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Tofu is a nutrient-dense plant-based food. Your kidney dietitian can show you how to include tofu as part of a kidney-friendly eating pattern. Find a kidney dietitian.

Why is tofu a superfood?

Tofu contains all the essential amino acids needed to build protein and provide your body with energy.

Other reasons why tofu is a superfood include:

  1. It is rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
  2. Tofu contains omega-3 and omega-6 healthy fats. 
  3. Due to its protein, fiber, and isoflavone content, tofu boasts potential health benefits.

Tofu and kidney disease

Tofu is kidney-friendly because it is a plant-based protein source that is low in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.

Tofu is safe to eat for all the following conditions and treatments:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)/Transplant
  • Hemodialysis (3 times/week)
  • Daily Home and Nocturnal Hemodialysis/Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Kidney Stones

Tofu tips

Tofu on its own does not have much flavor, but it takes up other flavors of the dish. Marinating or seasoning brings both sweet and savory flavors to tofu.
You can find tofu in different varieties and consistencies:
  • Bulk or individually packaged
  • Soft tofu is lower in fat and is good for use in salad dressings, sauces, and desserts
  • Firm tofu is good for stir-frying, baking, and grilling
  • Tempeh is tofu that has been fermented. It has more texture and a more nutty, meaty flavor.
Tofu blocks should be rinsed before use. You can refrigerate your tofu for up to 3-5 days by submerging it in water in an airtight container and changing the water daily to keep it fresh. You can also freeze tofu in its original packaging for about 5 months

7 easy ways to use tofu

Tofu is a soy product that is very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways as a meat substitute for many different dishes. You can add it to stir-fry dishes, smoothies, soups, sauces, desserts, and more. 

Tofu aioli Blend soft tofu, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice into a sauce.
Tofu breakfast scramble Use firm tofu instead of eggs; spice up the flavor and color by mixing in some cumin, Dijon mustard, and turmeric.
Marinated tofu Firm tofu can be used to replace meat in just about any dish; drain, cube, marinate and bake it.
Grilled tofu Use extra firm tofu; cook on a lightly greased grill until heated and grill marks show.
Sandwiches and wraps Cut marinated firm tofu into thin slices and use it in sandwiches and wraps.
Soups Use plain cubed firm tofu in soup recipes.
Desserts and smoothies Blend soft tofu, cocoa powder, vanilla, raspberries, and honey into a smooth, low-phosphorus chocolate pudding or smoothie.

Source: Northwest Kidney Centers

Recipe–Sesame Greens with Tofu

Serving size: 4 servings per recipe

  • 4 cups (about ¾ pound) mixed greens (lettuce, collard, beet, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into cutes
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  1. Cut greens into 2-inch-long shreds. Remove hard stems if needed.
  2. Drain tofu and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Heat oil in wok or sauté pan.
  4. Sauté tofu for 3 to 5 minutes until golden. Set aside.
  5. Sauté onions until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle curry over onions and add sugar and greens. Cover.
  7. Reduce heat and let greens steam in their own juice until tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking. Don’t overcook or the greens will turn darker.
  8. Add soy sauce and vinegar, and heat to boiling.
  9. When the sauce is slightly thickened, remove it from the heat and add the tofu.
  10. Garnish with sesame oil and seeds. Serve with rice or pita bread.

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For more information, contact the National Kidney Foundation

Toll-free helpline: 855.NKF.CARES or email:
*This content is provided for informational use only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a healthcare professional.

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