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Easy DIY Dried Bean Tofu (soy-free, 1 ingredient)

Dried beans in your pantry? If yes, you are all set to make a batch of my easy DIY dried bean tofu! ,It is soy-free, high protein, a cinch to make, versatile, & made with 1 ingredient (plus water, and optional salt).

multiple glass bowls filled with various types of bean tofu

Soy-Free Tofu made with Dried Beans

Many of you asked if my Mind-Blowing Red Lentil Tofu could be made with dried beans.

I did not know. But I put it on my to-do list of recipe testing.

That was (ahem) several months ago. Oops and apologies. But also, better late than never.

Part of what kept my dried bean tofu mission on the back burner is that I wanted to know if I could use my red lentil tofu method with almost any kind of dried beans. That would mean a lot of tofu, and a lot of refrigerator space.

With fair warning to my husband and son, I finally got to it. And (drumroll, or dried bean shaker)…SUCCESS!

With only a few tweaks to my newfangled method, I can state with confidence that you can make tofu–with ease and swift efficiency — from just about any dried beans!

overhead shot of bean tofu surrounded by dried beans

Recipe Benefits of Easy DIY Dried Bean Tofu

A few details regarding this humble recipe include the following:

  • Soy-free
  • Can be made with (almost) any dried beans
  • Vegan (no eggs, no dairy)
  • Grain-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Oil-free
  • Nut-free
  • Seed-free
  • High in protein (on average, 9 to 10 grams per serving)
  • High in fiber (on average, 10 to 11 grams per serving)
  • Low calorie (on average, 125 to 130 calories per large serving)
  • Easy to make
  • Frugal
  • Made with 1 ingredient (plus water & optional salt)

Ingredients for Easy DIY Dried Bean Tofu

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

overhead shot of multiple glass bowls filled with various dried beans

The only ingredient needed to make this tofu is dried beans.

I tested my method using six varieties of dried beans:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lima beans
  • Adzuki beans
  • Great Northern beans
  • Red beans (smaller than kidney beans)

Use the dried beans you prefer! I have a favorite, which I will share later in the post.

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

For reasons of simplicity (as well as my own sanity), the steps below feature one type of beans. However, the same steps apply to all of the dried bean varieties.

Step One: Rinse the Beans

Place the beans in a colander or mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes any dust or debris from the dried beans that may be present as a result of processing and packaging.

Step Two: Quick-Soak the Beans

white beans soaking in a glass bowl atop a marble counter

Place the rinsed and drained beans in a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over the beans to cover by at least 1/2 inch (1.25 cm). Let stand for 20 minutes until the beans are somewhat plumped and the water has cooled.

Step Three: Drain the Beans

Drain the soaked beans through a sieve or colander, discarding the soaking water. If using black beans, the water will be dark and inky; if you are new to soaking black beans, this is completely normal.

Step Four: Blend the Beans

Place the soaked, drained beans, fresh water, and optional salt in the container of a regular or high-speed blender.

soaked beans and fresh water in blender, ready to be made into bean tofu

Blend the bean-water mixture on high speed until completely smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the blender container.

blended beans and water in a blender container

Step Five: Cook the Bean Tofu Mixture

Pour the bean mixture into a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Whisk over medium-high heat (whisk the entire time) for 6 to 8 minutes until VERY THICK. Turn the heat down to medium, as needed, especially if the bubbling gets intense :).

two photo collage showing how to whisk bean tofu mixture

After 6 to 8 minutes, the tofu mixture should be very thick, glossy and will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. It will glob onto the whisk when lifted from the saucepan. If not, continue to whisk for a short while longer.

close up of bean tofu mixture being cooked in a saucepan

Step Six: Pour Bean Tofu Batter into Pan

Scrape and spread the batter into an 8-inch (20 cm) square glass or ceramic baking dish, smoothing the top.

bean tofu batter being spread into an 8-inch white baking dish

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, but there are no rules here). I do not advise using a deep pan (e.g., loaf pan). However, you could divide the tofu between two loaf pans

Step Seven: Chill the Tofu

Refrigerate the tofu, uncovered, overnight, or for at least 8 hours, until very firm. Alternatively, leave the tofu in the refrigerator for up to 5 days until ready to use.

