Tofu: a versatile source of protein

Nutrition facts and tips for cooking with tofu.

Tofu, or bean curd, is to soymilk as cheese is to dairy milk. Since the accidental discovery of making tofu 2,000 years ago, the Chinese have spread the art of tofu cuisine to all over the world. Researchers have since then studying the nutritional profile

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tofu is a great source of protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. In addition, tofu provides a lot of essential minerals, including iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc. It is the health benefits of tofu that make it a worthwhile addition to any meal and its versatility that makes it an easy ingredient to cook with.

Tofu does not have a strong flavor that will compete with other ingredients in your cooking. Rather, it takes on taste from the other foods and ingredients to further enhance a dish. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following tofu recipe.

Layne’s Creamy Green Tofu Pesto Sauce

Serves 4


Thawed frozen peas: ½ cup

Packed baby spinach: 1½ cups

Fresh basil leaves: 10

Chopped walnuts: ¼ cup

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese: 3 tablespoons

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Fresh lemon juice: 2 tablespoons

1 cup silken tofu, firm

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. Process until the texture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

A few other recipes worth considering: Coconut Curry Tofu, Tofu and Veggies in Peanut Sauce and Orange-Ginger Tofu Triangles.

When cooking, be mindful of the amount of salt and sugar that you add to your meal. MSU Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating and food safety.

Did you find this article useful?