The First Queen of Food Blogging Taught Me the Best Tofu Tip

published May 9, 2018
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

I’ve been reading Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, since before food blogs were a thing. It’s long been one of my go-tos for meat-free, veggie-heavy meals that are both nourishing and super tasty. So it should come as no surprise that I learned the most amazing tip from her latest cookbook for preparing tofu.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Shred Your Tofu on a Box Grater

When I got my hands on Swanson’s most recent cookbook, Near & Far, I was immediately drawn to a stir-fry recipe where she calls for shredding the tofu on a box grater. The recipe itself is fantastic, but it was the shredded tofu that piqued my interest and really got me excited. How had I never thought to do this before?

The texture of shredded tofu is soft, fluffy, and nothing short of amazing. Grated into thin, fine strands, shredded tofu cooks at record speed — that is, should you choose to cook it. It’s also a real treat just eaten as is, mixed into salads and noodle bowls.

But perhaps best of all is the way shredded tofu plays with sauce. When it comes to stir-fries and salads, or basically any dish that includes a sauce or dressing, shredded tofu is a sauce-lover’s dream come true. It absorbs sauce so much better than cubes and wedges, absorbing the flavor all the way through.

Some Helpful Tips for Shredding Tofu + All the Ways to Use It

Any time you’re shredding tofu on a box grater, stick with a block of firm or extra-firm tofu. Drain and press the block first to remove moisture, and then grate it over a couple of sheets of paper towels or a dish towel to absorb any excess liquid. Some of the tofu will crumble as you grate it. Don’t panic — you’re doing it right!

There really is no limit to all the ways you can put a pile of shredded tofu to work. Stir-fries, of course, are a given. Cooked or not, it’s a welcome addition to salads, noodle and rice bowls, summer rolls, and a breakfast hash.

Get the book: Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson