Tofu is an excellent source of protein that comes from plants, and it is also very compatible with the keto diet, which requires a high amount of fat for the daily functioning and maintenance of the body.
This is ideal for vegan keto dieters, and is a great replacement for milk and dairy products. Tofu is basically a curd made from soybeans, which is utilized to make very healthy and nutritious smoothies, and it even works as a replacement for meat.
It has a characteristic sour taste, but it is very versatile when it comes into the kitchen, as it possesses the capability of absorbing the flavors of the food it is being used in.
But the main question at hand is, is tofu good for people on the keto diet? Or is Tofu keto? Don’t worry, you have come to the right place, as we have discussed tofu in relation to the keto diet, in depth below. So, stick around until the very end, and let’s dive in!
What is Tofu?
Tofu has a very ancient and long history, as it was originally discovered in China about 2000 years ago. The process of making tofu is almost the same as the process of making cheese, but the difference is, tofu is made from soybeans. Tofu is made by the curdling of the soy milk first, which is followed by the pressing and compression of this curd into a firm, solid block, which gives it tofu’s characteristic ‘block’ shape.
There are many types of tofu available on the market. The kinds of tofu vary depending on the texture and the consistency of the tofu itself. This can be determined by finding out the amount of water that is in the tofu, if there is more water in the tofu, it will become softer. This is why tofu is compressed, to drive the water out from the tofu and use its firmness to make savory dishes. So, let’s dive in and see what kind of tofu there is:
- Silken Tofu:
This silken tofu gets its name from the texture, which is very silky. It is also very soft, and this kind of tofu has the most water content amongst the tofu on the market. It has a shape, which it can barely maintain, and this tofu is used in many of our favorite desserts such as cheesecakes, and fillings that are creamy. It is also used to make great smoothies, and for people on keto diets, this is excellent for dressings and sauces.
- The Regular Tofu:
This regular tofu is used to make scrambled eggs, it is used to make spreads as well, and even tofu scrambles too. This tofu differentiates from the silken tofu as it has a different, and firmer structure and shape than the silken tofu.
- The Firm Tofu:
This is the most famous tofu on the market, probably because of its firm and rigid structure and shape, and it is used for stir-fry dishes and cuisines. This can be found in a great smoked tofu as well, which is ideal for a big BBQ bowl. This tofu can also be used to make thick spreads as well. You can utilize it for marinating too!
- The Extra Firm Tofu:
This extra firm tofu and the firm tofu have similar uses and characteristics, but this extra firm tofu can’t absorb sauces and marinades the way the firm tofu can. However, it is easy to fry, and can deliver a smacking crispy tofu style dish. It is great for baking and fried tofu dishes as well.
- The Super Firm Tofu:
This super firm tofu is the best replacement for meat, as it is as dense as meat, and if you fry it in oil, it can be used as a great substitute for chicken as well. If you love ground meat, then this is the one for you, as it will replace bowls, tacos etc. This tofu is the most used tofu in the market today.
What is the Nutritional Profile of Tofu?
That’s a great question, especially for all the people who are on the keto diet, and they need to be aware of the contents of the product they are about to consume. As it is beneficial for them to remain in the state of ketosis, or they might fall out of it. The following is the nutritional profile of a serving of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of Tofu:
- Calories: 74 calories
- Carbs: 2 grams of carbs
- Protein: 8 grams of protein
- Fiber: 1 gram of fiber
- Grams of net carbs: 1 gram of net carbs
- Fat: 4.8 grams of fat
- Manganese: 31% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Selenium: 14% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Calcium: 20% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Phosphorus: 12% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Copper: 11% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Magnesium: 9% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Iron: 9% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
- Zinc: 6% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
Now that we have listed all the nutrients and the nutrition information of tofu, it is time for the big question. Is tofu keto? Let’s find out below.
Is Tofu Keto?
Keeping in mind the list of the nutrients above, it is very easy to see and say that yes, tofu is definitely keto friendly. Tofu is a very rich source of protein, and perhaps the most important thing for our keto people out there, is that tofu is very low in carbs, and that is excellent news!
This tofu has a great amount of fat as well, which is essential for the keto diet as well, and it has a rich supply of micronutrients as well, which are essential for the body.
The question that has been bothering people, about getting protein that is ample from a plant based keto diet has now been answered, and the answer is Tofu! Having said that, did you know you can eat more tofu, than the amount of chicken, if you are on a plant-based diet.
The other thing to keep in mind is, while tofu is a great source of protein, you can’t overeat or eat too much tofu, like you can with chicken, but that’s our opinion.
Tofu is great for having a perfectly balanced diet that consists of low carbs, coupled with a high fat intake and a moderate intake of protein, which makes it ideal for a plant based keto diet.
Even if you don’t want to do the plant based keto diet, you can still use tofu for your keto diet. Having said that, there is a lot you can do with tofu, there are a dozen recipes online which you can use to make great tofu meals, which are keto friendly.
We will share the recipes later, but a problem arises which needs to be addressed first. Having said that, one wonders, is there any way this keto-friendly tofu can become non-keto friendly? A point to ponder, isn’t it? Let’s discuss it in detail below.
Can Tofu become bad for Keto? Is it possible?
To answer this question, one needs to know the basics about the keto diet first. Let’s discuss what keto is first, and then let’s check out the possibility of tofu becoming a non-friendly keto food item.
Ketosis is a phenomenon that occurs once the main supply of fuel of the body shifts from glycogen to ketones. Based on the current and advanced research, it is discovered that the body burns more fat when it is in the state of ketosis.
