Learn how to freeze tofu, for a delicious crumbly texture that’s perfect for tacos! Then go and make these scrumptious tofu tacos!
I initially named this post “frozen tofu tacos.” But the tacos themselves aren’t frozen. Frozen tacos not involving chocolate don’t appeal all that much to me. And no, the tofu is no longer frozen when you make it into a taco, but “thawed tofu tacos” sounded like a weird title. And finally, the freezing step in this recipe has nothing to do with convenience or long term storage, though that might be an incidental benefit. The texture of tofu changes when you freeze it. If you fall into the group of people that avoid tofu for not being fond of the texture, this just might be the tofu recipe for you!
Tofu tacos made frequent appearances on my dinner menu when I was in college. Back then I didn’t know about freezing tofu. My recipe was also much simpler: some crumbled tofu cooked in oil and taco mix. If you’re in a pinch, that version is actually pretty good. It came to mind when I was thinking back on old recipes from my past that I might want to share for this blog. I decided it was time for a more grown-up version of the recipe. The extra effort involved in the little bit of chopping and mixing up your own seasonings is well worth it. I also realized that frozen tofu would be perfect for this recipe.
So what does happen to tofu when you freeze it? It takes on an extra firm, extra texturized crumbliness. That’s about the best I can describe it. Any excess water that is left in the tofu when you freeze it will squirt right out when you crumble it. Seriously, be careful. I squirted myself in the face when I was making these. When you cook it up you get a texture that isn’t too far from some of the meatless crumbles you can buy at the store, but it’s a bit lighter.
So, how do you go about freezing tofu? Well, thanks for asking. I’ve got my very own little step-by-step-process on how to freeze tofu. It’s easy!
How to Freeze Tofu for Awesome Texture
- Grab some tofu. This can be a brand new, unopened package of tofu, or a piece of uncooked tofu that’s leftover from a recipe. Doesn’t matter! It can be pressed, or it doesn’t have to be. If it’s not in a package, stick it in a freezer bag. Pro tip: if it is unwrapped, cut it into single serving-sized pieces, so you can thaw just as much as you need, when you need it.
- Stick it in the freezer. Leave it there until it’s frozen solid.
- When you’re ready to use the tofu, pop it out of the freezer and thaw it. You can speed up this process in the microwave or by placing the tofu, still in it’s package or a sealed bag, into a bath of hot water.
That’s it. Take out as much as you want to use just a few hours before serving and you’ve got a whole new tofu. I know it seems really simple, but when I started doing this I had a bunch of questions. I wondered how long I needed to freeze my tofu in order to change the texture. It doesn’t seem to matter. Should I press it? Again, doesn’t matter! What kind of tofu does this work best with? Extra firm, but I’m sure regular old firm tofu would do the job too.
Serves 4 tacos
Learn how to freeze tofu, for a delicious crumbly texture that's perfect for tacos! Then go and make these scrumptious tofu tacos!
5 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed
- 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce of choice (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 taco shells or small tortillas (corn or flour)
- Lettuce, tomato, salsa, avocado, and/or your favorite taco toppings
- Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute, until very fragrant.
- Crumble the tofu into the skillet, keeping it as chunky as you like. Cook about 2 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Be careful, as tofu that's been frozen tends to burn quicker. Add the bell pepper to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes more, until it begins to get tender. Add the tomato sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce and spices to the skillet, and continue to cook just until everything is well mixed and the liquid dries up just a bit, about 2 minutes, adding a bit of water to the skillet if it dries too much.
- Divide the mixture into taco shells and top with toppings of choice.