I really wanted to write about tofu recipes for kids, because I know so many families who are trying to work more plant-based foods into their meal-planning these days. I also know it can be daunting; when my family switched to vegan-at-home several years ago, I had no clue where to start. So I thought, why not tofu!
My first attempted to cook tofu — boiled in a thin soup — was a good reminder that no matter how good my recipe repertoire on traditional proteins, I had a lot to learn about cooking tofu. Especially for kids.
So I did! And today, even though my husband is the only one of us who still eats a completely vegan diet, my kids have some tofu recipes they love. As in, they ask me to add these to our meal plans at least once a month.
Not only do they ask, but they always get scarfed down with no leftovers.
At top: double-dredged tofu with Gochujang glaze at Olives for Dinner
Vegan fried rice at Minimalist Baker;
Related: Is it realistic to go vegan with kids? One mom’s real-life tips and tricks.
5 tofu recipes for kids that they will eat…and love
If you’re trying to get started on cooking tofu for kids, or you just want some new kid-approved recipes to help mix things up at dinner time, start with these five, all picked by our own kids — Lisa’s, Christina’s and my own — regularly.
And no, the boiled-tofu soup didn’t make the cut.
1. Tofu Fried Rice
Photo: Minimalist Baker
My best trick for getting kids to try tofu for the first time: mix it favorite flavors and foods they already know and love. For my family, that’s fried rice. So I’m excited that Christina sent me this Vegan Fried Rice recipe from go-to site Minimalist Baker, that Christina’s own family asks for at least once a month.
The recipe calls for dicing the tofu into little, tiny bites, but you can also buy tofu pre-diced, if you want to save some time. The small size maximizes the crispy edge factor, and helps absorb plenty of sauce, making this extra appealing to kids.
Related: Our favorite vegetarian and vegan BBQ dishes for summer cookouts
2. Tofu with Gochujang Glaze
Photo: Olives for Dinner
As I mentioned, the key to getting kids to try tofu for the first time is getting it crispy and full of flavor, and this is another wonderful way to achieve both. Olives for Dinner has a fabulous recipe for a Korean double-dredged tofu with Gochujang glaze that is without a doubt my kids’ #1 favorite tofu recipe.
I like serving these crispy, flavor-packed nuggets over rice or in DIY bibimbap bowls. With the coating, frying, and spicy-sweet Gochujang sauce, it’s hard to tell that it’s tofu under there at all — but it’s there.
3. Greek Pasta with Tofu
Photo: Kate Etue for Cool Mom Eats
My own Greek Pasta with Tofu recipe is definitely a tofu recipe for kids, because hey, who doesn’t love spaghetti? My tip is to give the tofu a really good, really long sear. You want those edges crispy (can you sense a theme here?) and really well-coated in the Greek spices.
This is a recipe I’ve tweaked over the years, and it couldn’t be easier:
- Set one box of pasta to boil. We usually use spaghetti or linguini.
- Take one container of extra-firm tofu and press dry. Generously season with Greek seasoning blend. (Generally a blend of oregano, garlic, onion, dill, parsley, marjoram and thyme.
- Dice the tofu, then sauté until crisp and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise (vegan mayo works just fine) with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons Greek seasoning.
- Toss the mixture with the drained pasta and serve.
That’s it! You can also add any green veggies you like, from peppers to asparagus to peas. Depending on your kids’ preferences, you can finish off with a small jar of pimentos, fresh cherry tomatoes, or kalamata olives — or in our home, all three.
Related: How to put together an easy pasta bar to feed picky toddlers and hungry teens alike.
4. Honey Sesame Tofu
Photo: Chungah Rhee
Lisa’s kids adore this easy Sheet Pan Honey Sesame Tofu recipe by Chungah Rhee of Damn Delicious, found on The Kitchn. (You know how much we love our sheet pan dinners around here!) The tofu crisps up really nicely in the oven with that sweet and sticky honey sesame sauce. I’d even reserve some extra sauce for dipping, once it comes out of the oven.
The recipe suggests carrots and green beans, but you could serve this tofu with any veggies your kids like. I’d roast some peppers on the sheet pan and steam some sugar snap peas while rice cooks, so we can whip them up into Asian-inspired DIY dinner bowls. Perfect tofu recipe for kids. And the video on The Kitchn is especially helpful if you’re somewhat new to tofu.
5. Crispy Adobo Tofu
While most of our favorite tofu recipes for kids use Asian flavors, I was so excited when Christina sent me this Crispy Adobo Tofu recipe from ScheckEats, I can’t wait to try it. Doesn’t look like just like chicken nuggets?
TikTok recipe developer Jeremy Scheck (he’s good, promise!) discovered that tearing it into rough chunks of tofu, rather than those perfectly diced cubes I always do, can impart the tofu with a more natural look, and that familiarity can be appealing to kids. Plus Christina swears his method of coating the tofu and baking it at high temps creates the crispiest breading. Just watch his original TikTok video to hear that crunch.
Jeremy serves the finished tofu in rice bowls, but you could also do tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, or any other Mexican-inspired dish. Enjoy!