Affiliate Note: Hi, friends! Just a a quick reminder - some of the links on this site are affiliate links, and so I may earn a little cash on qualifying orders. It doesn't cost you anything extra, and is a nice way to help support this site! I also want to point out that I don't promote products I haven't actually tried or products that I don't trust. :)
A while ago, I found a recipe online for hemp tofu, and I tried it…and I really didn’t like it. At all. It was gritty and crumbly and really just didn’t do it for me. I also bought some hempfu at the grocery store to try and find a good alternative to soy-based tofu…and that was a bust, too. So, I decided that I would have to come up with a DIY hempfu recipe on my own…and it was surprisingly easy!
It required a few specialized tools and literally three ingredients, but within a couple of hours, I had an awesome soy-free tofu that is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What more could you want?
What to Expect From DIY Hempfu
This isn’t quite as durable as a standard soy-based tofu. It still feels a little delicate a crumbly in comparison, but it makes a mean scramble and roasts up nicely as well.
Mine fell apart a little bit while stir-frying, so I tend to air-fry or bake it before tossing it in with everything else for the best results.
In terms of the cooking process, I was shocked at how simple it was. Shocked. When I’ve made other soy-free tofu substitutes out of seeds, they could be a little temperamental, but the hemp milk pretty much curdled completely out of the gate. I’ve heard the nigari is necessary for it to fully curdle and firm up, so I haven’t tried it without yet. But, I’ll be sure to share those results when I do.
Tools Used in Making Homemade Hemp Tofu
Making your own soy-free tofu is one of those projects that does actually require a few specialized tools. Fortunately, they’re not too expensive, and the amount of money you can save over time making various types of tofu will pay for them in no time.
The first tool is a good blender. I got a Vitamix years ago, and I’ve been so happy with that decision. While I initially thought that spending a few hundred dollars on a blender was a bit insane, I use my Vitamix every day for a variety of things, and am thrilled to have it.
The second tool is a set of nut milk bags. You could also use cheesecloth, but I really prefer the nut milk bags. They’re not hard to clean, and they usually come in sets with different sized mesh, so you can use them to strain out bigger and smaller particles. That’s actually what I did here – I used the larger, coarser size for the initial straining of the hemp milk, and then the smaller one to actually make the hempfu.
The third tofu-making tool is really the only thing that isn’t going to be used for other projects, and that’s a tofu press. I just bought a super basic and inexpensive one (this one), and it has worked great for me. There are others withi cranks and screws and springs, but really, I’d rather have a less expensive one that’s easier to clean, without the bells and whistles.
Specific Ingredients Used In Making Hempfu
These are the specific brands I used to make this soy-free hemp tofu. Of course, you don’t have to use these yourself, but It’s worth knowing for reference. As a note, I do receive a small percentage of any sales from these products that goes right back into supporting the site. 🙂
This soy-free hemp tofu (“hempfu”) is easy to make and provides an excellent source of allergen-free vegan protein.
- 1 cup (160g) hulled hemp seeds
- 3.5 cups (840ml) water
- 1/2 tsp nigari, dissolved in 1/2 cup water (optional, if coagulation doesn’t start on its own!) OR 1 tablespoon of either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Blend the water and hemp seeds in a high-powered blender until totally smooth. This was about 30 seconds on 6-7 for my blender.
- Strain the mixture using the larger-sized mesh bag. It’s the one that is going to feel rougher to the touch. Be sure to squeeze out as much of the milk as possible, until the remaining fibrous bits are crumbly and relatively dry. I save this part to use as flour in baked goods.
- Heat the hemp seed milk in a medium saucepan on medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. You may notice some curdling already at this point.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. If there are curds forming already, proceed to the next step. If no curds are present, then stir in the nigari mixture/lemon juice/vinegar and let sit for around twenty minutes.
- Line your tofu press with the finer mesh nut milk bag.
- Place the tofu press into a bowl/your sink or over a rimmed baking tray so that any liquid that drains doesn’t just spill all over your counter and scoop the curd mixture into the cheesecloth. I used a mesh scoop for this, as that seemed to help it drain the most.
- Fold one side of the mesh bag over the curds, and place the top of the tofu press over this. Lightly press it to help shape the curds initially. Weight the press down with something like a jar of nut butter or a couple of cans of beans, and let this sit for 30-45 minutes, until most of the water is released.
- Chill the tofu in the block in the fridge for about a half hour so it can set up before removing it from the press and bag.
- Use as you would use any tofu
The nutrition information is based off of 1/4 of the full amount of hemp seeds, and doesn’t take the processing into account (I don’t have a lab at my disposal to officially test it…)! So, it’s more of a guideline.