly/preserves

1/3 c. honey (if you don't eat honey, use agave, maple, or yacon syrup)

1/4 c. lemon juice (in a pinch, you can use apple cider vinegar)

Optional but recommended:

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. ginger powder

2 tbsp. EVOO (or coconut, flax, hemp, grapeseed oil)

Directions:

Mix marinade in a bowl and allow tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes up to overnight. Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 450 degrees for 20 minutes on the first side (tip: the honey is going to caramelize, so use foil for an easy cleanup). Then, flip and bake for approximately 10 more minutes. Watch the honey because the sugars can burn. Put extras in a container and store in fridge for up to four to five days.

Makes 18 long, thin slices.

Recipe provided by Love Veggies and Yoga

Blackened Tofu

24 calories, 1.3 grams fat, 1.8 grams carbohydrates, 2.2 grams protein

Sometimes all it takes is a handful of great seasonings to make a mouthwatering tofu dish. In this easy recipe, just coat each piece in assorted spices like chili powder, cumin, and cayenne for a spicy dish that won't even come close to breaking the calorie bank!

Ingredients:

1 block tofu

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. granulated onion

1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cumin, ground

1/4 tsp. coriander, ground

1/4 tsp. black peppercorns, ground

1 tbsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. thyme

Directions:

Coat tofu in spice. In a hot skillet, brown tofu with no oil or water. When edges brown, flip and cover cook until cooked though. Time depends on the thickness of the tofu.

Makes 4 4 oz. servings.

Recipe provided by Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida

Pumpkin Honey Tofu

29 calories, 6.5 grams sugar, 0.2 grams fat, 6.9 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 grams protein

Who knew that pumpkin butter and honey would make such great accompaniments to tofu? These sweet-tasting slices have a spongy texture and leave you perfectly satisfied.

Ingredients:

1 block extra-firm tofu

1/4 c. pumpkin butter

1/3 c. honey (or agave or maple)

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

Optional:

Dash of tamari or soy sauce

Pinch of nutmeg/cayenne/chili powder/cumin/pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon

Drizzle of EVOO/coconut/hemp oil

Directions:

Whisk to combine all ingredients. Marinate the sliced tofu for 15 minutes to 24 hours. Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 450 degrees for 20 minutes and flip and cook another five minutes or so. Note: I used tofu that had previously been frozen, thawed, and pressed.

Makes 18 long, thin slices.

Recipe provided by Love Veggies and Yoga

Creamy Triple Green Pesto

436 calories, 3.1 grams sugar, 42 grams fat, 12.4 grams carbohydrates, 5.6 grams protein

If you love pesto but find it too fattening (thanks to loads of olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese), try this creative concoction made with silken tofu and veggies. Find ways to adorn your favorite dishes, such as whole-wheat pasta or pizza, with this delicious sauce, which clocks in at approximately 436 calories per cup.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. peas

50 g. spinach

30 fresh basil leaves

1/4 c. unsalted cashews

1 clove garlic

5 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. silken tofu

A grind of black pepper

Directions:

Blanch the peas for a couple of minutes to soften slightly. Wilt the spinach by placing in a colander and pouring over a kettleful of boiling water. When wilted, rinse with cold water and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Whizz all the ingredients together and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 2 cups.

Recipe provided by Tinned Tomatoes

Marinated Tofu

39 calories, 1.2 grams fat, 4.2 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams protein

This healthy recipe takes only a few minutes of prep time, but the results are tantalizing! Soaking slices of tofu in balsamic vinegar, garlic, and oregano gives the dish some extra bite. Serve with your favorite veggies to round out your meal.

Ingredients:

1 block extra-firm tofu

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. chopped garlic

2 tbsp. dried oregano

Directions:

Cut tofu into slices. Mix balsamic vinegar, garlic, and oregano together, and marinate tofu for 30 minutes. Grill, bake, or pan-sear.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe provided by Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida

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