Herbed Tofu Feta Cheese

May 25, 2021
Food
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Herbed tofu feta cheese is a flavorful, healthful, DIY vegan take on traditional feta cheese. It’s a perfect addition to any grain bowl, salad, wrap, or pasta dish! It’s a snap to make and is easy to store.

A round, white ramekin has been filled with small cubes of a vegan herbed tofu feta cheese.

As I continue to wade through a long, murky period of recipe writer’s block, I find myself relying a lot on every day staples.

By “staples,” I mean good dressings, dips, simple whole grains, pots of beans or lentils. Foods that aren’t quite a meal unto themselves but can be the backbone of lots of different meals, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

One of the staples I’m making most often is my tofu feta. This salty, savory side dish has found its way into other recipes on the blog, including this barley salad, my tofu feta kale salad, and my pizza pasta bake. Lately I also love throwing it into simple grain bowls or using it to make a salad more protein-rich.

Given how often I rely on it, I thought it was time to revisit and spruce up the herbed tofu feta recipe!

A zoomed in, overhead shot of a springtime salad that's been piled with herbed tofu feta cheese.

Why tofu?

Why use tofu as a base for vegan feta? Texture, first and foremost. Tofu has a dense, yet crumbly texture that’s pretty comparable to regular feta. (To the naked eye, it also looks similar.) I use extra firm tofu to make the feta, rather than firm. But either variety will work in the recipe. I don’t recommend silken tofu, which is too soft.

Tofu has a neutral flavor, which makes it a perfect canvas for the briny, salty, lemony marinade in the herbed tofu feta recipe. And as far as nutrition goes, tofu makes this “feta” so nutrient dense. It’s rich in protein, healthful fatty acids, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and a good source of calcium. Win, win, win.

How to make herbed tofu feta

The process of making the herbed tofu feta is so simple! Just mix your marinade ingredients together, marinate the tofu, and serve. There’s no need to cook the tofu for this recipe; all it really demands is some patience.

I’ve marinated the tofu for about four hours before, and the results are good. That said, I think the tofu feta is better when it marinates overnight, or even for two nights. If you have the time to give it more time, do.

Tofu feta ingredients

Tofu

Extra firm tofu is best, but firm tofu will work if need be. You don’t need to press the tofu extensively for the recipe. Simply use some tea towels to press the tofu gently before preparation. This will get rid of any excess moisture.

White miso

I list white miso as optional in some of my recipes, as it’s not an ingredient that everyone has lying around. However, for this recipe, it’s a really crucial ingredient. It gives the tofu both saltiness and an umami that’s essential to the overall feta effect.

If you have brown miso at home, it’s fine to substitute that in place of white. This is the sweet white miso that I keep in my home and use in lots of my recipes.

Lemon juice

…and plenty of it. Be sure to use freshly squeezed.

Red wine vinegar

It seems a little redundant with the lemon juice, but it adds a different kind of acidity to the recipe. Worth the extra ingredient, I promise!

Herbs

I default to oregano in the recipe, but you could use thyme or Herbs de Provence instead. I also sometimes leave the herbs out altogether, if I want the cheese-like flavor without the taste of herbs.

How long does the feta keep?

Fortunately, the herbed tofu feta keeps well, becoming only more flavor-forward over time. You can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five or six days.

When I make the tofu feta, I usually serve it directly from the container in which I marinated it. No need to discard the marinade if you’ve got any of the tofu left, as the marinade will keep working its magic on what you have leftover.

How should I serve herbed tofu feta?

However you like! Or, however you’d normally serve tofu. Some of my favorite places to put it:

  • Salads
  • Pasta
  • Pizza or grilled flatbread
  • Homemade Greek salad
  • Stuffed pita (with veggies and chickpeas)
  • Mediterranean wraps (usually greens, tofu feta, white beans, grape tomatoes, and olives)
  • Simple lunch bowls
  • Tofu scramble
  • Vegan frittatas (I’ve been using Just Egg to make these lately!)
  • With roasted seasonal vegetables (a great way to add plant protein to any vegetable-centric dish)
A small, white round ramekin has been filled with cubes of marinated tofu and dried herbs. It sits on a white backdrop.

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces extra firm tofu (pressed gently to remove excess moisture)
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (heaping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or two tablespoons fresh oregano leaves)

Instructions

  • Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes (or smaller, 1/2-inch cubes if you prefer).
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the miso, lemon juice, and vinegar; you'll have a thick, smooth paste. Add the water and whisk till smooth, then whisk in the garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and oregano. 
  • Place the cubed tofu in an airtight container (preferably one that's wide enough to allow tofu to rest in a single or double layer) and pour the marinade over the tofu. Shake to distribute the marinade over the tofu, then cover the container and transfer it to the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. The tofu will become more flavorful as it marinates. Serve with salad, pasta, in a grain bowl, or however you’d normally enjoy feta cheese!
A bright, vibrant spring salad is served on a white, fluted ceramic plate. A marinated tofu mixture is part of the salad.

In all honesty, I wish my cooking right now were more prolific and ambitious than it is. I’m still working through that, trying to shake off the creative block without attempting to force anything.

But, to echo the theme of “you can only do what you can do,” I’m glad that I’m making the things that I can make. Those things, this herbed tofu feta included, are humble, but they’re versatile and good. They make a difference.

Enjoy this easy vegan staple!

xo

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