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Homemade Toby’s tofu paté

Homemade_Tobys

I’ve been nervous about this one for a while. I knew that someday I’d have this recipe to share with you, but I haven’t been sure how best to break the news. Tofu is kind of a touchy subject to broach, and with a name like “tofu paté” I can guarantee I’ve already turned away a good number of people. But as someone recently separated from my regular Toby’s source, I know this information might be valuable to a good number of people in need and I’m here to help.

Because there are many reasons people might be reading this post, I’ll give you some options:

  • If the word “Toby’s” really gets you going, read number 1.
  • If you don’t know about Toby’s but are potentially open to things made with tofu and the words “nutritional yeast” don’t make you go “what now?” read number 2.
  • If you don’t know about Toby’s and are really, really not into the idea of tofu … I apologize. Go here to distract yourself.

1. You are in the know. You know what this stuff can do to your life. One moment you’re an innocent sandwich eater/dip user, oblivious to the danger ahead, and the next you’re a ravenous beast, ever-seeking more Toby’s to put in your maw. It’s a dangerous, dangerous thing. Perhaps you live in Oregon or some other Toby’s adjacent area, you lucky beast. You can get this stuff in its original form, whenever you want. Or, perhaps you live somewhere where you can’t get the stuff (e.g. Wisconsin), in which case, you’re welcome. 

2. Oh, hello there. Here’s the moment where you learn about Toby’s. Congratulations! Toby’s used to be called “Toby’s tofu paté,” which makes a lot of people scrunch up one side of their face, but now it’s called “Toby’s tofu dip and spread,” which appears to be more palatable to people’s dispositions. It’s widely available in Oregon and I hear in some other states as well, but I’ve rarely ever seen it elsewhere. (I bet Seattle and the Bay Area have it, privileged as they are in various ways, and most of them probably have no idea what they have at their fingertips!) I’ve heard some people call it eggless egg salad (which is a thing, I guess, because they sell it at Trader Joe’s), but that’s sort of misleading because most Toby’s varieties definitely have mayonnaise and thus eggs. Maybe it’s because with mayo and mustard and celery it’s sort of reminiscent of an egg salad? A fun spread for people who don’t like eggs but can tolerate mayonnaise? I’ve never really connected the two in my mind, but I can certainly see it …

Okay so maybe I’m not doing the best job at convincing you that this is something you should make, but I have a feeling you’re either on board based on the concept alone and willing to give it a shot, or you’re not and … well then I’m not sure what else I should say. Either way, I’m just going to move along with the recipe, and you can decide for yourself whether you want to be addicted to something made with tofu. And it’s easy enough to get more people on the bandwagon; just do what I did to my family that one time with the tofu pumpkin cheesecake, and let people flood you with compliments before you tell them what’s in it …

(Actually, that particular event went terribly. Turns out my family really, really, really did not want tofu in their Thanksgiving dessert.)

Homemade_Tobys

Tobys_sandwich

We eat Toby’s in many ways, when we have it, but most commonly on sandwiches. It’s also great as a dip for crudités, chips, or crackers. I used to be particularly keen on eating it with the pita chips from the Claremont Farmers’ Market, and it eventually got to the point that I couldn’t have both things in the house at the same time without it getting a little out of hand.

Homemade Toby’s tofu paté (or dip and spread)

Based heavily – in fact, attempting to entirely recreate – Toby’s tofu dip and spread

Makes 2 cups, easily scalable

  • 8 oz. extra firm tofu (a little more than half of the average 14 oz. package size)
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley leaves
  • 1/4 medium white or yellow onion (sweet onions work really well here)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste (see note, below)
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Note: Some folks below have noted that the recipe as made turns out too salty, which I can only guess is due to a variation in nutritional yeast. If your nutritional yeast is salty or if you’re unsure, I would suggest making the recipe omitting additional salt and then add to taste. With the ingredients I use at home, additional salt is definitely necessary.

Prepare tofu Drain the tofu and dry the exterior with a paper towel. Crumble into very small pieces and set aside in a small bowl.

– Prepare vegetables and parsley Clean and trim the celery rib and chop into a small dice (I do this by using the tip of my knife to cut the rib lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces, then lining those up and slicing them into small cubes). Roughly chop the parsley leaves and put the parsley and celery into a medium mixing bowl. Remove the peel from the quarter onion, if needed, and use a cheese grater to grate the onion into the bowl. (If you don’t want to do this, you can finely chop it – the flavor will be more subtle, but it will still work.)

