Tofu is a great plant-based protein for any high fat ketogenic diet! If you’re wondering “is tofu keto?” then you’ve come to the right place! It’s high in protein, low in carbs, and has a good dose of healthy fats. It’s also super versatile and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
Here at Cast Iron Keto, we’re huge fans of tofu! It’s amazingly versatile, you can use it in savory and sweet dishes, in sauces, dressings, even ice cream! Before Cast Iron Keto became plant-based + keto, we already had a few tofu recipes on the site and we’re always adding more. One question we get often is the question “is tofu keto?” First, let’s talk about what tofu actually is.
What is tofu?
Tofu is an ingredient that originated in China about 2000 years ago. Made from soybeans, it’s similar to cheesemaking, the process starts with curdling soy milk then pressing the solid curds into blocks of different levels of firmness. We always opt for organic soy products as soy crops are heavily genetically modified and as much as 90 percent of the soy crop in the United States is treated with pesticides.
Types of tofu
Tofu is broken into categories by the texture of consistency of the tofu. This firmness is determined mostly by the water content in tofu, the more water the softer the tofu is. That’s why in a lot of savory dishes where tofu is used as the protein, the tofu is pressed to remove the water content and make it firmer. Here are the different types of tofu:
Silken tofu is a silky, very soft, tofu with the highest water content. It barely keeps its shape when handles and is mostly used in sauces, “cheesecakes”, smoothies, and creamy fillings. For a Keto diet, this tofu is great for sauces/dressings, making a cream sauce, smoothies, ice cream, etc.
Used to make spreads, tofu scrambles, or scrambled “eggs”. This tofu is slightly more firm than silken.
Probably the most popular type of tofu, firm tofu is firm enough for stir-frys. You can also find smoked tofu, it makes a great BBQ bowl! You can also use firm tofu to make thicker spreads.
This tofu is great for marinating. If using in stir-frys or pan-frying, you may want to press the tofu, read on below for our best pressing tips!
Extra-firm tofu has the same uses as firm for the most part but this type doesn’t absorb marinades or sauces as much. It is a bit easier to fry if you’re trying to make a crispy style tofu dish. We like this style for baked tofu dishes and fried tofu dishes the most.
As dense as meat and makes a great meat substitute! Cubed and fried in oil, it makes a great plant-based chicken substitute. Ground, it makes a great ground meat substitute for things like tacos, bowls, and more.
There are a few other fun types of tofu-like tofu skin and tofu pockets but these above are the most widely used.
Nutritional Profile of tofu + carb content
One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of tofu has the following:
- Calories: 74
- Protein: 8 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Grams of net carbs: 1 gram
- Fat: 4.8 grams
- Manganese: 31% of the RDI
- Calcium: 20% of the RDI
- Selenium: 14% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 11% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 9% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Zinc: 6% of the RDI
You can see that the answer to “is tofu keto?” is a resounding YES! Tofu is high in protein, low in carbs, and has a good dose of fat plus plenty of micronutrients. We always get the question of how to get enough protein on a vegan keto diet but it’s relatively simple!
We actually quite like that we can eat more tofu than the amount of say, chicken, that we could fit into our macros before going plant-based. While tofu is a good source of protein, it isn’t easy to overeat like chicken is in our opinion. It’s perfect for balancing your carb intake with your protein and fat intake making it perfect for a plant-based diet. And even if you’re not plant-based, tofu is still super delicious and a great way to balance your protein intake.
Our favorite soy tofu brand
Hands down, our most used tofu is Hodo Firm Tofu. It’s pre-pressed, made from high protein organic soybeans, and works flawlessly every time.
Before stumbling upon Hodo, we were using Trader Joe’s or Wildwood sprouted organic tofu and found that the firmness was always different from package to package. With those other brands, pressing is also essential and we don’t like taking the time most of the time to properly press tofu.
Hodo to the rescue! If you can find Hodo, we highly recommend it. Otherwise, the pressing tips we share here will be your go-to.
How to press tofu
While there are tofu presses that you can pick up relatively cheaply, we usually opt to go the DIY route:
- Simply place a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan
- Place the tofu on the rack, cover it with another sheet pan
- Then, plop something heavy like a dutch oven on top
- Leave it be for 30 minutes or so before slicing and cooking
It’s amazing how much liquid comes out after pressing tofu!
To recap on the question of, is tofu keto?
As you can see, you can definitely include tofu in any low-carb diet. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comment section below!