Easy Homemade Lentil Tofu requires just 2 ingredients (red lentils and water), and is super quick to whip up! This is the perfect recipe for anyone who cannot eat soy, or just wants to change it up a bit. The end result is a tofu that can be crisped up on the outside and is melt-in-your-mouth tender in the middle. You can use it 1 to 1 as a sub for soy tofu- season and cook it any way you like!
The other day I saw an Instagram Reel by my friend Carleigh of PlantYou, where she turned red lentils into tofu, inspired by PowerHungry recipe. I knew I had to try it immediately! I'm so glad I did as this is such a brilliant soy-free tofu option. I've adapted the recipe slightly with the ratios that I found worked best, and I've also included a recipe for my favorite way to prepare this tofu- crispy and generously seasoned on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth creamy and tender on the inside. Trust me when I say, this might just be your new favorite high protein treat!
Is there a non soy tofu? Yes!! Red lentil tofu is the perfect soy-free tofu sub.
So what does it taste like? The tofu is quite mild in flavor with a slight hint of lentil taste. It's a great base for any savory seasonings.
What is the texture like? Before you cook it, the tofu is soft and bouncy. Once cooked it crisps up on the outside (depending on your seasonings), and is creamy on the inside. Some people have said the texture is similar to polenta, but I think it's closer to extra-firm tofu but with a soft center.
Can you use any kind of lentils to make this tofu? No, you will want to use red split lentils as they have a very quick cooking time and will soften quickly with just boiling water. If you want to use another type of lentil it may require cooking.
Can this tofu be frozen? Yes, simply prepare the tofu, let it set, then wrap well and place in an air-tight container. Let it thaw before using.
What's the best way to cook lentil tofu? Baked, air fried, or pan-fried are my favorite methods for cooking lentil tofu. I've included a recipe for my favorite way to prepare the lentil tofu below. It works great with any of my tofu crumbles recipes, such as my vegan chorizo, or vegan bacon bits. I've tested making tofu scramble with this lentil tofu, but the texture didn't hold up that well as it kind of melted into a bean mush, not bad, but not great. I have also tried simmering it in curries or soups, and while it did hold its shape, I still preferred the texture of the tofu when baked, air fried, or pan-fried. So I would bake, air fry, or pan fry the tofu separately, then add it to soups, stews, or curries just before serving, for the best taste and texture.
How to Make Easy Homemade Lentil Tofu:
Add the boiling water, lentils, and salt (if using) to your blender. Let the lentils soak in the blender with the lid off for 15 minutes, or until the lentils look pale and softened.
Once the lentils have softened, put the lid on the blender and blend the mixture until it is completely smooth. If the water is still hot, be careful when blending, start blending at the lowest speed, gradually increasing the speed to ensure it doesn't erupt.
Once blended, pour the lentil mixture into a medium saucepan. Put over medium-high heat, and whisk or stir continually as it cooks.
The lentil mixture will begin to thicken and keep cooking it until...
it gets super thick, this will take about 5 minutes.
It will start to set almost right away so working quickly, pour into a heat-safe container and spread evenly. I used a glass food storage container, but you could alternatively use a baking dish, or silicone baking mold. No need to grease your dish. Let the lentil tofu set and chill in the fridge. This easy homemade lentil tofu will be a light salmon color. How cute!
Once set you can cut and bake, pan fry, or air fry, just like soy tofu! I've included a recipe for my favorite way to prepare it but feel free to get creative. This lentil tofu should work as a 1 to 1 sub in most soy tofu recipes.
This lentil tofu is...
- quick and easy to make
- crisp on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside
- completely soy-free
- the perfect sub for soy tofu
More Ways to Prepare This Easy Homemade Lentil Tofu:
(Sub lentil tofu 1 to 1 for soy tofu)
Tofu Pancetta and Pea Pasta
Vegan Tofu Salmon
Easy Sticky Teriyaki Tofu
Vegan Chorizo Tofu Crumbles
Crispy Sesame Crusted Tofu
Vegan Tofu Bacon Bits
Almond Rosemary Lemon Crusted Tofu
If you try this recipe let us know by leaving a comment, rating it, and don't forget to tag @itdoesnttastelikechicken on Instagram.
Easy Homemade Lentil Tofu
For the Lentil Tofu:
- 3 cups boiling water *see notes
- 1 cup red split lentils
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
To make the Lentil Tofu:
- Add the boiling water, lentils, and salt (if using) to your blender. Let the lentils soak in the blender with the lid off for 15 minutes, or until the lentils look pale and softened. Once the lentils have softened, put the lid on the blender and blend the mixture until it is completely smooth. If the water is still hot, be careful when blending, start blending at the lowest speed, gradually increasing the speed to ensure it doesn't erupt.
- Once blended, pour the lentil mixture into a medium saucepan. Put over medium-high heat, and whisk continually as it cooks, until the lentil mixture gets thick, this will take about 5 minutes.
- It will start to set almost right away so working quickly, pour it into a heat-safe container and spread it evenly. I used a glass food storage container, but you could alternatively use a baking dish, or silicone baking mold. No need to grease your dish. Let the lentil tofu set and chill in the fridge. Once set you can cut and bake, fry, or air fry, just like soy tofu!
For My Favorite Way to Cook Red Lentil Tofu (optional):
- If you would like to prepare the lentil tofu as I do, slice your lentil tofu into 1-inch cubes. Add the tofu to a large mixing bowl then sprinkle over the cornstarch, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, and cayenne (if using). Use a spatula to gently toss and coat the tofu. If the marinade is a bit think you can add a small splash of water as needed.
- Air fryer method: Preheat your air fryer to 350F (180C). Spray the heated fryer basket with spray oil, then spread the tofu in a single layer in the basket, allowing space between each tofu cube for the best airflow. Air fry the tofu for about 15 - 20 minutes, shaking 1 to 2 times, until golden.Oven-baked method: Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the sauce and tofu as instructed. Spread the tofu evenly across the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until golden.