The Unexpected Ingredient You Should Consider Adding To Pumpkin Pie

While it's easy to think that one pumpkin pie recipe is no different from the next, this couldn't be further from the truth. After all, some people might make substitutions to their ingredients list according to personal preference or dietary restrictions. Others might add their own secret mix-ins for a little twist on tradition.

Some of these additions can be as simple as a fun topping, like a crunchy streusel, sweet caramel or chocolate drizzle, or fluffy meringue. Other recipe changes are a little more involved. While Giada De Laurentiis' unique take on pumpkin pie simply calls for whipping in mascarpone cheese and lemon zest for extra creaminess and brightness, Alton Brown's secret to amazing pumpkin pie is all about homemade pie filling and a crushed gingersnap crust.

None of these additions seems too far-fetched. However, some pumpkin pie recipes include some rather unconventional ingredients that may leave you scratching your chin. A good example? Pumpkin pie made with tofu. It sounds a little strange, sure, but this recipe has several benefits — and not just in terms of being vegan-friendly.

Why add tofu to your pumpkin pie?

Although tofu is considered by many to be a vegan meat replacement, there are plenty of tofu recipes that even non-vegans will love. Believe it or not, one such recipe is for pumpkin pie. Not only does substituting tofu for eggs and milk make the pie great for plant-based diners and those with dairy sensitivities, but it also has an unexpected textural benefit.

According to a Food recipe review, using tofu in pumpkin pie makes it "fluffy" and "mousse-like." Another person described the recipe as "very creamy and hard to believe it's vegan." Countless others agreed that the tofu addition is clever and that they never would've guessed it was a departure from the classic.

In fact, the internet is replete with recipes using tofu to replace eggs and dairy in all sorts of vegan pies. In the case of pumpkin pie, its high moisture content acts as a binder for the other ingredients, while its mild flavor lets the spices shine. If you decide to recreate a similar pie, look carefully at your store's types of tofu. Most recipes call for silken tofu for its smooth, blendable texture, while The Spruce Eats specifies firm silken tofu because it results in a sturdier vegan pie filling.