Mix all ingredients Add all of the ingredients, including the tofu, to your mixing bowl and mix with a spoon or spatula to combine. Use your fingers to break up any larger chunks of tofu that remain. Taste and season with salt as needed.

– Process half of the spread Put half of the mixture in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add back to the mixing bowl and mix everything together. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Note: After a few hours in the fridge, the flavors will meld and it will taste more like original Toby’s than it does right after making. You may need to adjust the salt as the flavors develop.

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50 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reba Eagles #

    As an ex-Oregonian stranded in the desert of New Mexico (stranded in a huge vat of delicious green chile, do experiment with it sometime) we often long for home foods. Thank you, thank you, thank you for working so hard to share this greatly missed food. My first visit to your site and won’t be my last.
    Plus the two cocktails on the side of this page contain bourbon so you must be a wonderful person!

    October 26, 2013
    • You are welcome! One of our best friends is from Albuquerque, so we get to experience green chiles semi-often (though definitely not enough). Hope you enjoy your new access to Toby’s!

      October 27, 2013
  2. Hi! What is the approx. shelf life for this?

    November 27, 2013
  3. Forget my Q :) “Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.”

    November 27, 2013
    • Glad you found it. : ) Enjoy the Toby’s, and let me know what you think!

      November 27, 2013
  4. Hannah #

    Thank you, wonderful foodie blogger from the depths of Southwest Michigan! Next to tackle, Yumm! Sauce.

    December 7, 2013
  5. Thank you so much. I have been searching for toby’s in every state I go to for years. I have written letters to get them to expand distribution . This is perfect, but for one thing: I always got the jalapeño toby’s. Do you think I should add fresh or pickled?

    January 12, 2014
    • Hi Chris – I’m so glad! I hope you like my attempt at recreating. I would suggest pickled jalapeños, but I haven’t tried either yet.

      January 13, 2014
      • Leilani Lyons #

        On my second go at this recipes, I decided to try the jalapenos. I used the pickled ones and I’m loving it. Thanks for posting your recipe. DH and I spend half our year in Arizona, so now we can enjoy our Toby’s while there.

        September 18, 2014
  6. Jim Sankey #

    Hello, decided today was a day where enough is enough, someone must have a recipe for Toby’s and I came upon your site and recipe thank you! Whenever I am back in Eugene my first purchase would be two tubs of Toby’s, original and jalapeño to enjoy on my toast from the City Bakery. This will be wonderful to try thank you!

    January 24, 2014
  7. Janet Filips #

    West Coast Toby’s lovers: I think the company is working on expanding distribution up and down I-5. Salad dressings and Genesis juice, too. My fave is Toby’s Lite, on wheat toast or raw carrots.Till reading this, I hadn’t noticed they’d changed the name from Pate to Dip. I loved the humor of a pate made with tofu but can see how that wouldn’t necessarily translate on a store shelf outside Eugene.

    March 2, 2014
    • Heather #

      I lived in Eugene for a summer almost 15 years ago and still miss Toby’s and Genesis Juice! You just cranked up my craving something fierce!!!!! Mmm, foodie memory lane!

      December 17, 2014
  8. Jayda #

    Hi my name is Jayda and I am a Toby’s Addict…
    I live in NY (formerly NYC area, now in WNY) and there is nothing that comes close here. I’ve spent almost every summer in Oregon and always bring a cooler with me so I can bring back Toby’s. I’ve never tried to make it myself but a craving came over me and viola! I found your post. Thank you for the bottom of my tummy, I’m very excited to make some this week!

    March 10, 2014
    • I hope you like it! I know what it’s like bringing back containers across the country … one time TSA told me it was a liquid and I argued with them for about 5 minutes before they let me take it through! Whew!

      March 10, 2014
      • Jayda #

        I also shared it with my family, who also suffer from the same addiction. My mother was very excited and my sister, who is getting married this summer, commented that our aunt in Eugene would be responsible for bringing an entire suitcase full of Toby’s with her. A suitable wedding present I’m sure!!

        March 10, 2014
  9. Vicki Shaw #

    How about I have Toby herself send you a case of mixed dips? She’d be tickled about that! Next time you come to Eugene you’ll have to meet her.
    And perhaps see her kid and grandkids perform in their Sat. Market band. But I’ll have to try these recipes and maybe mine will be better?!
    Aunt Vicki

    March 11, 2014
  10. Sharon #

    OMG, I went to UO in the 90’s and would eat this stuff straight out of the tub. Now I live far, far away. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your recipe. Thank you.

