Can You Eat Raw Tofu? Here’s What You Should Know

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Ron Lach

Can you eat tofu raw? That’s kind of a trick question! We’ll look at what you should keep in mind, and give you some ideas on how to use it in dishes.

Eating Tofu Raw: Is It Possible?

Tofu is a great source of vegetable protein and is a versatile ingredient that can be easily integrated into any diet. Many recipes call for frying, baking, deep-frying, or even grilling the tofu. However, you can absolutely eat tofu “raw” and make many dishes more nutritious.

You can read more about the ingredients here: Tofu Health Benefits: Behind the Protein Powerhouse

raw vegetables
Because the soy milk has already been boiled, ‘raw’ tofu is perfectly safe for consumption and goes great with a variety of dishes! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Alesia Kozik )

We need to set the record straight: tofu is never actually “raw”. It’s made from boiled soy milk, which is coagulated using calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride, or nigari (a salt extracted from seawater). This causes the soy protein in the liquid to clump together. This can then be separated from the liquid and pressed into blocks.

Did you know you can make your own tofu? Silken Tofu: How to Use This Soft Tofu Variety

Like almost all legumes, raw soybeans contain lectins, proteins that are toxic to humans. However, you can destroy lectins by heating. Tofu is made from cooked soy milk, as described above, and therefore no longer contains lectins. So eating tofu raw simply means that you’re using and eating it without further heating – and that’s perfectly safe.

Raw Tofu Recipe Inspiration

raw tofu
Tofu takes on any flavor you give it, which is why marinated tofu is a delicious part of any meal. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Polina Tankilevitch)

Eating Natural Tofu Raw

Tofu comes in many different consistencies, due to different moisture contents and processing methods. You’ll find natural tofu with diverse textures, from soft and silky to dry and rather crumbly. The flavor of these varieties is fairly unnoticeable, so you can use natural tofu raw in many dishes without the soy flavor taking center stage. 

  • Protein-rich smoothie: As a satisfying base for your morning breakfast smoothie, you can simply add some raw natural tofu to the blender. This not only makes the smoothie extra creamy, but also keeps you full for longer due to the protein in the tofu. 
  • Light chocolate mousse: This recipe for vegan chocolate mousse proves that raw silken tofu makes a wonderful (and easy) vegan dessert.
  • Dips, dressings, and sauces: You can use silken tofu to make sauces, dips, and dressings. Purée it into a cream and you’ll have the basis for a vegan sour cream!
  • Vegan feta alternative: You can marinate firm tofu raw in oil with Mediterranean herbs to make vegan feta cheese

Smoked and Marinated Raw Tofu Ideas

Smoked tofu has a firmer texture and a stronger taste than natural tofu. There is now also a range of tofu products that add variety with a tasty marinade or additional ingredients such as herbs, nuts, and spices. You can eat all of these tofu varieties raw!

  • Smoked tofu sandwich: If you’re looking for a hearty snack, raw smoked tofu is a great topping. It’s filling, has a delicious smoky flavor, and pairs well with your favorite sandwich toppings.
  • Tofu as a topping: Diced smoked tofu or marinated tofu work well in salads, stews, or as a topping in soups. It’s a time saver too, since you don’t have to worry about cooking it!

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Tofu roh essen: Ist das gesund?  

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