Everyone knows what traditional pizza is all about – a crispy crust, lots of cheese, and yummy toppings. But can you imagine using tofu as your base instead of dough?
Asian-style tofu pizza is not a regular dough pizza with tofu as one of the toppings. Instead, it’s blocks of tofu topped with ketchup, cheese, ham, tomato, pepper, and basil. Sounds different, right?
I like to think of it as a creative pizza because it’s not really pizza in the traditional sense of the word, but it has similar toppings. But, instead of a high-carb dough, this pizza is made with low-fat firm tofu.
The best part about this tofu pizza is that it’s healthier than the regular version, but it’s also kid and family-friendly. You can use whatever you have in your fridge as toppings and switch up the flavors.
If you’re interested in trying something new, then keep reading to see my recipe.
In this post we'll cover:
What is tofu pizza?
Tofu pizza (豆腐のピザ) is a fun, tasty Japanese creation. It’s a great, healthy alternative to classic “western-style” dough pizza.
It’s a style of pizza made by replacing dough with tofu. Then the base is topped with regular pizza ingredients like ketchup (or pizza sauce), deli meat, mushrooms, peppers, tomato, and shredded cheese.
Since the tofu pizza is broiled in the oven, it begins to melt and has a similar oven-baked texture to pizza.
Basically, you cut a chunk of firm tofu into two slices. Then, you fry them in an oven-safe pan on both sides until the tofu is slightly browned. You add a layer of ketchup, ham, bell peppers, mushrooms, a slice of tomato, and mozzarella.
Then you take the pan and broil the tofu in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts. And voila, you have yourself a “pizza.”
The idea behind tofu pizza is to use simple ingredients you already have in the pantry or fridge. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook these mini pizzas, so they’re a great lunch and dinner option.
But what makes this interesting is the healthy twist, which is typical of Japanese food. It’s not as full of carbs and fats as regular pizza.
Another Japanese twist on the pizza is Okonomiyaki, delicious Japanese savoury “pancakes”
Tofu pizza with ham and mushrooms recipe
- 1 block of tofu firm
- 4 slices of black forest ham
- 2 champignon mushrooms
- ½ bell pepper
- 1 Roma tomato medium-sized
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- ¼ cup potato starch or cornstarch or flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 basil leaves
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Slice the tofu block into two equal slices. Place them on a paper towel to drain for 10 -15 minutes until most of the liquid leaves the tofu.
- Stack the ham slices and cut them into small pieces.
- Slice the bell pepper into small pieces. Then do the same with the mushrooms.
- Slice the tomato into thin slices. Thicker slices will leave too much juice and make the pizza soggy.
- Mix the starch or flour with salt and pepper.
- Place the drained tofu slices into the starch and coat both sides well to seal in the remaining moisture. This helps prevent soggy tofu.
- Grab an oven-safe skillet (you will put it in the oven later). Now hear up some vegetable oil and fry the tofu on both sides until golden brown.
- Spread the ketchup onto the tofu, add the ham, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomato.
- Now it’s time to sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Place the pan in the oven for about 5 or 6 minutes to broil the pizza. The cheese should melt and begin to brown.
- Once out of the oven, plate the pizzas and garnish them with two basil leaves each. Now serve the tofu pizza while hot.
Tofu pizza: nutritional information
A tofu pizza contains about 300 calories, so it’s a low-carb alternative to regular dough pizza, which, when packed with toppings, can top 500 calories per slice (!)
One block of tofu contains about 5 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein.
When packed with the toppings, you are adding extra carbs and calories. However, tofu is generally considered to be healthy food.
It’s a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.
How to serve tofu pizza
To eat the tofu pizza, it’s best to cut each tofu pizza into bite-sized pieces while it’s still hot. You also don’t need any dipping sauce as each tofu piece is full of flavor.
Tofu pizza is a complete meal, so you don’t need any side dishes. The creamy tofu, cheese, and meat are enough to fill you up for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days as long as they’re in an airtight container.
Tofu pizza ingredient substitutions and recipe variations
The key to making great tofu pizza is your choice of tofu. Not all tofu is the same, and some are better suited for certain dishes than others.
When making a pizza-like dish, you need to use firm or extra-firm tofu because it holds its shape. In addition to this tofu pizza, firm tofu is good for making stir-fries and grilling.
Soft tofu is creamier and tends to crumble when cooked. Thus, it’s better suited for soup and salads.
Silken tofu is the creamiest kind, and it’s best for making sauces and dips.
Once you have your firm tofu pieces, you need to drain them very well, or else the pizza will be too soggy. To drain, you place the tofu on paper towels and apply some pressure to squeeze the liquid out.
Some tofu pizza recipes call for aburaage (fried-tofu) as the pizza base instead of pan-seared tofu. This adds more calories, and the pizza is ketogenic diet-friendly.
In Japan, pizza sauce or tomato sauce isn’t really that popular. Therefore, for this quick tofu pizza, people just use regular ketchup. You can use mild or spicy ketchup or hot sriracha or chili sauce if you’re a fan of spicy food.
My deli meat of choice is black forest ham for meaty toppings, but any ham will do. You can also use sausage or pepperoni slices for that authentic New York-style flavor.
Here are some vegetable toppings you can add:
- Bell peppers
- Spicy pepper
- Spring onion
You can use any type of cheese, but I prefer mozzarella because it’s stretchy and gives that authentic cheesy-goodness taste and texture.
Gouda, cheddar, Havarti, gorgonzola, goat cheese, and provolone are all tasty options. Just make sure to shred it, so it melts over the sides of the tofu.
Vegans and vegetarians can use veggies only and skip the meat. As well, there are many types of vegan cheese alternatives to mozzarella.
Another popular cheese recipe to try is this Filipino Puto Recipe (Puto Cheese)
Origin of tofu pizza
Tofu has been a diet staple for vegetarians and vegans for ages. Many non-vegans love it too because it’s easy to cook, and combined with other ingredients and condiments, it tastes great.
The origins of tofu go back about 2,000 years to ancient China. It’s a bean or soya curd with a cheese-like texture.
In Japan, tofu is an extremely popular protein option. So, it’s no wonder people like to get creative with it.
While there’s no exact information about the origin of this tasty dish, it probably has something to do with the influence of American and European pizza.
Let’s be honest; traditional pizza isn’t as healthy or diet-friendly as we’d like. This Japanese concoction is a better alternative, and it’s still delicious and filling.
Next time you’re craving pizza try this healthier version with these affordable ingredients. It’s such a budget-friendly meal, and you can switch it up to make it meatier or vegan.
Therefore, it’s the kind of recipe that pleases everyone, even kids and picky eaters.