    April 21, 2014
    • You are welcome! Have you tried it yet? Would love to know what you think about it.

      June 1, 2014
  11. etta #

    I am a duck who misses Toby’s as well. My mom lives in Seattle, so I an get a fix when I visit her. This definitely fills a hole! Any chance you ever had a tofu tia from Toby’s Tofu Palace at Saturday Market? I’d love to re-create that!

    June 1, 2014
    • I’ve had one, but haven’t tried to recreate it quite yet. This recipe was my main target!

      June 1, 2014
      • Maude #

        Toby’s used to sell the spice mix so you could make your own tofu for a tia. This recipe from Diet for a Small Planet is very close. I make it often. Every year at OCF the first place I go is the Tofu Palace for a tia and palace cooler
        http://www.autumnjade.com/recipes/9.htm

        February 16, 2016
  12. I remember Toby’s Tofu Pate from years back when I was on Weight Watchers. I didn’t realize it was only available regionally. I saw it at our local (Olympia, WA) food co-op the other day and bought a tub for the first time in ages. When I ate some on crackers a little while ago I realized I’d like more flavor. I think I’ll doctor the rest of the tub up with a little lemon juice, more turmeric, and perhaps a sprinkling of red peppers or cayenne or jalapeno.

    Thanks for coming up with the cloned recipe. I’ll give that a try soon.

    June 13, 2014
  13. By the way, I don’t know when using 1/3 and 2/3 cup measures went out of favor, but if my calculations are correct, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons = 1/3 cup.

    June 13, 2014
    • Hi Rebecca – Thanks for pointing this out! 1/3 cup isn’t exactly 6 tablespoons, but it’s definitely close enough for these purposes! I changed it in the recipe above.

      June 14, 2014
  14. Allijacks #

    I used to live in Yosemite National Park and the store there carried it for a short period of time. I love it more than anything!!! Thank you for posting this!! Also, this made me laugh out loud several times. I will definitely be visiting your site again.

    July 7, 2014
  15. Leah Hall-Hughes #

    Hi Bowen, long time! Thanks for the great recipe, it was so delicious! I think next time I will use a shallot or more subtle, sweet onion tho. Keep making great food.

    October 31, 2014
    • Leah! Definitely long time. Jared was the first to introduce me to Toby’s! Sad I missed the wedding this summer, but spent a few days in the Rockies with J and Laura earlier in July. Hope you’re well!

      November 4, 2014
  16. Blake Thompson #

    Thanks for this recipe! I appreciate all the time you took to figure this out and share your results with us. Tested pretty much identical to Toby’s!

    November 20, 2014
  17. Nikki #

    Oh my gosh! Thank you for sharing this. I’m in Oregon, and therefore, inject Toby’s straight into my veins on a nearly daily basis. Given my hippy NW roots, I have been feeling really, really guilty about all the empty Toby’s tubs crowding my kitchen cabinets. (Obviously, I recycle as many as I can. I’m not the devil. But still, it’s just way too much plastic!) I am so excited to make it from scratch…in a glass jar…that I can wash and reuse! Thank you, again. So happy to have stumbled upon your blog! (Settling in now with a cup of coffee to read more!)

    November 28, 2014
  18. We love this recipe, but find it WAY too salty! We even halved it, and it was barely edible to us… It almost makes me think another ingredient we used was saltier than the recipe calls for (like the nutritional yeast–we use Braggs). The second time, we just added a few pinches of salt to taste at the end and it was perfect.

    December 1, 2014
    • Oh no! I like salt, but not that much … I’m guessing maybe one of your ingredients is saltier, like you said? Glad you found a way to adjust it to your liking.

      December 2, 2014
  19. Nikki #

    Soooo…I just made this and OMG is it ever good! For all the foodie-nerds out there like me that never touch a recipe without reading ALL the comments/reviews…Like the lady says; let it rest and meld overnight! (Mine was pretty bland at first but came alive the next day. I mean, it’s tofu, people.) A few minor tweaks: my tofu was extra dry and hard to “crumble” so I used a pastry cutter for that task. Worked perfectly! I had to use more mayo (again, because the tofu was so dry) and I added extra nutritional yeast, tumeric and celery just because I like the flavors. I substituted a minced shallot instead of onion because….tears. Next time I think I’ll try a little lemon juice instead of more mayo. Anyway, so delicious – you can’t tell the difference! (…and no more plastic tubs!) Thank you!

