It's that special time again: time to shine a spotlight on one of my favorite ingredients! This week I want to talk about silken tofu, and today we'll cover what it is, where to find it, how to cook with it, and which of my favorite recipes feature it. Are you ready for this?
Tofu comes in all shapes and sizes, and silken tofu is some of the softest of the lot.
It all comes down to water content. To make tofu, soy milk is coagulated, and then that mixture is pressed into blocks of curds. Water is then pressed from those blocks to varying degrees. The blocks get firmer as the water is pressed out.
Silken tofu is an undrained, unpressed variety of tofu that is often coagulated right in the container. It's almost like a custard, with a pudding-like consistency and rich mouthfeel. Silken tofu is also generally made with richer soy milk than most firm varieties of tofu, which makes it taste even more decadent.
Where Can I Buy It?
It used to be that you could only find silken tofu in specialty stores, but now it's everywhere! Most grocery store chains carry it these days. You can generally find it with the other varieties of tofu. It can be sold in tubs (which must be refrigerated) or boxes (which are shelf-stable and stocked separately from the rest of the tofu).
Silken tofu is perfect for dips, puddings, and smoothies. It can also round out cheese fillings for things like stuffed shells and cheesecake. Unlike regular tofu, there's no need to press it. You can drain it on a plate, if you'd like -- just let it sit for a few minutes and then pour off the excess water.
With its soft texture and mild flavor, silken tofu offers a great way to boost the protein content of dishes without changing their flavor profiles. Toss some silken tofu into your next smoothie or milkshake, or whirl a little into a veggie dip.
Because it isn't very porous, silken tofu isn't great at soaking up flavors. This makes it a poor choice for marinated dishes and stir-fries. Use firmer tofu for those and save silken tofu for the times when you'd like something smoother.
Oh! Silken tofu can also be an egg substitute in vegan cooking. Simply puree it in a blender or food processor and use 1/4 cup of the tofu puree for each egg. While it won't affect the flavor, silken tofu will increase the density of the dish, so it's best when used in heavier baked goods like brownies.
Which Recipes Already Feature Silken Tofu?
I love silken tofu, and it's a regular player in my kitchen. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that feature it...
- Banana Pudding
- Chocolate Mousse
- Crustless Cheesecake
- Fruit Silk Dessert
- Herbed Veggie Dip
- Lightened-Up Lasagna
Which will you try first?
And finally, here's a free PDF handout with the recipe for a creamy tomato basil soup (silken tofu is the secret ingredient!)...
We're here to help you look your very best, right now! Here are some other great resources from the Nutrition Education Store!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.