Nutritious, flavourful, and the perfect shade of leafy green, our smoked tofu and spinach dip ticks all the boxes. Plus, it’s the ideal match for our crisp and spicy kimchi crackers!
Let’s talk about tofu
Tofu, also called bean curd, sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap in the west. To the uninitiated, it can seem bland and unappetising – yet nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, tofu is a wonderfully healthy and versatile ingredient that absorbs flavours beautifully. That enables you to use it in anything from this velvety spinach dip to a rich chocolate cheesecake! Tofu originated in China, and has been a key part of Asian cuisine for around 2,000 years.(1) It’s made from dried soybeans that have been soaked in water for approximately 12 hours, then blended and boiled. The resulting mixture is strained to separate the pulp from the soy milk. In a process similar to making cheese, you then curdle the soy milk and solidify it by adding a coagulant such as nigari. Finally, you press the curds into white blocks of varying levels of firmness, ready to be eaten. Don’t worry – while it’s possible to make tofu at home, shop-bought will do just fine for this spinach dip recipe! Tofu has a subtle and delicate taste, which is why you’re able to use it in so many different dishes. You can also buy flavoured varieties – such as smoked tofu – to complement what you’re cooking. Either way, tofu has the added benefit of being exceptionally dense in nutrients. Can you see why we love it so much?
The health benefits of tofu
One of the most well-known advantages of eating tofu is that it’s an excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, tofu contains all of the essential amino acids that we need to have in our diet.(2) These are key for many vital processes, including building muscle, repairing tissue, and supporting the immune system. In addition, soy products such as tofu are rich in isoflavones. Experts credit these natural plant compounds with a wide range of health benefits. For instance, they can help to protect the health of your heart. Studies have found that eating tofu may lower your blood pressure and be good for your cholesterol levels. Both of these outcomes can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.(3) Moreover, research has linked tofu consumption to a lower risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer and breast cancer.(4)(5) Soy products also appear to support optimal bone health and help to prevent osteoporosis.(6) Scientists have additionally found that tofu offers specific benefits to people who are going through the menopause. Studies suggest that the phytoestrogens it contains could work to relieve symptoms such as hot flushes, fatigue, and poor mood.(7) Finally, recent research indicates that soy isoflavones may be beneficial for both cognitive function and mental health.(8)(9) However, further studies need to be conducted in order to clarify this. Ultimately, tofu is a wonderfully wellness-boosting ingredient that you should definitely add to your culinary repertoire. Whether blended into a spinach dip or cut into cubes for a curry, it’s a fantastic way to bring extra nutritional value to a meal.
While smoked tofu makes up the base of this recipe, it’s the spinach that gives it a gorgeous green colour. It’s thought that spinach originated in ancient Persia about 2,000 years ago, and since then it has spread across the globe. The plant’s popularity is likely due to both its distinctive taste and its wealth of health benefits. Plus, of course, its fame as the source of Popeye’s strength! This magical power may be fictional, but its roots lie in truth. For starters, spinach is rich in numerous key vitamins. These include vitamin C, which helps support the immune system, and vitamin K. The latter is important for blood clotting and bone health.(10) Like many dark leafy greens, spinach also has high levels of vital minerals such as iron and calcium. Iron is crucial for transporting oxygen around the body and helping us feel energised.(11) Meanwhile calcium supports healthy teeth and bones, as well as assisting in the regulation of nerve functi