    December 5, 2014
    • Nikki #

      Oh, and I didn’t have the salt problem that another poster had. I actually, added some salt. I’m guessing it depends on the brand of nutritional yeast you’re using. Mine came from the bulk section at Whole Foods….not salty – at all. My advice: taste it before you add it. :)

      December 5, 2014
  20. Sharonne #

    Thank you! I am an Oregonian but have lived the last 8 years in Thailand. The first thing I do when I go back home every year is to gorge on Toby’s. Now I can gorge on it overseas too. Thank you for posting this recipe!!!

    December 14, 2014
  21. I realize this is a very old post but wanted to let you know it’s still being seen! :) We love Tobey’s and living in Seattle it is definitely widely available at the markets, however, I have been trying to emulate this luscious stuff for a few years. I found your post and found a few missing parts I have been leaving out. Nutritional yeast and blending half of the mixture! Brilliant. I’m going to make it today. I’m adding chopped capers and dill to it as well. Thank you for posting!

    March 26, 2015
  22. Bowen – You are my heroine!
    After 20 years living in Eugene, we moved to Seattle but could still get Toby’s. Crisis averted! The last 5 years in Boston have been a different story! No Toby’s, no Dave’s Killer Bread…the list goes on. I am pining for my west coast deliciousness! I am so excited to try this recipe and loved reading all the comments from other Toby’s devotees. Thank you thank you!

    May 19, 2015
  23. Robin Avidan #

    This recipe is very good and easy. It tastes just like Toby’s tofu pate(spread). I agree with other comments about salt. I used half the salt and next time I might use even less.

    June 18, 2015
  24. Both of the Fred Meyer stores in Fairbanks, Alaska sell Toby’s. I’d seen it, but never purchased it. My boss eats it a lot and she had me taste a little, and I bought a tub as soon as I was done with work. I’ve been buying 2-3 tubs a month for the past 6 months or so, which gets pricey! Can’t wait to try making it myself. The only thing is that to me, Toby’s has a very definite curry flavor, as in curry powder. I know it isn’t listed on the ingredients anywhere. Think I will just have to add it!

    Also, how weird is it that I just eat it with a spoon? I’ve tried it on crackers, bread, and scooped up with veggies, and I prefer it just as is.

    January 19, 2016
    • Anna – Eating with a spoon is absolutely not weird. Or, if it is, I’m totally guilty!

      January 20, 2016
  25. This is awesome stuff. Thank you!!!

    February 23, 2016
  26. Janet Wehlitz #

    Have made this several times now and I LOVE it!! I increased the ingredients to match the total weight of the extra firm tofu I buy, but my hubby and I cannot tell the home made from the Toby’s, even in a double blind test.
    Thank You!!!

    April 22, 2016
  27. Debi #

    Oh thank goodness I found you! I moved back to the Midwest from S Oregon recently, and have been jonesing for Toby’s since I got here!

    August 5, 2016
  28. I am from Eugene and living in England. I just whipped up my first batch and it is far too salty with Enegvita nutritional yeast. Next time I will try no salt and then ramp it up as necessary. I wish I had read the comments first. Thanks for this though. I couldn’t wait until OCF in July and needed this now.

    March 7, 2017
    • Thanks for your feedback, Autumn! A few folks have mentioned saltiness and I’m guessing it’s a difference in the nutritional yeast? I’ve only ever used nutritional yeast that doesn’t have salt, but I can’t think of what else would account for the variation. I’ll make a note in the recipe …

      March 8, 2017
  29. Allyson Parker-Lauck #

    I can not even describe how happy I am to have found this recipe!!! Our grocery store (Fred Meyer) in Eagle River, AK JUST quit carrying this. Apparently we were the only people to buy it. My husband uses to spread to make a faux egg salad sandwich at least 3 days a week for lunch. He was devastated when I told him the news. I am not exaggerating. Just made my first batch with veganaise instead of mayo and it turned out great! One question though, the recipe doesn’t specify dry or prepared mustard. I made it with prepared and it was great, but want to make sure I’m doing it right. I also added a little dill since he sprinkles dill on his sandwiches. Not much, just a little. Yummmmmmm!

    March 20, 2017
    • Hi Allyson – Happy to help! I use prepared mustard, and it’s such a small amount that I’ve found any kind will work (e.g. Dijon, yellow). As for freezing – I was not happy with the results of freezing the commercial Toby’s, so I would guess this doesn’t work either. I found the commercial stuff got really grainy and had an unpleasant texture overall upon thawing.

      March 20, 2017
  30. Allyson Parker-Lauck #

    Oh, and one more question, does it freeze well?

    March 20, 2017

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