Go vegan (4) with tofu and avocado

The Epicurean sets the record straight on tofu. The key is to use its qualities carefully.


  • 1 block silken tofu
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a few drops of sriracha or other hot sauce

With this final article in the series of vegan recipes, I want to set the record straight on a great injustice: the misconceptions about tofu. The general impression of tofu is that it is a poor, flavourless substitute for meat products. For comparison, imagine someone saying the same thing about cheese, just because they have only tasted ricotta or cream cheese: good as a filler in desserts, but not much good for anything else. You’d think they are crazy, but the same applies to tofu, which is made in a process very similar to cheese.

Also like cheese, tofu has a lot of variaties of texture and flavour. There are young, soft (or silken) varieties of tofu with a very delicate, sweet, creamy texture and flavour, as well as aged, mouldy varieties with a strong, assertive taste. The key to tofu is to use its qualities carefully and let it shine without relegating it to serving as a mere replacement for other ingredients or a placeholder for protein.

Silken tofu

The recipe for today is one I discovered recently in a book by the wonderful Fuchsia Dunlop and is perfect for a light appetiser or side dish. Quick and very easy to prepare, it allows one to taste the character of tofu at its best. It uses silken tofu, which is delicate and custardy in texture, combined with creamy avocado and salty soy sauce. You can find silken tofu packages at the Amazing Oriental supermarket on the Korreweg (and probably many other tokos) and it is key to this recipe, so avoid substituting any other kind.

Drain the block of tofu well and then cut it into 5mm slices along the short side – this should yield about 12 to 15 slices. Arrange them on a plate like a fan, each piece overlapping another. Do the same with the peeled avocado, slicing it in 3 to 4mm pieces and fanning them out on top of the tofu.

Grate or finely dice the garlic clove and mix it with the soy sauce. Drizzle this on top of the tofu and avocado and dot with the hot sauce. Serve at room temperature and enjoy with a lightly chilled white wine.

Anastasios Sarampalis is a lecturer at the Psychology Department.