Naturally, a question arises, as to how the body can attain the status of ketosis. Well, there are quite a few ways that can be achieved.
Having said that, now steps in the keto diet, which is the most desirable method for the body to achieve ketosis. The keto diet works by reducing the carbs the body has to consume in a day, and almost tricking the body into a state of ketosis. But there are quite a few ways you can obtain ketosis, and they are as follows:
Not eating is one way you can trick the body into ketosis, and there are quite a few health benefits attached to fasting as well. There are a few options you can choose if you plan to fast, in terms of time. You can use the 16:8 method, where you have to fast a total of 16 hours in a day, and the rest 8 hours you’ll have a window where you can eat and drink as you like.
- A Low Carb Diet:
The second way the body can achieve ketosis is by consuming less carbs, which include refined carbs and the focus of the body is shifted to ingredients which come from plants. There is a restriction placed on the consumption of carbs per day, which must not exceed the bracket of 75 to 150 calories per day.
- Fasting Mimicking Diet:
There is a 5-day Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) which puts the body into the state of ketosis in just 5 days.
Now that we have understood the concept of how to attain the state of ketosis, it is essential to grasp that the key to success lies in a low-carb diet. Having said that, let’s shift the focus towards the food at hand, tofu.
Does Tofu have carbs that can put the body out of ketosis?
Like we mentioned in the nutritional profile of tofu, it has carbs indeed. But the amount of carbs are not too many, which is a good thing. If you are looking for foods which are low in carbs and are suitable for keto, this is the one.
Tofu has very few carbs, making it an excellent keto-friendly food. The preparation is vital, as you can enjoy many healthy meals which contain tofu, and you wouldn’t have to worry about the carbs.
There are quite a few ways you can make healthy meals using tofu, we have researched and found the most simple and easy ones to make at home. So, let’s delve right in and make some yummy, healthy keto food.
Keto Friendly Tofu Recipes
If you want to make a dessert, we recommend using the silken tofu, which is creamy and is excellent to make sauces and soups and desserts. Just a key tip here, always press and dehydrate the tofu before you start cooking it.
The reason being, the tofu is packed in water which ensures freshness and a long shelf life. The following are ways you can prepare the tofu, before you actually start cooking it:
- Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain all the water and liquid inside the container.
- Now, you will have to sandwich the tofu in between two tissue papers, one on the top and the other on the bottom, and you will have to squeeze it using your hands. Once that is done, put a heavy object on the top, like a pan. This technique is vital, as it drains all the water that might be inside the tofu.
- You can also use a fancy device that is out on the market these days, and it is called the tofu press.
- Once the tofu is properly drained and free from moisture, you can cut it up into the shape of your liking, or as per the requirement of the recipe.
- There can be a few recipes which will require you to marinate the tofu before you cook it, so keep an eye out for that beforehand.
The Tofu Scramble
What you’ll need (the ingredients):
- Olive oil
- Extra-firm tofu (one block of it)
- Spices which include paprika, garlic powder, and turmeric (ground)
- Yeast Flakes
- Ground Flaxseed
- Mild Miso Paste
How to make the Tofu Scramble
- Firstly, you will have to prepare the tofu, and remove as much water as you can. You can even use a tofu press to help you out.
- Now you will need to heat a pan and add oil and the tofu to it. Break the tofu using a spatula into small strips and keep cooking it like that.
- Now you will need to make the scramble sauce, so go on ahead and add water, the yeast flakes, the turmeric, garlic powder, paprika, ground flaxseed and the mild miso yellow paste. And stir all this together.
- Simply pour it on the tofu and stir the tofu properly. Until the sauce becomes thick.
There is another great recipe we would like to share with you, and that is the Bourbon Tofu.
For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of tamari
- 2 tablespoons of ketchup (that is unsweetened)
- 2 tablespoons of low-carb granulated sweetener
- ¼ cup of vegetable broth
- 1 ½ ounces of Bourbon
- 1 chili pepper (small, we recommend using Thai chillies or red serrano)
- ½ teaspoon of grated ginger (fresh)
- 1 small garlic clove (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
- 1 pound of extra firm tofu (pressed)
How to make
- Firstly, in a large bowl mix the ketchup, tamari, broth, sweetener, bourbon, chili, garlic, ginger and the white pepper. And then add the cubed tofu, and cover the bowl and let it marinate for about an hour.
- Take the tofu out of the marinade, and put the marinade on the side. Put this tofu into another bowl, and add the cornstarch, and start mixing it.
- Now you will have to heat the oil in an iron skillet (about 10’’ or more). Once the skillet is hot enough, add the tofu and let it get brown on both sides.
- Now you will have to add the rest of the marinade into the skillet and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick. Serve and eat it immediately.
Now that we have informed you all about keto and its relation to tofu. We can safely say that this has been a nice and gradual learning curve for you.
There are many keto-friendly foods, which can become non-keto friendly, if they are prepared the wrong way. This goes to say that everything lies in the preparation. The way to obtain ketosis is pretty simple, but the real challenge lies in staying in a state of ketosis.
Tofu is a great food for the keto diet, as it is low in carbs and is high in fat, with a respectable amount of protein too. This can be a great substitute for meat and chicken, and can be consumed more as well.
That means it is more filling, and you won’t have to worry about the calories either, because those are low as well. Overall, we would highly recommend trying the recipes we mentioned above, as they are very easy to make and are super delicious as well.
Having said that, we would just like to say that the keto diet is great and has many health benefits as well. And if you plan to start the keto diet, or are already on it, then tofu is going to become your best friend, and go-to meal.