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Believe it or not, this recipe actually started out as a soup. I was experimenting with making a pumpkin-soup for Thanksgiving, and decided I needed to fortify it with some hemp seeds for additional protein and fat. I then casually left it a bit too long on the stove, and came back to find it had started to form curds. So, at this point, I decided to run with it and just make it into a soy-free hemp tofu. Because it was already a seasoned soup (recipe coming soon!), this is a nicely flavored “faux-fu” that is ready to join your vegan keto Thanksgiving spread.
I know there are a lot of us who have difficulty digesting soy, so I’m always really excited to find a soy-free protein option for meals. Usually, I would just add a bunch of seeds and nutritional yeast to my meals for a protein-boost, but there really is something to having a more-substantial option. This recipe is also nut-free, coconut-free and gluten-free. So, it’s pretty friendly to most people with allergies as well as those following a paleo diet.
I made this Thanksgiving-themed tofu with a pumpkin variety called “Long Island Cheese,” so-named for where it originated and its shape, which resembles a wheel of cheese. If you can’t find this kind of pumpkin though, you can use any other variety of pumpkin or butternut squash. You could also use canned pumpkin/squash.
Notes on Making Low Carb “Thanksgiving” Faux-fu (gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free tofu)
- As noted above, any type of pumpkin (and most winter squashes) will work for this!
- For more information on different methods for making your own tofu, check out this comprehensive post!
- If you don’t have hemp seeds available, you could also use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. More info on what nuts/seeds work in the aforementioned post.
- The more water you remove from the tofu, the firmer it will set up, so pressing out as much liquid as possible is key to getting a firm tofu.
- This tofu comes out shocking sturdy. I was genuinely surprised because some tofu attempts were a bit crumbly. This holds together quite nicely.
- If you don’t have sage, you could use a poultry seasoning blend as well (or the “savory herb blend” on page 175 of my cookbook!)
- To make tofu, you need some sort of tofu press. I use a pretty basic one that I nabbed on Amazon. You could also just use cheesecloth though, and form the tofu like you were making a homemade cheese. It will turn out in the shape of a ball, but will still be tasty!
Low Carb “Thanksgiving” Faux-fu (gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free tofu)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups cubed OR 1 cup mashed 225g pumpkin or squash
- 1 cup 160g hulled hemp seeds (also called "hemp hearts")
- 1/4 cup 30g nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp ground sage or 1 tbsp poultry seasoning blend
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
- pinch paprika optional
- Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until totally smooth, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the mixture into a medium-sized Dutch oven or covered pan and bring to a simmer on medium-low heat.
- Let simmmer for around 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom. At this point, you should notice some separation and large curds forming.Remove the mixture from the heat at this point and let sit uncovered for a few minutes to cool a bit.
- Line your tofu press with cheesecloth and place inside a bowl or casserole dish.
- Once the curds have cooled enough to handle, transfer them into the tofu mold. I like to use a slotted spoon for this, or one of those spoons with mesh to drain off as much liquid as possible.
- At this point, I usually let the curds sit for a bit longer to drain off as much liquid as possible (be sure to pour out any liquid pooling at the bottom of the dish as you go). This also allows the mixture to cool enough to be handled.
- Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then place the top of the mold over the lump of curds. Weight the press down and let sit for around an hour. I periodically go and try to squeeze out more liquid by hand as well.
- After an hour, remove the tofu from the press and and let chill for an additional 30-60 minutes in the fridge to allow it to set up.
- You can then use this tofu in recipes as you would normally use tofu.