9 nutritious and yummy tofu menus that can help you cut excess weight without extreme dieting

If we told you that there is something that you can eat plenty of while shedding the extra weight – would you believe us?

You totally should, because it’s not a fancy or hard-to-find item by any stretch. It’s good old yummy tofu. Yes, tofu; wobbly, silky, soft, wonderful tofu!

What’s good about eating tofu?

Tofu is one of those wonderful blank sheets, that can be as soft or crispy as you want it to be, depending on how you treat it. You can get it in different degrees of hardness: soft, medium, or firm, and your desired method of cooking will help you decide what type of tofu you should ultimately get.

You also probably already know that plain tofu can be a tad sour, but cooked tofu is a gamechanger. It takes on the taste of whatever you cook it with, absorbing flavours cleanly and brightly.

It packs a mean serving of protein with a low calorie count, which makes it such a great protein to have if you’re looking to shed some pounds.

Tofu is also well-known to be a heart healthy choice of food, containing saponins that lowers blood lipids, and omega-3 fatty acid to reduce triglyceride levels.

As if it couldn’t get any better, tofu also gives a impressive dose of minerals like calcium and iron, and helps stave off cancer thanks to soy isoflavones and phenolic acids.

9 delicious and nutritious tofu recipes

If you need more convincing, there’re lots of ways you can eat it and eat it well. Here are nine healthy and delicious tofu dishes that you can eat lots of without worrying about piling on the kilos.

1. Hot and Sour Vegetable Soup with Tofu

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Image credit: Budget Bytes

If there’s such a thing as a feel-good soup, this has to be it! Sour, spicy, tangy and full of healthy ingredients like a medley of fresh vegetables and tofu – this is delicious AND healthy at the same time.

The added effect is that these flavours pair so awesomely together, whetting your appetite for more, more, more! Lucky for us then, that hot and sour foods are known to help with weight loss, boosting metabolism so that you burn more calories even as you eat.

This recipe calls for red cabbage for that touch of drama but feel free to use regular cabbage if it’s all you’ve got. Remember to sautee your ginger and green onion aromatics lightly before pouring the vegetable broth in, for extra depth of flavour that will make your taste buds tingle!

Get the recipe here.

2. Pan-fried Sesame Garlic Tofu

    tofu-recipes-healthy-weight-loss-garlic-sesame-sticky-crispy-tofuImage credit: Table for Two

What’s crispy, sticky, salty, and sweet all at once? No, it’s not sticky fried chicken, but good try. It’s sticky fried tofu and it’s as finger licking good as its meat counterpart!

Tofu is pan-fried to crisp perfection in a pan – you don’t even need to deep fry them – and coated with a homemade sticky sauce. Five ingredients are all you need to make this flavourful sauce: soy sauce, sambal chili paste, rice vinegar, honey, and sesame oil.

Our top tip for pan-frying the tofu for that unbeatable golden crunch? Press as much of the soaking liquid out as you can, and coat the cubes with cornstarch before popping them into the pan. You’re welcome.

Get the recipe here.

3. Tofu Bimbimbap

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Image credit: Korean Bapsang

There’s something extremely comforting about digging your spoon into a rice bowl filled with delicious ingredients. It’s an “Asian thing”, but rice is life, and we make no apologies for it. Eating crispy anything, surrounded by loads of colourful veggies, alongside a generous portion of rice,  sounds like a real treat to us!

Tofu bimbimbap is the tofu rice bowl you never knew you needed to try – but you sure do!

The ingredients are arranged beautifully, making it extra enticing for that moment of mixing. The absolute beauty of such a dish is that practically any veggie works – we like ours with carrot, broccoli, bell peppers, red cabbage, baby kale, and even leafy greens like spinach and watercress. Pan-fried tofu cubes add a welcome crispy finishing touch to this bowl. Mix in a dollop of gojuchang and some vinegar and dig right in!

Daebak!

Get the recipe here.

4. Tofu Soba Noodles

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Image credit: Damn Delicious

Wonderful for a quick fix dinner, this is a simple noodle dish that gets extra points for its universal appeal – because there is literally no one who doesn’t enjoy slurping some noodles up, right? This recipe is extremely simple to put together and even easier to eat.

Cooked soba noodles are tossed in a savoury dressing comprising soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and sesame seeds. Topped off with crisp lightly pan-fried tofu cubes, shredded cabbage and ginger, and peanuts, it’s a delightful meal that’s not too heavy on the stomach yet will leave you feeling thoroughly pleased.

