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Vegetarian, dairy- and soy-free tofu substitute ideas

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years, and I've recently given up dairy and soy as well (I started having a lot of stomach issues after my second baby was born nine months ago). Tofu has always been my go-to; I loooove tofu! But now with that option gone, I'm out of ideas for what to replace it with. I've found so many vegan recipes that call for either tofu or vegetable protein, which doesn't do me any good since they're both soy-based. I eat a ton of beans, but I'd like to branch out more. Does anyone have some good suggestions for me to try?


Thank you tons!

post #2 of 10

I use lentils in place of tvp in things like tacos,sloppy lentils ect and don't miss tvp at all


What about making your own tofu but out of navy beans or white kidney beans? Or out of Almond Milk??

post #3 of 10

Is gluten out, too? If not, you could make seitan (leaving out the soy sauce called for in the simmering sauce in many recipes).

post #4 of 10

Try making Burmese tofu like this one: http://www.girlcooksworld.com/2013/03/burmese-chickpea-tofu.html or google for variations on the recipe. 


Its basically chickpea flour/besan boiled in water until it is thick then cooled to thicken it even more.  The texture is pretty different from tofu, but it can be used in place of tofu in many recipes, and I like it.


Sometimes it is called chickpea polenta, so it is worth googling for that too for more recipes using it, although chickpea polenta can also be something a bit different made with whole chickpeas instead of the flour. 

post #5 of 10

Ooh, thanks for posting the Burmese tofu. I have a sack of besan sitting in the pantry waiting for recipes.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

These look great, thank you! Gluten's ok (for now), so I'm definitely going to try making seitan. And honestly, I never even thought about making tofu from other beans, what a great idea! Definitely trying that, too!

post #7 of 10

For hearty/chunk type foods - portabellos or breaded (or unbreaded) eggplant slices work well.  (I'm thinking of stuff like stir fry or sandwiches, and places where you'd add chunks of tofu/tempeh).  Homemade seitan is great and easy (easier than I initially thought when I first made it).  


For small amounts of tvp - I've sometimes used bulgur wheat, couscous, or oatmeal as a sub before.  A sorta-chewy brown rice would likely work well too.  Come to think of it, when you happen to use tofu to make something creamy - I'd bet you could blend cooked rice with coconut milk and try that out to add thickener/bulk.  Cooked potato may work as well, depending on the dish.  

post #8 of 10

I love using quinoa as a TVP-like sub. It works perfectly and is much healthier!

post #9 of 10

Unfortunately, it doesn't work to make traditional tofu out of other beans. The reason why soybeans work to make tofu is because they have such a high protein and fat content.  To make tofu, you first make soymilk, which is basically a suspension of cooked soybeans in water.  You add nigari or calcium sulfate, substances which cause the protein and fat molecules to bunch together and coagulate.  Then you strain the coagulated material (the tofu) out of the rest of the broth and press it so that it becomes firm.  To make one small block of tofu, it takes about 4 liters of soymilk. 


Other types of beans have a much higher carbohydrate content than soybeans, so they don't have very much protein and fat in them.  If you tried to make bean tofu using a coagulant, it would require a huge amount of beans to get enough fat and protein to clump together.  I tried it one time with garbanzo beans, and it was very disappointing - tiny amount of bean tofu, and a very odd slippery consistency. 


But I've never tried making the Burmese besan tofu.  That sounds really good. 

post #10 of 10

Seems easier to just find new recipes.


When we went dairy free I started using a lot more nuts. Cashews are a great snack and wonderful on pasta.


Also, we are gluten free so I make a lot of baked goods out of almond flour. I love it when my kids ask if they can have another piece of orange cake--boiled oranges, eggs, and almonds (a bit of honey too.)


Try these places for adding almonds into your life:





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