My friend Warren just asked me if I knew any good recipes for tofu that his daughter (who is an alleged super-taster — and often picky as a result) will eat. Tofu is one of those things that get a bad rep just on name alone; the name has come to stand for anything fringe and extreme. When I was a kid, my friends didn’t want to come over to dinner at my house because they thought they would have to eat “tofu.” But even my mother refused to let tofu into the house. It wasn’t until years later that I learned to enjoy it.

I never understood tofu until I went to Japan. There, I watched Eve (4 years old at the time) eat a silky cube of tofu and soy sauce with a spoon like pudding. And little cubes of tofu in miso soup are a family favorite.

But hmmm … what to make for an American teen who’s never been to Japan? The texture alone is enough to make most American kids freak out. Here is what I recommend: make it crispy! You can make this recipe easily, and flavor it in all different ways … eat it plain, add tomato sauce, make a sweet dipping sauce, serve it as croutons in salad! This is your basic kid- and queasy-adult-friendly tofu recipe that will get anyone’s taste for tofu up and running.

And remember … always buy ORGANIC tofu. Don’t even bother with nonorganic tofu, because it’s made with GMO soybeans, which can cause everything from organ failure to accelerated aging (which your teens might want, but you don’t).

Crispy Tofu


1 package firm or extra-firm organic tofu
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt or soy sauce to taste
2 cloves garlic


1. Take the tofu out of the package, and press any liquid out of it.

2. Slice it into cubes. Bigger cubes take longer to cook. Tiny cubes cook more quickly.

3. Coat in olive oil.

4. Chop the garlic and toss into the tofu and olive oil.

5. You can either sauté the tofu in a pan on top of the stove or bake it in the oven. Sautéing it on high heat gets it crispy in about 10 minutes. Baking it at about 350°F can take up to a half hour, depending on the size of the cubes. Experiment! Enjoy!

I like to add chili peppers, but then my kids won’t eat it. This also makes a great snack when you want something that feels like all carbs but isn’t. It’s full of protein!

This article was reprinted with permission. For more from Maria Rodale, go to