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What is tofu and is it a healthy alternative?



As plant-based diets are becoming mainstream across the world, tofu is gaining momentum as a healthy and versatile food option.

It might look bland or even intimidating at first, but this protein-rich food is actually easy to cook and it can be very tasty thanks to its ability to take on the flavors of anything you are cooking it with — all while providing you with plenty of important nutrients.

Tofu is essentially a food produced from condensed soy milk pressed into solid white blocks, a process somewhat similar to making cheese (although contrary to popular belief, tofu is not meant to be a cheese replacement). It originated in China and it has been a staple of Asian cuisines for hundreds or thousands of years, now becoming popular in Western cuisine, particularly for those who want replacements for animal protein.


It is believed that tofu was discovered by a Chinese chef more than 2,000 years ago when he accidentally mixed fresh soy milk with nigari — the liquid or powder that remains when salt is extracted from seawater. Nigari is a coagulant rich with minerals that help tofu solidify and keep its form.

Tofu can be purchased in bulk or individual packages. It can also be found dehydrated, freeze-dried, jarred, or canned — its versatility being one of the main reasons why it has become a favorite of many.

It’s a cheap way to include plant-based protein in a diet, usually costing less than $2 for a two to four serving block. It can be made at home if you really know what you’re doing, but you’re probably better off with the off-the-shelf options.

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