My Mind-Blowing Red Lentil Tofu will rock your world! It is soy-free, high protein, super-easy, versatile, & made with 1 ingredient (plus water, and optional salt).
Soy-Free Tofu made with Lentils
I am so excited about this post!
I wrote about my renewed affection for tofu a few years ago when I published my recipe for chickpea flour tofu (also known as Bumese tofu). It is a game changer! Soy-free, easy-to-make, and delicious, it opened a wealth of new eating options.
Now I’ve created a brand new, soy-free tofu that is 100% my creation. It is delicious, versatile, and neutral in flavor, perfect for any and all recipes that call for tofu. It is also easy to make, requires no special equipment, and is made with one inexpensive, readily-available ingredient.
Introducing my Mind-Blowing Red Lentil Tofu!
It’s pretty in pink, too.
You will want to run to the store to purchase a bag of red lentils ASAP because this remarkable tofu is:
- Vegan (no eggs, no dairy)
- High in protein (9 grams per serving)
- High in fiber (10.5 grams per serving)
- Low calorie (128 calories per large serving)
- Easy to make
- Made with 1 ingredient (plus water & optional salt)
Ingredients for the Red Lentil Tofu
A complete list of the ingredients, with amounts and instructions, is located in the recipe card below.
The only ingredient needed to make this tofu is dried red lentils.
If you live in another country, or purchased your red lentils at an International or Indian market, you might have whole or split red lentils. Both varieties work. The recipe does not need to be adjusted, but for accuracy, weigh the lentils (141 grams, whether split or whole).
Making the recipe also requires regular tap water. I recommend adding salt to the tofu, but it is optional (and/or adjustable) depending on your needs and tastes.
Step by Step Instructions
Let’s make some tofu! It is super-easy.
Step One: Rinse the Lentils
Place the lentils in a colander or mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes any dust or debris from the dried lentils.
Step Two: Quick-Soak the Lentils
Combine the lentils and boiling water in the container of blender (regular or high-speed). Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are plump and the water has cooled.
I specifically designed this recipe to be made without the use of specialty equipment. Hence, instead of grinding the lentils into a fine flour (which would require a high speed blender or spice grinder), I quick-soak the lentils in boiling water, which allows for easy blending in a regular blender.
Step Three: Blend the Lentils
Blend the lentil-water mixture on high speed until completely smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the blender container.
Step Four: Cook the Lentil Mixture
Pour the lentil mixture into a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the remaining water and optional salt until blended.
Whisk over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the mixture is thick, glossy and coats the bottom of the pan (turn heat down to medium, as needed–the batter starts to bubble up hot bits).
Step Five: Pour Lentil Batter into Pan
Scrape the batter into an 8-inch (20 cm) square glass or ceramic baking dish, smoothing the top.
The pan does not need to be oiled or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. The tofu will release (with ease) from the pan once it is set.
Do not worry if you do not have an 8-inch dish. Use any nonreactive pan of similar shape and size, or divide the mixture between two or more smaller containers (I like the tofu to be roughly 1-inch/2.5 cm in depth).
Step Six: Chill the Tofu
Refrigerate the tofu, uncovered, for at least 60 minutes until very firm. Alternatively, leave the tofu in the refrigerator for up to 5 days until ready to use.
The surface of the tofu will be slightly darker in color and look dry once it is set.
The tofu releases some of its liquid as it sets, so if you want an extra-firm tofu, consider making the tofu at least one day in advance.
Step Seven: Unmold and Cut the Tofu
Run a dull knife around the edge of the baking dish before inverting the tofu onto a cutting board. The upended side of the tofu will be shiny and smooth.
Cut the tofu into the desired shapes and sizes you prefer for recipes and/or storing in the refrigerator.
It’s official. You’re a tofu-maker.
What is the Taste & Texture of the Red Lentil Tofu?
Red lentil tofu is smooth, firm and creamy. The flavor is neutral (more so than soy tofu or chickpea tofu), making it ideal for any and all added flavors.
How to Serve Red Lentil Tofu
Use the red lentil tofu as you would soy tofu, in stir-fries, scrambles, soups, sandwiches, kebabs, or as an ingredient in baking or dessert recipes.
I think it is delicious plain, with a favorite dipping sauce on the side. Lightly frying, baking or broiling the tofu, with just a smidge of oil, is crispy-creamy heaven! Even my resident carnivores give it big thumbs up!
FAQ & Tips
Can I Use Other Varieties of Lentils?
Yes! But there is a catch.
Other lentils (green, black, tan) work beautifully in the same proportions–no modifications are needed. Just make sure to use the same weight (141 grams). The cup measurement (3/4 cup of red lentils) may vary slightly depending on the variety of lentils.
Here’s the caveat: the taste and texture will be different.
Here is a photo of the tofu made with the common variety of tannish-green lentils:
The tofu was still delicious BUT, unlike the red lentil tofu, it had a noticeable lentil flavor. I like the flavor, but it is not the uber-neutral flavor that red lentils produce.
The texture was less smooth, too. This is likely due to the skins of the whole lentils and might be overcome by longer blending, perhaps in a high-speed blender.
The taste and texture differences are not necessarily downsides, especially depending on how you use the tofu (e.g., the addition of strong flavors and marinades), but they are features to consider.
For the most neutral flavor and light, creamy-smooth texture, stick with red lentils.
How Far in Advance Can the Tofu Be Made?
You can make the tofu up to 5 days ahead. Leave it in the original dish, or unmold it, cut into pieces, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Note that the tofu will become firmer with each passing day due to the release of liquid.
How Should I Store the Red Lentil Tofu?
As mentioned above, simply leave the prepared tofu in the baking dish, or cut and store in an airtight continuer, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I Add Flavorings Directly to the Tofu?
Absolutely! Fresh herbs, dried herbs, spices, chiles, sriracha, pepper, you name it! Simply whisk in the flavorings of your choice in step four (when the extra water and optional salt are whisked in).
Happy Cooking! I would love to know what you think of my new invention!