For all the soybeans grown in Illinois, the Illinois Soybean Association notes, "Animal ag is the No. 1 customer for soybeans. Of the soybean meal fed in Illinois, pigs consume 74%, poultry 13%, and beef and dairy cattle 12%."
Soy foods, like tofu, soy nuts, and edamame, are also uses for soybeans. Simply, tofu is coagulated soy milk, similar to how dairy milk is coagulated to make cheese. America's Test Kitchen has a short video showing how to make tofu.
For this blog, I want to focus on silken tofu, a custard-like, soft tofu that works well in recipes from smoothies to creamy soups to custard-like foods, including cheesecake and mousse.
A half cup (of half-inch cubes) of silken tofu contains around 75 calories, 9g protein, 5g fat, 2g carbohydrates, and <1g fiber. Tofu contain vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium. Calcium-based salts are often part of the process of coagulating soy milk into a solid mass of tofu, making tofu a source of calcium. Tofu is not a significant source of sodium.
- Buy: Silken tofu is likely available packed in water in a refrigerator case. Your store might also carry shelf-stable tofu.
- Price: Price will vary by brand and store. If multiple brands are available, pick one that fits your tastes and budget.
- Store: Store unopened silken tofu in the refrigerator. Once opened, drain water and use tofu in your recipe. For any unused tofu, add to a container with fresh water, cover, and refrigerate. Remember to change the water every day, for up to 5 days.
- Prepare: Silken tofu can be used directly out of the package.
- Baking Substitution: In baked goods, try 1/4 cup of silken tofu (pureed smooth) in place of 1 egg.
- Eat: Silken tofu has many recipe options. Try the strawberry-banana smoothie recipe at the end of this post. Try it in Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup from NDSU Extension or in this Instant Chocolate Mousse recipe from University of Illinois Extension.
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie (Serves 1)
1/2 cup sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen) (approx. 5 strawberries)
Half a peeled banana, sliced (approx. 5 banana coins)
One quarter (of a 14- to 16-ounce container) of plain, silken tofu
1. Add strawberries, bananas, and tofu to a blender. Blend 1-2 minutes, or until mixture is smooth.
Note: For a thinner smoothie, add up to 1/4 cup of soy milk or dairy milk.
Nutrition Information per serving (calculated without adding milk): 130 calories, 4 total fat, (4g unsaturated fat), 0mg sodium, 21g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 7g protein
- North Dakota State University Extension. Prairie Fare: Soy Foods Offer Variety and Nutrition. Julie Garden-Robinson. 2011
- Morinaga. FAQ. Viewed 2019.
- Nasoya Foods. Tofu FAQ. Viewed 2019.
- Today's Dietitian. Tofu's Many Faces. Virginia Messina. April 2015. Vol. 17 No. 4 P. 22
- YouTube. America's Test Kitchen DIY Tofu. 2012
- The Kitchn. 5 Vegan Substitutes for Eggs in Baking. 2015
- USDA. Agricultural Research Service. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27
Healthy Eats and Repeat
How much difference is there between canned and frozen foods? How should you cook venison? When is the best time to buy avocados? Get answers to these questions as well as other tips, tutorials and recipes for common kitchen foods and items with University of Illinois Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Caitlin Mellendorf’s blog Healthy Eats and Repeat. Build your best life. Trust Extension to help.
Caitlin Mellendorf is an Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties in Central Illinois. She is a Registered Dietitian and her work focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles. This includes providing programs and answering questions about heart health, diabetes, food safety, food preservation, grocery shopping and cooking. You can reach Caitlin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217.877.6042. Check out her nutrition blog Healthy Eats and Repeats for seasonal recipes and of an exploration of common kitchen foods.