NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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National Soyfoods Month

National Soyfoods Month

            Celebrations of certain foods during a certain month has been a frequent topic of these columns and this column is no exception.  April is National Soyfoods Month, a time for celebrating the versatility, sustainability and all-around high satisfaction factor of tofu comfort food recipes. Soyfoods are affordable, readily available ingredients that make it easy to incorporate plant protein into your favorite recipes.

            National Soyfoods Month in April is the ideal time for discovering tofu’s comfort food potential. Think of it as soymilk’s cheese equivalent. Tofu is bean curd, made from soymilk. In Asia, tofu has been a staple since ancient times, with its use in ancient China going back more than 2,000 years. 

            Like other soyfoods that provide approximately 7 to 15 grams of high-quality protein per serving, tofu is a complete protein. It offers all eight of the essential amino acids needed for healthy growth, without the saturated fat often found in animal sources of protein. Tofu is especially versatile because it comes in several forms. In fact, it just might qualify as an emerging American comfort food.

            Tofu itself is bland, and comes in a variety of textures that lend themselves to numerous comfort-food recipes. Tofu takes on flavors, and can be marinated, basted, baked, fried, grilled, crumbled, used in cheesecakes and other desserts, in creamy salad dressings, soups and in vegetable dishes. Here are some ideas from The Soyfoods Council.

            Silken tofu works well for party dips, creamy soups, smoothies and rich desserts. Water-packed tofu (available in soft, firm and extra-firm textures) can be added to casseroles, stir-fry dishes or pastas and salads. It’s also a favorite for grilling season.

            Tofu Bites are made with firm water-packed tofu. Drain the tofu, press out extra liquid and cut tofu into cubes. Marinate the tofu in any prepared sweet and spicy sauce you prefer. Coat the marinated tofu in panko breadcrumbs and cook for 6 minutes in the air fryer, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time.

            Soft silken tofu is a great basis for a variety of creamy salad dressings.  For Lemon-Poppy Seed Salad Dressing combine silken tofu with mayonnaise, soybean oil, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, lemon juices, lemon zest and poppy seeds. Or try Mango Habanero Dressing, made with soft silken tofu, ripe mangos, minced habanero chile, lime juice, soy sauce, honey and soybean oil, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. In a blender, puree all ingredients except soybean oil and the salt and pepper. With the blender still running, slowly add the oil to emulsify.

            Extra-firm water-packed tofu can be grilled for an unusual and flavorful variation French fries.  For tofu fries, drain and pat dry extra-firm water-packed tofu. Slice the tofu into ½-inch French fry shapes, lay the slices on a platter, and pour ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce over them. Transfer to another platter and brush with soybean oil or your vegetable oil of choice. Place tofu fries on a preheated grill. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with warmed barbecue sauce for dipping.

Silken tofu adds a luxurious note to comfort food classic desserts such as cheesecake and mousse. See if your family can guess if it is tofu or cream cheese based. For more info about tofu and other soyfoods, visit the Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.

Raspberry Chambord Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

 6 tablespoons margarine, melted

 ¼ cup granulated sugar

Filling Ingredients

1 pound soy cream cheese

⅓ cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

¼ cup Chambord liqueur, or thawed frozen raspberry or berry blend fruit juice concentrate

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Topping Ingredients

1 cup soy sour cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur, or thawed frozen raspberry or berry blend fruit juice concentrate



      In a small bowl, stir together Crust ingredients until well mixed. Press into the bottom and about ½-inch up sides of 9-inch spring form pan. Chill 10 to 15 minutes.

      Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat soy cream cheese and ⅓ cup granulated sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg.  Stir in liqueur and lemon juice.

      Pour filling into crust; bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Chill 2 hours or until completely set.

In a small bowl, whisk together Topping ingredients, when ready to serve, top cheesecake slices with a spoonful of Topping and any other toppings such as chocolate syrup and fresh Serves 8 to 12.

      One serving, 277 Calories; 7 g Protein; 28 g Carbohydrates; 0.5 g Fiber; 14 g fat; 2 g Saturated Fat; 53 mg Cholesterol; 459 mg Sodium

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