Tofu might be your new favorite plant-based protein because of its high nutritional quality however, what it contains in nutrients, it naturally lacks in flavor. A common FAQ is around how to season tofu and other plant-based foods. This article will cover the basics/foundations for the best seasonings for tofu and provide other tips for using herbs and spices in your plant-based dishes.
FAQ: How to Season Tofu?
Since tofu is naturally flavorless and takes on the taste of the meal, the flavor options for this plant-based food are endless!
Spices that pack a punch include cayenne, chili, curry, onion, and garlic. Fresh or dried herbs that can be used include basil, ginger, lemongrass, and oregano. Other flavorings that add pizazz are lemon juice, mushrooms, sesame oil or seeds.
Another easy way to flavor tofu is to let it marinate for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of vinegar (eg. rice wine or balsamic vinegar), olive oil, and any herbs/spices mentioned above.
Other Tips for Using Herbs and Spices for Plant-Based Foods
Some may think that plant-based nutrition can be bland, but it does not have to be that way, and shouldn’t be! Fresh and dried herbs and spices can easily add a boost of flavor to your favorite dishes without adding any additional salt.
- Before trying a new spice, use your hands to crush a small portion first, then smell the aroma and taste it to see if you like it.
- A rule of thumb when adding herbs and spices is to use 1 ml (¼ tsp) dried or 4 ml (¾ teaspoon) fresh for each 500 ml (2 cups) of soup/sauce and then increase as desired.
- Fresh herbs are not as concentrated as dried ones, so use three times the amount of fresh herbs. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried herbs, you can use 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
- To get the full flavor of whole spices such as cinnamon sticks or whole cloves, cook your dish for at least an hour.
- For salads or dressings, let the food sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to bring the flavors out.
Seasoning Guide for Plant-Based Foods
|Tofu||Cayenne, chili, curry, onion, garlic, basil, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, lemon juice, mushrooms, soy sauce, and sesame oil|
|Asparagus||Garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, and onion|
|Cauliflower||Chili, cayenne, or curry powder, garlic, nutmeg, paprika, onion, and star anise|
|Corn||Green pepper, fresh tomato, cilantro|
|Cucumber||Vinegar (any kind), pepper, dill, garlic and chives|
|Beans (green)||Dill, chili, nutmeg, marjoram, oregano, shallot, pimento, and lemon juice|
|Tomatoes||Fresh or dried basil, marjoram, onion, oregano, onion, and parsley|
|Green peas||Green pepper, garlic, onion, parsley, ginger, mint, fresh or dried mushrooms|
|Mixed green salads||Dressing: olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice mixed with dijon mustard. |
Add ins: fresh or powdered garlic, onion powder, chives, fresh or dried parsley, black pepper, dried oregano
|Potatoes (White)||Green pepper, fresh or dried dill and parsley, onion, black pepper, garlic, chives, mace, oregano, turmeric, and paprika|
|Potatoes (Sweet)||Cinnamon, brown sugar, allspice, paprika|
|Rice||Green pepper, chives, fresh or dried onion powder, paprika, fresh parsley|
|Pasta||Cumin, cardamom, mushrooms, dill, onion, peppers, pimento, thyme, turmeric, saffron|
|Squash||Brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, allspice, sage, thyme, and onion|
Now that you know the basics/foundations for how to season tofu and use herbs and spices on a plant-based diet, it’s important to remember that the more you experiment, the more confident you will become in flavoring various dishes. Get creative when spicing up your plant-based foods!
How do you season tofu? What are your go-to herbs and spices in your meals? Let us know by commenting below!
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