Paleo Chilled Cold Tofu Substitute
Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute recipe made with cashew tastes creamy and nutty delicious! This soy free and Keto friendly cashew tofu made with cashew flour is inspired by Japanese Goma tofu. If you think tofu tastes plain and boring, this recipe will change your mind! 4 ingredients and tastes better than regular tofu! Serve with my Paleo Thai ‘Peanut’ Sauce, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and scallions for a quick and healthy Paleo Tofu Salad in no time!
Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute Recipe
Super excited to share my Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute recipe with you today ! I’ve been working on this Paleo Tofu recipe for more than a month and have finally landed a version that’s low in carbs and easy to make, and that tastes creamy delicious !
Easy, Low carb, and Creamy delicious !
Growing up in Asia, I’m definitely a tofu fan. Tofu comes in various texture, shape, and some flavor variety. If you’ve tasted the real tofu made from the real (not genetically modified) soy beans, it’s the best thing ever – so creamy and milky delicious. The real tofu is definitely not taste-less and boring like the most ones we have today.
Soy free and bean free cold tofu
I want my Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute recipe low in carb, easy to make, yet creamy delicious. If the substitute version does not provide healthy benefits, why bother to recreate it ? This cold tofu version is inspired by Japanese Goma Tofu. Goma means sesame and it’s served chilled/cold as a side dish or salads.
Chilled/Cold v.s. Pan-Fried
To keep the Paleo Tofu low in carbs, instead of using starch, I use gelatin to help bind the ingredients. Because gelatin melts under heat, you can’t pan-fry this Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute recipe. There will be another version that I’ll share very soon that you can use to pan-fry. Be sure to check back here often for updates!
Flavor and Texture
Instead of using tons of flour or starch, I use either beef gelatin or agar agar powder (a plant based thickener) to make my Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute recipe. You will not taste the beef gelatin flavor because it’s in very small quantity instead, the nutty flavor from cashew or macadamia nuts will hit your taste buds first, followed by an almost nut butter cream-ish flavor that melts in your mouth.
The texture of this Japanese-inspired Paleo Cold Tofu is different from the real tofu or Burmese chickpea tofu (AKA Shan tofu) that’s made from chickpeas. It has a tofu-like bouncy texture that we are familiar with but is more satiating and creamy. My husband, Nate, is not a tofu fan and even he loves and asks for this Paleo Cold Tofu salad all the time (see picture below).
How to serve my Paleo Cold Tofu Salad?
You can use any salad dressing you want. My favorite is my Paleo/Whole30 Thai No Peanut ‘Peanut’ Sauce. They are a match made in heaven! The nutty-flavored Paleo tofu, paired with creamy and naturally sweet Paleo Thai ‘peanut’ sauce is absolutely delicious! Add some chopped tomatoes, scallions, cilantro (optional), and mixed baby greens…voila! You’ll have a bowl of Paleo Cold Tofu Salad in no time!
And if you are looking for a real tofu side dish, my silken tofu recipe is so creamy and ready in 5 minutes!
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Paleo Cold Tofu Substitute (Keto, Soy-Free, Low Carb, Easy)
- ½ cup raw cashew nuts blend to fine ground flour, alt. finely ground macadamia flour
- ⅛ tsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp fine ground coconut flour or cassava flour, see notes for vegan option
- 2 tbsp no salt added tahini paste, optional flavoring choice
- 1 ¼ tbsp beef gelatin dissolved in 1 cup hot boiling water, see notes for vegan option
- 1 rectangular or square shape container, heatproof with flat bottom about 3 cup quantity
- Toss the nuts in a small 4-cup work bowl. Scrap the bowl a few times until the nuts are finely ground to almost powder-ish. Add the nut flour with salt, coconut flour, and tahini paste (optional) in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Set aside. Bring 1 cup of water to boil, gradually add-in 1 ¼ tbsp beef gelatin while stirring the water with a wooden spoon until the gelatin is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes).
