Turning Kids onto Tofu

by Culinary Spelunker /
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Mar 28, 2016 / 0 comments

Pureed soybean curds. Mmmmm. Who'd like a big plate of them?

Chockful of nutrients, low in calories, eating tofu has been linked to lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of certain diseases, including cancer.  

 Turning Kids onto Tofu

But that's not going to convince your kids to give it a try.

On its own, tofu is admittedly bland and has the texture akin to ricotta cheese. The basic varieties range from semi-soft to firm. Again, it just doesn't scream, "Eat me," for kids, especially if they're already less adventurous eaters.

But before you pass by the tofu at the grocery store (at mine it's in the refrigerated section near the produce), here are some ideas to get your kids to sample this superfood – and maybe even like it.

 Turning Kids onto Tofu

Below are 5 ways I've convinced my kids to start eating tofu more regularly. And since April is National Soyfoods Month, it's a good time to encourage your kiddos to try tofu, too.

Give them a history lesson

Confession – my kids' interest in tofu wasn't sparked by some fabulous recipe I made for them. I credit Sagwa. Years ago, PBS ran episodes of Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat. Based on a novel by Amy Tan and set during the Qing Dynasty, Sagwa followed the adventures of a cat living in China circa the 1840s. My kids loved Sagwa. One episode was entitled "Stinky Tofu," and centered around Sagwa's reluctance to tell her grandfather that after he ate 100-year-old tofu his breath, well, stunk. I know, I know, that's not a ringing endorsement for tofu, but after watching the show, it sparked a conversation about food in China. We looked up information together about tofu and its origins. From what we discovered, tofu dates back 2,000 years in China, and there's even a poem from 1500 A.D., called "Ode to Tofu." If tofu has been around that long, it was worth trying I reasoned with my kids.


Let them prep it

Kids are more likely to try a food if they've helped prepared it. That's especially true of tofu – kids can cut firm tofu in cubes or slices using only a kitchen knife. Put your kids on tofu cutting duty and then let them help cook it, too. I picked up this idea from popular Cleveland chef Jonathon Sawyer, whose two kids, ages 8 and 10, are now tofu-cutting experts.

Soak it in sauce

Tofu laps up whatever liquid you pair it with, so it's a great addition to brothy soups. Add a few cubes into your favorite Asian noodle bowl soup. Even better, let your kids assemble their own soup bowls. Heat beef or chicken broth with a little bit of soy sauce. Ladle the broth into bowls and let your kids add in fixings like shredded chicken or beef, tofu, steamed vegetables, and noodles. This makes for a quick, yummy dinner.  

Crisp it

Replace the meat in some of your family's favorite dishes by using sautéed tofu instead. For example, cut firm tofu into slices and pan-fry in a drizzling of olive oil in a nonstick pan at medium-high heat. Serve over salad greens with a strong Balsamic vinaigrette. Or, what about tossing tofu into stir fries?

Mix it in

Puree silken tofu into fruit smoothies as an after school snack. Or, stir it into warm oatmeal to make it even heartier. I like to make tofu chocolate mousse as an occasional treat. The tofu acts as a substitute for some of the heavy cream, and gives the mousse its characteristically pudding-like heft. One word of caution – tofu mousse still has a bit of grittiness no matter how long you purée it. The first few times I served it along with cake as part of a dessert parfait. Once your kids get used to the texture, you can nix the cake altogether and serve it straight.

Pureed tofu mousse parfaits recipe. From  Turning Kids onto Tofu

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Based on a recipe from The Food Network


12.3-oz. package silken tofu

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ cup heavy cream

1/8 cup granulated sugar (use more if you like your desserts sweeter and less if you don't have a sweet tooth)



In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together chocolate chips and heavy cream – about 2 minutes on high power. Stir in sugar and vanilla, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Drain the tofu and then add it into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and purée again.

Add the melted chocolate mixture and pulse until smooth.

Spoon the mousse into serving dishes and chill for at least one hour before serving – preferably overnight.


Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.

Photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough