WTF Are Yuba Sheets, Plus 3 Easy Uses for Them
Never heard of yuba sheets (AKA tofu skins or bean curd sheets)? Um, neither had we until we spotted Hodo Organic Yuba Sheets ($7) on the shelf at our local health food grocery store. Once we played around with them in our kitchens, we became hooked. You will too once you learn how tasty, nutritious, and versatile this ingredient is.
A product of soy milk, yuba sheets are made from two ingredients, water and organic soybeans. When soy milk simmers, it produces a creamy top layer that is carefully removed and packaged up as yuba sheets. The sheets don’t really taste like tofu, though. Instead, they have a mellow, nutty flavor and a silky but chewy mouth-feel. While frozen and dried versions are pretty easy to find at most Asian grocery stores, fresh yuba sheets are harder to come by.
Hodo is the only producer of fresh, organic yuba in the United States, and it’s made from US-grown, GMO-free soybeans to boot. Hardcore vegans or those just looking to diversify their protein sources will appreciate that these yuba sheets pack a whopping 21 grams of plant-based protein per serving — that’s as much as a three-ounce serving of beef.
So WTF do you do with yuba sheets in the kitchen? Straight out of the package, they are folded and pressed together. You have to rinse them under warm water to separate into single layers. From there, it’s pretty much a blank slate as yuba sheets are equally delicious eaten hot or cold. To get you started, here are three kitchen-tested ideas.
1. SWAP THEM IN FOR PASTA.
For an awesome gluten-free alternative to pasta, cut yuba sheets into noodle-like ribbons. The al dente texture is surprisingly similar to homemade noodles, and the flavor is neutral enough that it gets covered up by whatever sauce you coat them in. On busy weeknights try tossing yuba noodles with marinara or pesto sauce and some steamed or sautéed veggies (think: spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, zucchini, etc.). Or for a make-and-take Asian-flavored lunch salad, dress them with peanut sauce and throw in some baby kale, sliced scallions, and black sesame seeds (pictured, above).
2. SWIRL THEM INTO SOUPS.
We’re huge fans of healthy canned soups (like Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup) that you can stash in your desk drawer, but oftentimes a soup for lunch or (or a light dinner) leaves us feeling hangry sooner than later. The solution? Take those ribboned yuba sheets and stir ‘em into your favorite soup to “beef” up the protein count and the satisfaction factor.
3. USE THEM LIKE WRAPS.
Impress dinner guests by swapping yuba sheets for nori sheets the next time you roll your own sushi. Or try stuffing them like spring rolls with fillings like tofu, bean sprouts, sliced mango, mint, and peanut sauce for dipping. They also can be used as sandwich wraps for gluten-free, grab-and-go lunches that keep well in the fridge but are hardy enough to travel to the office or on outdoor adventures. We love them stuffed with hummus, red peppers, scallion, cucumbers, and black olives. You can also cut prep time by hitting up a salad bar to stock up on fresh wrap fillings.
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(Photos via Hodo, Jolia Allen, and Zack Marker)