Ever since our first Plastic Free July, I’ve been wanting to find a plastic free tofu option for my life. I still haven’t tried making my own soy tofu from scratch because, honestly, I find it a bit intimidating. This is why I was extra excited when my friend messaged me a recipe for Red Lentil Tofu. It sounded so easy and had so much potential! I rolled up my sleeves to give this 2-ingredient recipe a try and wanted to share an honest review in case you’re thinking of giving it a try.
Why the Search for Plastic Free Tofu
I’m always looking for ways to reduce my waste. Even though the plastic on my tofu packaging can get recycled through the London Drugs’ soft plastic recycling program, I still consider recyclables a form of waste. A large percentage of recyclable items do not actually get recycled, so it’s better for the environment if we can find items with zero-waste, if possible.
Plastic Free Tofu Options
So far, I haven’t been successful in finding a plastic free tofu option. But there are a couple options that get close:
- Tempeh from Jarr Grocery Delivery, which is tempeh delivered in a jar, which gets returned to the zero waste grocery service and reused.
- Homemade tofu, which I hope to try one day. We linked the recipe in this Plastic Free July post.
Red Lentil Tofu Recipe and Review
After seeing red lentil tofu made on the cooking channel, my friend sent me a link to the recipe asking if I’d heard of it. I hadn’t, but was so excited to learn about a possible plastic free tofu option. The recipe sounded easy and I had the ingredients, so I gave it a try the first chance I got.
Find the recipe here: Red Lentil Tofu Recipe
Making the Red Lentil Tofu
When I say the recipe is easy, that almost feels like an understatement. It involves only a few steps and just two ingredients! I am not a fan of the softer tofu types, so I followed the recipe directions for firm/extra-firm tofu. This meant adding less water during the thickening process and letting the lentils sit in the fridge overnight.
Cooking With the Red Lentil Tofu
I decided to try two of my most basic, tried and true, tofu recipes to test out the red lentil tofu. These are simple, non-Instagram-worthy meals, but I thought they’d be a good way to compare red lentil tofu to actual tofu since I am so familiar with the way they taste.
Red Lentil Tofu Stir Fry
The first recipe I tried was a quick and easy stir fry. I was just experimenting and using what I had in the house, so I only included carrots in the stir fry for veggies. Since I wasn’t convinced I’d like the recipe, I didn’t want to waste a lot of food.
When cooking the stir fry, the red lentil tofu disintegrated a bit during the process. It is possible that frying the red lentil tofu longer before adding the sauce could have lessened this, but I think it would have happened to some extent either way.
How did it taste? Not that good. The partially disintegrated red lentil tofu became very soft and mushy. Even with the large amount of sauce, the lentil flavour was prominent. This was possibly due to the disintegrating factor since the lentils became a part of the sauce. That wouldn’t have been horrible except I could not get past the super soft, mushiness of the tofu.
Baked BBQ Red Lentil Tofu
Baked BBQ tofu is one of my go-to lazy meals which essentially involves baking tofu that is smothered in barbeque sauce. Baking the red lentil tofu helped take out a bit more of its moisture and firmed it up a bit, but the tofu was by no means firm at the end of baking. It did maintain its shape and did not disintegrate as it did in the stir fry.
How did it taste? Okay. But really BBQ sauce can hide most anything and make it taste okay. The firmness of the baked red lentil tofu was more bearable. It wasn’t firm, but it was not mushy like the stir fried version was.
My Overall Verdict on Red Lentil Tofu
I was really disappointed by the red lentil tofu. I was probably more disappointed that the average person because I had my hopes up really high that I found an easy plastic free tofu solution.
Other than not finding a plastic free tofu, my biggest let down was the firmness of the red lentil tofu. The firmness no where near reached firm or extra firm even with less water as per the recipe and with leaving the red lentil tofu in the fridge overnight.
If you are someone who likes medium and softer types of tofu or are someone who isn’t bothered by textures of foods, then you might like this recipe a lot better than I do.
Will I try it again?
I think I will likely try out red lentil tofu again for two reasons.
1. I want to attempt to make a firmer version of the recipe. I think I will try it one more time, using even less water than the recipe calls for to see if it is possible to get a firmer texture. Since baking the tofu was much more successful than frying it, I can at least use red lentil tofu in some baking recipes.
2. I have one recipe I make that requires medium firm tofu. It is a tofu loaf that I think would blend well with the flavour of the lentils. This will help me in my plastic free tofu mission at least for one recipe. Even with a recipe that calls for medium firm tofu, I think I’d recommend following the recipe directions for firm tofu as it was much softer than expected.
Have you ever heard of red lentil tofu? Or any other plastic free tofu options? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what options you’ve tried!