Chicken prices are rising. These tofu recipes will help keep your food costs in check.

Sizzling Ginger Scallion Sauce with Fried Tofu
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times; prop styling by Nidia Cueva)

Chicken consumption is expected to reach an all-time high this year yet, in order to increase margins and thus earnings, at least one major chicken producer is slowing production to generate a chicken “shortage.” The USDA anticipates that already higher than usual chicken prices will increase by 3.3 % in 2023.

Now, I’m not a mathlete, but if I had been thinking of chicken as my go-to, low-cost protein of choice, it is time to look more closely at other options. I’m thinking plant-based.

Beyond and Impossible products, et. al., are not in the running as they are often more expensive than the animal products they aim to replace and I am wary of the high level of processing and how those ingredients may impact personal health. I’m looking toward lentils, beans and tofu; and today I’ve culled some terrific tofu recipes from our archives.

Tofu has been consumed in China for more than 2,000 years and is a staple of East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.

Made by pressing coagulated soybeans into solid white blocks, it ranges in texture from “silken” to extra or super firm. It contains about 9 grams of protein in a 4 ounce serving and is a good source of calcium, manganese, copper and many other nutrients including zinc. Its subtle taste and spongy texture allow it to easily absorb the flavors of accompanying sauces and ingredients.

I just love Genevieve Ko’s Sizzling Ginger Scallion Sauce With Pan-Seared Tofu. It is easy to make and bursting with flavor from the fresh ginger and scallions. The sauce is also great with chicken or fish — if that is in your budget — and most any vegetable. Once you have drained the tofu and minced the ginger and scallions you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes (tip: to speed things up even more, purchase a jar of minced ginger — in the produce section of your local supermarket).


While eaten for breakfast in Japan, there is no reason not to serve Sonoko Sakai’s Miso Soup With Tofu And Enoki Mushrooms with lunch or even dinner. The delicate enoki mushrooms give it an elegant look and its good flavor is welcome at any time of the day.

Susan Vu’s Nori Wraps With Baked Spicy Peanut Tofu are hearty and flavorful. Chile crisp is mixed with peanut butter to create a spicy nutty sauce that coats the tofu while it bakes. Nori makes it a fun finger food and also adds a satisfying salty crunch.

Colorful and multi-textured, Dawn Perry’s Tofu Bowls With Avocado, Cabbage And Turmeric Tahini feature delicate pan-fried tofu surrounded by a melange of flavors and textures from brilliantly purple and tart lemon-lime cabbage to earthy orange and nutty turmeric tahini. Chile crisp gives it a kick (as big or small as you prefer) while avocado and brown rice (you can substitute white if you like) add additional contrasting textures.

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Sizzling Ginger Scallion Sauce With Pan-Seared Tofu

This recipe makes a lot more sauce than you need for one package of tofu, which is great because it keeps well and extra tastes wonderful on just about anything. You can halve the quantities below for a smaller yield if you’d like.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Sizzling Ginger Scallion Sauce with Fried Tofu
(Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)

Miso Soup With Tofu And Enoki Mushrooms

Miso soup is part of a traditional breakfast in Japan. Its main ingredient, miso paste, is made mostly from soybeans — “meat from the fields” as the Japanese have called it for centuries. Miso paste comes in red and white varieties. Red (aka) miso pastes like sendai and haccho are dark brown in color, and robust in flavor. White (shiro) miso pastes like saikyo are yellow in color, lighter and sweeter than red miso paste. Some miso pastes such as inaka miso, koji miso and mugi miso incorporate grains of wheat, rice, barley or soybeans to create a variety of textures and tastes.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Enoki, Miso Soup with tofu and Enoki mushroom
(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Nori Wraps With Baked Spicy Peanut Tofu

Peanut butter and chili crisp make a flavorful marinade for baked tofu served with rice and toasted seaweed.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour.

Nori Wraps with Baked Spicy Peanut Tofu. Prop Styling by Dorothy Hoover.
(Lindsay Kreighbaum/For The Times)

Tofu Bowls With Avocado, Cabbage And Turmeric Tahini

This recipe shows that seasoning tofu can really be as simple as letting it soak up soy sauce before a quick sauté to get the edges crisp and browned. Adding on avocado, creamy turmeric tahini sauce and cooked grains make it filling and texturally exciting to eat. Squeezing as much liquid as possible out of tofu is the secret to getting it delectably crisp. If you’d rather not use a ton of paper towels, you can use a couple of clean, absorbent dish towels instead.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

Tofu bowls with lemon-lime cabbage, avocado and turmeric tahini by Dawn Perry
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

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