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Zone Living

Breaking down the latest research on Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
Written By: Dr. Barry Sears, Ph. D | Creator of the Zone Diet

Written by Sue Knorr
on May 14, 2024

I have been eating tofu for a very long time, much longer than the 30 or so years I have been following the Zone Diet. Back then many of my favorite recipes came from the Tassajara cookbooks by Edward Espe Brown, the celebrated chef from the kitchen at California’s famous Zen Mountain Center, and cookbooks by Louise Hagler, a.k.a. Wendy Louise, a well-known authority on vegetarian cooking who is associated with a community in Tennessee known as The Farm. Those books are still among the best resources for tofu recipes. My mantra has always been if you don’t like something, don’t eat it. Keep this in mind if you’re new to tofu, start slowly by combining it with flavors and foods you like.   

Tips and Suggestions   

  • Firm-sprouted tofu is my preference for the Zone Diet. Unlike traditional tofu, which contains significant amounts of both protein and carbohydrate, sprouted has almost no carbohydrates. It’s lighter tasting, refreshing, and very filling.  
  • Freezing tofu results in a chewy, sponge-like texture. I don’t recommend freezing, but some people prefer it when using tofu to substitute for meat in a recipe.   
  • Baked tofu comes in a variety of flavors and makes an excellent quick meal with some vegetables and fruit added. It’s also great in salads.    
  • Tofu made it into the book “The Top 100 Zone Foods” by Barry Sears.   
  • Some recipes call for draining the tofu first. I find that usually isn’t necessary.  
  • Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever is added to it.   
  • Add nutritional yeast flakes to give a cheesy flavor to vegan tofu scrambles and dips. It’s also rich in protein and vitamin B12.  

Cherry Vanilla Tofu “Ice Cream”  

Tip: This doesn’t freeze or store well, so prepare only the amount you plan to serve immediately.  

Using an immersion blender or a food processor blend equal parts of frozen dark cherries and firm tofu, plus some vanilla extract (preferably alcohol-free for best flavor). Serve immediately. 

Tofu Scramble 

This is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and we’ve even brought it on long day hikes for a snack.  

Crumble some firm tofu and stir in a generous amount of seasonings, taking care not to overdo it with the salt. Heat in a well-seasoned or nonstick skillet with a little Zone-friendly oil to the desired doneness.   

Optional: If time allows, sauté some chopped onion in the skillet before adding the tofu and seasonings.   

My favorite seasoning combination for this dish at my house is onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, paprika, some oregano or thyme, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and ground black pepper. The yellow color of the turmeric makes it somewhat like scrambled eggs.  

Tofu Veggie Almond Pasta Salad  

Dressing: Thin some smooth almond butter by stirring in some water, a little vinegar, and either soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (an unfermented soy sauce found in the health food section of most grocery stores).   

Toss together cooked Dr. Sears’ Zone PastaRx Fusilli, tofu cut into cubes, matchstick cut red bell pepper, chopped green parts of scallions (a.k.a. green onions), and the almond butter dressing. Serve immediately or chill to serve later. It will keep well in the fridge for two or three days.  

Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.  Experiment and have fun with it. Try using tofu to make cheesecakes, whipped desserts, tofu chocolate pudding, tofu “cream” based soups, tofu pot pie (think chicken pot pie), tofu burgers, tofu burritos, Buffalo tofu (like Buffalo wings), layered Mediterranean dips, tofu “meatballs”, grilled tofu, and more.   




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