You may know what to do with firm and extra firm tofu, but here’s a primer on how to use silken tofu, which can replace dairy in recipes both sweet and savory.
Even if you cook with tofu all the time, there’s a chance you skip the packages marked “silken” at the grocery store. After all, many recipes call for either firm tofu, like our Saag with Tofu recipe, or extra firm tofu, like our Grilled Tofu Torta recipe. In these cases, you press tofu, you might marinate it, and you can crisp it up to perfection for a variety of savory vegetarian dishes.
What do you do with silken tofu, then? Well, when you realize it can be used in place of dairy in your favorite creamy soups and fluffy desserts, silken tofu might just become your new best friend!
Related Reading: How to Make Dairy-Free Ice Cream
What Is Silken Tofu?
As a quick history lesson, tofu originated from China in the second century, B.C., and saw advances in processing starting in the 1960s in Japan. Tofu is made by coagulating protein and oil in soy milk, and silken tofu specifically uses a method that allows it to be processed within its container, keeping it soft and squishy without breaking apart. According to Morinaga Nutritional Foods, producer of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu, silken tofu is smoother and creamier, with a higher water content than its spongy counterparts.
Mori-Nu Soft Silken Tofu, Pack of 12 $23.34 on Amazon
This silken tofu is extremely versatile but it's an absolute must for dairy-free soups and smoothies.
How to Use Silken Tofu
Many Asian soup recipes call for silken tofu as little soft cubes in savory broth, like in miso soup or in our Korean Kimchi Tofu Soup recipe. There is, however, a whole other world of recipes that use silken tofu as a protein-rich provider of creamy texture, in place of dairy milk, yogurt, or cream. Let’s check out how silken tofu can give you smooth smoothies, velvety soups, and dreamy desserts—all without the addition of dairy!
As you might know, once you’ve got a good basic smoothie recipe, you can start experimenting with other flavors and additions. This recipe needs only silken tofu, soy milk, and frozen fruit, and you’ll reap all the protein benefits of tofu while its mild flavor blends away with strawberries and bananas taking center stage. Swap in some of your favorite fruits to tailor the taste to your personal preference. Get the Tofu Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipe.
Or, skip the trip to the coffee shop, and skip the dairy, too, when you make this vegan frappuccino. Silken tofu makes this drink super creamy and totally plant-based. You can see how silken tofu can be your versatile, dairy-free best friend in the world of smoothies and smoothie-like drinks. Get the Tofu Mocha Frappuccino recipe.
Creamy soups can feel sort of sinful when you add heavy cream or coconut milk, amping up the fat levels in your dish. But what’s the alternative? If you guessed silken tofu, you are correct! Try it for yourself with this recipe. Velvety texture from a low-fat, vegan ingredient? Yep, silken tofu is amazing. Get the Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe.
The exclamation point is very appropriate in the name of this recipe. Vegan? This soup? But it’s so creamy and satisfying! Turns out, silken tofu can do that. Try this recipe as-is or take your cue from it and simply replace cream with silken tofu in your next batch of blended soup, and witness the awesome power of this processed soy product to enrich anything. Get the Vegan(!) Creamy Corn Soup recipe.
Related Reading: 9 Ways to Make Your Favorite Recipes Vegan
Silken tofu can also power your desserts. Try this recipe, and you might be surprised how a dessert with protein and not-too-much fat can be so decadent. With only silken tofu, cocoa powder, sweetener, and vanilla extract, you can whip up this mousse in less than 15 minutes. Get the Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe.
If 15 minutes sounds impressive, then this next recipe which claims to take only five minutes might leave you awestruck. Even if this recipe sets you back a few extra minutes (if you’re slower with ingredient measurements or prep, like me), it’s still so simple with its silken tofu and shredded coconut base. Since the “cream” comes from the silken tofu, it’s healthier than it looks too. Get the Five-Minute Vegan Coconut Cream Pie recipe.
Any of these recipes for smoothies, soups, and desserts will give you a taste of what silken tofu can do for your favorite foods. All the creaminess you’re dreaming of and none of the dairy, plus protein. Pick up a few packs of silken tofu during your next grocery shopping trip, and try blending it up into something magical.
Do you have a favorite silken tofu recipe? Share it with us in the comments.
Header image courtesy of Morinaga.