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Low Carb Meals for Your Budget: Tofu

Colette-Heimowitz

Written by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. on April 20, 2023.

Scientifically reviewed by

Jonathan Clinthorne, PhD Human Nutrition

April 20, 2023

Tofu is a budget-friendly plant-based source of protein that complements your low carb lifestyle.

Tofu is believed to have been invented in China over two thousand years ago. It is made when soybeans are processed into soy milk, then pressed into a solid. It is less expensive than meat and is a versatile plant-based protein source that can be used in many dishes and assume any flavor. You can also buy tofu in bulk, making it a budget-friendly meal prep option.  According to Nielsen data, America’s tofu consumption has almost doubled in recent years, partly due to the growing interest in plant-based cooking.

The Facts on Tofu and Low Carb and Keto Tofu Recipes

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), half a cup of firm tofu has almost 22 grams of protein, 181 calories, 11 grams of fat and 1.9 grams of Net Carbs per serving. Tofu’s high protein level and low carbs make it a satisfying alternative to meat, whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan or want to incorporate more plant-based foods into your lifestyle. 

You can use tofu instead of meat in any meal, such as tacos, burritos, lettuce wraps, stir-fries, salads, and soups or as a substitute for eggs in scrambles, egg salad and even in desserts. While tofu is most prevalent in Asian dishes, it can take on the flavor of many cuisines, including Mexican, Greek, Italian, or traditional American barbecue.

Keep reading for delicious low carb tofu recipes for every meal:

Portobello Tofu Breakfast Broilers

You’ll love this Italian-themed hearty breakfast, with scrambled eggs and cubed tofu stuffed in Portobello mushrooms and topped with melty mozzarella cheese.

Sesame Tofu Dip

This creamy dip pairs well with cut-up veggies, low carb crackers or toasted pita bread.

Low Carb Stir Fry Veggies with Air Fryer Coconut Tofu

An Air Fryer perfectly crisps tofu, while a mixture of coconut flour and dried coconut brings crunch and texture. Pair with stir-fried veggies tossed in a tamari and Siracha sauce.

Baked Tofu with Barbecue Rub

Drizzle this baked tofu with more low-sugar barbecue sauce. Serve with Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Red Cabbage Cole Slaw

Walnut-Crusted Tofu Cutlet

This dish shows how versatile tofu is. Tahini adds creaminess, while walnuts add crunch. You can toast the walnuts and dried coconut for added texture and garnish. Swap out the walnuts for pecans, macadamias or pistachios. Mix it up with other herbs like Italian parsley, basil or cilantro.

Tofu “Fish” Sticks

This is a low carb, vegetarian version of deep-fried fish sticks, usually a no-go on a low carb lifestyle. Serve them up with traditional lemon wedges and tartar sauce. You can also use an Air Fryer instead of baking the tofu for plenty of crispiness.

Colette-Heimowitz

Author

Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc.

Vice President of Nutrition & Education

Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. is a former Director of Nutrition at The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City. With 20+ years of experience as a nutrition expert, the NY Times best-selling author is the current Vice President of Nutrition & Education at Simply Good Foods Company.

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