Unmolding the Tofu

The surface of the set tofu will look dry and may have a few cracks. The tofu will look like it is pulling away from the sides of the pan.

a white baking pan filled with set white bean tofu

The tofu releases some of its liquid as it sets. This means that it will become firmer and firmer the longer it sits (less liquid=firmer tofu).

Step Seven: Unmold and Cut the Tofu

Drain away some of the liquid by tilting the pan over the sink. Run a silicone spatula or dull knife around the edge of the baking dish before inverting the tofu onto a rimmed plate (to catch any additional liquid) or cutting board.

The upended side of the tofu will be shiny and smooth!

upended block of white bean tofu on a white plate

Cut the tofu into the desired shapes and sizes you prefer for recipes and/or storing in the refrigerator.

close up of cut white bean tofu in a glass bowl

FAQ & Tips

What is the Taste & Texture of the Bean Tofu?

The bean tofu will vary in flavor and texture depending on the type of dried beans used to make it.

White beans produce a neutral, go-with-anything flavor with a silky, creamy finish.

For example:

  • Baby Lima Beans
  • Great Northern
  • Cannellini
  • Navy

You cannot go wrong with any of the above options. But if you want to know which one is my hands-down favorite, it is Baby Lima Beans. It is exceptionally creamy, but it also sets up super-firm. Baby lima beans are the beans featured in my step-by-step photos above.

pan fried lime bean tofu on a white plate

Use Darker Beans for a Unique Flavor & Texture

Tofu made from beans with darker skins–such as the red, adzuki, black and pinto–is slightly less silky due the thicker, tougher skin of the beans. Though still mostly neutral in flavor, tofu made from these beans has the faint flavor of the beans from which they are made.

Use these unique taste and texture qualities to your advantage! Darker bean tofus pair especially well with bolder flavor profiles and make hearty fried cubes and crumbles. Grill or pan-fry a slab for a newfangled tofu sandwich, slathered with your favorite sauce.

Can I Make Vary the Texture of the Tofu (extra-firm or silken)?

This recipe produces a firm tofu. The tofu will become more firm with each day it sits in the refrigerator as it drains off water. But you can manipulate the texture at the front end, too.

For Extra Firm Tofu: Reduce the amount of fresh water added to the blender in Step 4 by 1/4 cup (60 mL).

The extra-firm texture holds up better to stir-frying (and sometimes you just want/need a firmer texture).

Keep in mind that frying any protein, including this tofu, works best when it is (a) patted dry (use paper towel or a clean dish cloth), and (b) you allow one side to sear off (get browned) before moving it around/flipping it. A little patience is all that you need!

For Silken Tofu: Increase the amount of water added in Step 4 by 1/3 cup (75 mL). I recommend using white beans for silken tofu because of the finer texture and neutral flavor.

I have notes for these two texture options in the recipe card.

Can I Freeze the Tofu?

Yes. If you are planning ahead, make the extra-firm variety (it freezes best). Cut the tofu into cubes and place in an airtight container. Defrost the tofu in the refrigerator.

The tofu will feel wet and springy once defrosted. Place the cubes between layers of paper towels to remove excess water (very gently press, as needed). Do not press hard or the tofu will fall apart.

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 Bean 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?

Yes! 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!

