How To Prep Tofu Pieces For The Perfect Ground Beef Swap

If you've recently become vegetarian, or you're simply trying to eat less meat, then you need to know about this tip: Tofu pieces can be used for a vegetarian swap for ground beef. To make tofu ground "beef," you'll need a 14-ounce block of extra firm tofu, as well as spices, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and one tablespoon of olive oil.

Extra firm tofu is essential because it will result in a more meat-like texture than silken tofu will, and it won't fall apart during the cooking process. Soy sauce and nutritional yeast will add plenty of umami flavor, which is essential to making the dish taste more meat-like. As for the spices, feel free to get creative with what's in your spice cabinets, but garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika (about ½ teaspoon to one teaspoon each) are all great choices. If you want to make it spicy, add cayenne pepper or chili powder.

Make sure to press the tofu beforehand to get rid of all of that extra water. Next, combine the olive oil, spices, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast in a bowl. Crumble the tofu, using your fingers to break it into small pieces, then add the tofu to the spice mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread out the tofu onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring halfway through. Make sure to keep an eye on the tofu to make sure it doesn't burn.

How to use the tofu ground 'beef' in recipes

Now that you know how to make tofu ground "beef," you can explore the recipe possibilities this vegetarian version offers — you can use it for any recipe that you would include ground beef in. This means you can use it in a sloppy joe sandwich or in a batch of Tasting Table's Instant Pot spaghetti.

If you're in the mood for tacos, you can use the ground tofu in our easy ground beef street tacos or any of your favorite go-to taco recipes. Similarly, you can use it for tostadas or as a filling in quesadillas. The ground tofu can also lend a meat-like texture to a plate of cheesy nachos, whether traditional nachos or loaded Mediterranean nachos.

The ground tofu is also the perfect filling for stuffed peppers, which are arguably the most satisfying and delicious when they contain a meat (or "meat"). You can follow our recipe for southwest turkey-stuffed baked peppers — replacing the turkey with tofu — or, for a different take on the dish, use it for a stuffed pepper skillet recipe. Additionally, the ground tofu will taste delicious as an addition to a simple vegetable stir fry, served over rice or noodles.