- While the gelatin water is still hot (but not pipping hot), slowly add the liquid into the nut flour mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir carefully until there are no lumps (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the entire mixture back to the same pot you used to boil the water. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture becomes thicker, almost like a thick grits texture. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the hot mixture into a heatproof and flat bottom rectangular container. You don’t need to grease the container. Use the back of a spoon to quickly spread the mixture into all corners and gently tab the container a few times to even out the surface. Let cool then store in the fridge for 1-2 hours until it gels. Store in the fridge at all time. Best finish within 5 days.
- To serve: Slice them into cubes. Serve with my Thai no peanut ‘peanut’ dressing. Add any leafy greens, chopped tomatoes, scallions, or cilantro if you like ! Serve cold and immediately.
Want main dishes that go well with my Paleo Cold Tofu Salad ? Check out my Paleo Cold Ramen Noodles, Paleo Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry, Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry, Easy Beef with Broccoli, and Instant Pot Taiwanese Meat Sauce !
Can I add it to a soup, after cooking it? Thanks!
Hi Cecilia! Not this particular recipe though. I have another soy-free tofu recipe that’s perfect for soup and you can even pan fry it. It’s so good – https://iheartumami.com/paleo-crispy-sesame-tofu/
Any chance of the ‘able to be pan fried’ vegetarian version?
Recipe looks great but I can’t use beef gelatine.
Hi Richard, there’s a baked version and it’s golden crispy delicious. Recipe here – https://iheartumami.com/paleo-crispy-sesame-tofu/
This is an amazing recipe. The creaminess of the tofu is incredible! I love tofu but have a hard time with the soy; thank you so much for giving us this wonderful substitute.
Thanks so much, Uyen. Appreciate it!
I’ve never seen tofu prepared this way and I’m totally into it! I haven’t had tofu in ages! It’s obviously time to remedy that!
We love this cashew flour made Paleo Cold Tofu!
This is brilliant!!! I haven’t had tofu in over 10 years but I used to live on it and love it so much. I’m so thrilled you came up with this recipe. So yummy!
Thanks, Emily! My husband loves it too!
I avoid tofu bc of the soy but this!!! Yes!! I definitely will check this out! What an awesome idea for a substitution.
Thanks, Katie. We love this cashew made version!
Interesting! I’ve never thought to try making my own tofu sub. Good job!
Thanks, Raia. It’s borrowing the concept of Japanese Goma Dofu (aka Sesame paste tofu). I figured cashew flour will give a nice and lovely creamy taste !
This is so creative! I’ve never had the desire to try tofu, but you’ve got me wanting to try this — even if out of sheer curiosity! Great concept and recipe!
Thank you, Lindsey ! Took me over a month to get the quantity right and without tons of carbs !
What an ingenious idea. I really miss tofu but since I have quit eating soy I always thought tofu was no longer an option for me. I will be trying out this recipe soon.
This is such a clever recipe! Would It work with almonds?
Hi May, Thank you so much ! Yes almond flour would work but I highly recommend using cashew flour because the flour is more creamy and rich with cashews. If use almond flour please also add the tahini paste to make the ‘tofu’ more flavorful!
This is a first for me! I’ve never heard of cold tofu or in fact, any alternative tofu options.
You always teach me something!!
Aww thanks, Carol ! I appreciate it!
Oh wow, this is so incredibly creative! I love tofu in certain dishes but don’t eat it anymore, so thanks for this awesome recipe!
Have fun, Kari!
Wow, soy-free tofu! I can’t wait to try this with your paleo Thai peanut sauce. 🙂
It’s so creamy delicious. We love it!
This is such a great idea! Cashews are so versatile!
Well who knew??? This is a great idea!
How creative! I have never been able to eat tofu with my soy allergy, and so this looks very enticing to try!
This is such an interesting recipe. I have never thought to make tofu like this, but I will definitely be trying it. Pinned and shared with some friends!
Thank you, Tina!
You’re a genius!! I actually really enjoy tofu but haven’t enjoyed it in AGES! So excited to try this…and especially the hot version you’re teasing!!
Haha, Thanks, Tessa ! Even my husband loves this Japanes-Inspired Cold Tofu Salad!
So cool that you can make tofu with cashews! This looks so delicious and refreshing.
I am Asian and I love good tofu. So glad we can now enjoy this cashew made version!