PS: It’s even better that this quick recipe uses soba noodles, because buckwheat have a low glycemic index (GI). Low in carbs and high in fiber are both big ticks when it comes to eating right for healthy weight loss!

Get the recipe here.

5. Chinese Braised Tofu

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Image credit: Christie at Home

A local tzi char favourite, this braised tofu dish can be recreated at home with minimal fuss. Even better, you can add as much of the fried tofu as you want, so that no one is left sadly digging around in the sauce for more.

Our top tip when making this dish is to choose a medium-firm tofu. It’s easiest for you to work with as you deep fry it in hot oil, and will yield that lovely deep golden colour and puff texture that makes this such a popular dish for all ages.

As for the veggies, we recommend using firm favourites like broccoli, sweet peas, baby corn, carrot, and sliced mushrooms. But as with such dishes, the beauty is in the freedom you have to switch them up with whatever you have at home.

To get your sauce to thicken gently without becoming gloopy, pour in the corn starch mixture and whisk it all up, to make sure that all the starch is dissolved evenly. This dish goes gorgeously with a bowl of steaming white rice, absolutely no extras on the side needed.

Get the recipe here.

6. Egg Tofu with Minced Pork and Black Beans

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Image credit: What to Cook Today

Soft and silky egg tofu is an instant win however it’s cooked. Made from eggs and soymilk, they’re an easy hack to enjoying some chawanmushi goodness at home without needing to strain and steam the egg from scratch. Using this delicious tofu in this classic Chinese dish is so clever, we wish we’d thought of it earlier!

No deep-frying needed for this dish, the egg tofu doesn’t even have to be coated in cornstarch before frying. Simply pan-fry the thick slices of eggy goodness till they turn a light golden brown (you’ll know it’s ready to be off the heat when a thin crust starts to form).

Making the sauce is easy too, you’ll just need to stir fry the minced meat (pork or chicken works best) with garlic, adding any sliced vegetables you want as you stir-fry, before adding the black bean paste and other seasonings in.

Do remember to thicken your sauce up with cornstarch because a silky gravy makes a whole world of difference in this dish!

Get the recipe here.

7. Seafood Claypot Tofu

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Image credit: Wok & Kin

Hands up if you had good childhood memories of eating tofu out of an old-school claypot, each spoonful smothered with lots of rich seafood sauce!

There’s something magical about the combination of biting into fried tofu with a silky smooth inside, enveloped by the solid thick sauce – it feels like a warm hug that we never want to let go of.

And cooking in a claypot that supposedly retains flavours like no other modern material can? It’s double the magic.

Serve with comfort-veggies like carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and sliced mushrooms. And of course, do add your favourite seafood. Prawns, squid and fish slices are our must-haves. What’s yours?

Get the recipe here.

8. Thai Coconut Tofu Curry

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Image credit: Choosing Chia

Tofu and curry, yes, really.

This makes for a delightful one-pot meal that’s really healthy too in spite of how rich and decadent it seems. And it even helps with weight loss if you can believe it – say hi to the coconut milk that forms its base! (Coconut milk contains lots of medium-chain triglycerides, which actually help you burn more calories.)

You can go either way with the tofu in this dish: either pan-fry firm tofu to nugget-y goodness, or gently bathe soft-medium tofu in the curry if you feel like having pillow-soft, melt-in-your-mouth tofu. Both taste excellent, but if you want your tofu softer, we recommend adding some vegetables into the curry so that it holds up a bit better.

This lovely curry comes together in just under 30 minutes, and we’re so stoked to try it this weekend.

Get the recipe here.

9. Steamed Tofu with Minced Prawn and Fish Paste

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Image credit: Eat What Tonight

Steamed doesn’t mean bland, as the Teochews will assure you! When we spotted this recipe, we really had to share it because we have so much love for this light and healthy steamed egg tofu dish. You can also replace the egg tofu with silken tofu, it’s that versatile.

Mixing fish paste into minced prawn is genius, resulting in a sort of chewy ball of seafood goodness that resembles the texture of a fishball. And if you’re one to enjoy finding the bounciest fishballs known to mankind, biting into the chewy ball sitting atop the the soft pillowy tofu is a real textural experience that we’ll like to repeat over and over again.

And this is such an easy, fuss-free dish to whip up too. Four steps, 30 minutes and you’re done. The longest step is in the steaming – which you can leave alone till it’s done, anyway.

Eat it on its own as a snack, or with a piping hot bowl congee, or you may also know this as Teochew muih. Healthy? Check. Yummy? Check. Easy? Check, check, check!

Get the recipe here.

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