The Best Type Of Tofu When It Comes To Grilling

Tofu is a plant-based protein staple and a blank slate in the culinary world. With its neutral taste and varying levels of softness, it can take on a wide range of flavors and forms. From fried to fermented to creamed, there are endless styles of tofu worth cooking up.

Grilling tofu is a great way to prepare it. It is a relatively quick and easy method that creates a satisfying centerpiece in any dish, like grilled BBQ tofu. However, not all types of tofu are ideal for grilling. Softer varieties, including silken and, regular, can fall apart more easily. To help guarantee that your tofu will hold together when you throw it on the grill, it is best to use firm or extra firm tofu. They are both denser, and can more easily withstand the high heat and moisture of the grilling method without disintegrating.

What makes firmer tofu better for grilling

For those not familiar with the differences in each type of tofu, it all comes down to water content. The more water comprising a block of tofu, the lighter, fluffier, and silkier it becomes. Silken tofu is the most watery, and super firm is the least.

Firm and extra firm tofu fall towards the less watery end of the spectrum. They are dense enough to hold themselves together on a grill (though firm tofu is slightly more delicate and should be handled with caution). On the other hand, because of their water content, they are loose enough to absorb any sauces and marinades used to flavor them. Super firm tofu, while durable enough to grill, is too compact to absorb marinades and rubs as easily.

No matter the level of firmness, tofu generally comes packaged in water to keep it fresh. When prepping tofu for grilling, particularly firm tofu, it is a good idea to press the tofu to squeeze that moisture out.

The times for other tofu types to shine

Understanding the properties of tofu means unlocking its potential. Though other tofu varieties are less than ideal to throw on a grill, they certainly come in handy in other capacities. Super-firm tofu is chewy enough to bear the most resemblance to meat. You can prepare it similarly to chicken nuggets by coating some pieces in a crunchy breading and baking them. Or, you can dunk them in a batter and deep fry or air fry until they are irresistibly crispy.

Silken tofu, the softest of the bunch, makes the perfect addition to sauces, smoothies, and dairy-free cheese recipes. It adds an element of creaminess and a boost of plant-based protein, elevating any kind of puree.

Regular tofu, which is slightly firmer than silken, holds its form in soups and stews while soaking up their flavors, making it a tasty, tender addition. It is also the perfect main ingredient in tofu scrambles, as it is firm enough to bite but soft enough to crumble up and scramble on a stovetop.

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