More DIY Soy-Free Tofu Recipes

Yield: About 2 lbs

Easy DIY Dried Bean Tofu (1 ingredient, soy-free, high-protein)

multiple glass bowls filled with various types of bean tofu

Got dried beans? You can make my easy DIY dried bean tofu in no time! It is soy-free, high protein, versatile, & made with 1 ingredient.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 140 grams (~3/4 cup) dried beans
  • boiling water, to cover beans
  • 2 and 3/4 cups (651 mL) tap water
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

    1. Place the dried in a colander or mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes any dust or debris from the dried beans.
    2. Place the drained beans in a medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to the bowl to cover the beans by 1/2 inch (1.25 cm). Let stand for 20 minutes until the beans are slightly plumped and the water has cooled.
    3. Drain and rinse the beans in a mesh sieve or colander, discarding the soaking water.
    4. Place the drained beans, 2 and 3/4 cups tap water and optional salt in a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the blender container.
    5. Pour the bean mixture into a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
    6. Whisk over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the mixture is VERY THICK, glossy and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan as you whisk (turn heat down to medium, as needed).
    7. Scrape the batter into an 8-inch (20 cm) square glass or ceramic baking dish, smoothing the top (the dish does not need to be oiled).
    8. Refrigerate the tofu, uncovered, for at least 8 hours, or overnight (Alternatively, leave the tofu in the refrigerator for up to 5 days until ready to use.)
    9. Run a silicone spatula or dull knife around the edge of the dish; invert the tofu onto a cutting board. Cut the tofu into the desired shapes and sizes you prefer for recipes and/or storing in the refrigerator.

Notes

Storage: The tofu can be prepared 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 the longer it sets.

Freezing the Tofu: Cut the tofu into cubes and place in an airtight container. Defrost the tofu in the refrigerator. The tofu will feel wet and springy once defrosted. Place the cubes between layers of paper towels to remove excess water (very gently press, as needed). Do not press hard or the tofu will fall apart.

Extra-Firm Tofu Option: The original recipe produces a firm tofu. For extra-firm tofu (ideal for frying, baking, and stir-frying), prepare the recipe as directed but only add 2 and 1/2 cups (591 mL) of tap water in step 4.

Silken Tofu Option: For silken tofu, prepare the recipe as directed but add 3 cups plus a tablespoon (about 680 mL) water (instead of 2 and 3/4 cups) in step 4.

Tip: Use the bean tofu as you would in any recipe calling for soy tofu. For a neutral tofu, use white beans (baby lima beans, Navy beans, cannellini, Great Northern).

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1/4 of entire recipe (8 oz/227 g)

Amount Per Serving Calories 128Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 10gSugar 0gProtein 9g

Note that the neutron information will vary slightly depending on the type of dried beans used in the recipe. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although powerhungry.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands and optional ingredients can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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Alberto

Thursday 19th of May 2022

Hey, thanks for posting. I was wondering if you've experimented with using a cheese cloth to filter the proteinous water from the extra gunk.

Camilla

Friday 20th of May 2022

Hi Alberto! I have not tried it. This method is akin to Burmese tofu/ Shan tofu (which uses chickpea flour, no filtering of liquids and solids). It is fundamentally different than the filtered, coagulant- style of tofu.

Kimberly

Sunday 1st of May 2022

Hi, thank you so much for this recipe, you are and it is brilliant! Does covering the tofu while it’s in the fridge keep it from releasing water? Do you think you can use those tofu presses made for soy tofu? Thanks again.

Camilla

Monday 2nd of May 2022

Hi Kimberly, thank you so much! Covering the tofu does not make a difference. A tofu press will not work with this type of tofu (which is similar to Burmese-style tofu, not traditional coagulated tofu. You can control the thickness at the front end (more for silkier tofu, less for firmer tofu).

Chels

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Anyone tried it with canned beans?

Camilla

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

Hi Chelsea,

I experimented with canned beans in some early tests— it does not work. It just tastes like refrained beans.

Mira

Monday 18th of April 2022

Wowza!!!!!!! I made the lime ben tofu per your recommendation as your favorite and it is amazing! So firm, so tasty, I made a simple teriyaki and broccoli stir-fry with it and it came out so good. Even my partner , who is so-so on regular tofu (he does not like soy, thinks it is bad for men), loved it.

Thank you ofr this GREAT recipe!!!!

Camilla

Thursday 21st of April 2022

I am so glad you and your partner enjoyed the recipe, Mira! :)

Debra

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Wow you come up with some great ideas for recipes XX

Camilla

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Thanks, Debra! This one took a lot of time, but it was worth it :)

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