When was the last time that a block of tofu was simply irresistible to you? This glazed tofu roast didn’t even make it off of the cutting board. We ate it all.
The general idea for this tofu, which I maintain is some of the best tofu I’ve ever made, is to press all of the excess water out of it, and then marinate it for 24+ hours in a sweet and smoky marinade. Use a narrow dish and flip the tofu several times, so that the marinade thoroughly soaks it.
Then, cut a criss-cross pattern on the top, stick some adorable little cloves in the junctions, plop the tofu on a bed of orange slices, and wait an hour. Top with a homemade orange-whiskey glaze (yep) and roast just a little bit longer to set the glaze onto the tofu bake. And then, dig in, and don’t be surprised if you can’t stop going back for more slices.
It’s only fair for me to show you the inside. Yes, it looks like regular tofu on the interior but I assure you… while the color may not have changed much, every cubic inch is juicy and delicious with flavor of the marinade.
I won’t take credit for the idea to cross-hatch tofu and then bake it with a vegan ham esque glaze. That genius creation comes from Isa Moskowitz’s book, The Superfun Times Holiday Cookbook. It’s an amazing book. I highly recommend picking up a copy! The recipes are organized by holiday theme but they’re generally transcendent and great any time of year.
Something I didn’t like about Isa’s tofu ham? The recipe calls for so. much. sugar. I get it – holiday hams are usually sweet, so it’s not unreasonable for a baked tofu centerpiece to have some of that same sweetness. But considering the very real risk of eating the entire thing in a short period of time, I knew I needed to reduce the sugar somewhat. By cutting the sweetener and augmenting some of the other flavors, I came up with an updated glazed tofu roast that I’m really happy with.
I also found that it was pretty essential to marinate it for much longer than the original recipe suggests, in order to ensure that the entire block of tofu is flavored (4 hours is not quite enough for this beaut). Plus, I added more whiskey, because I don’t get the chance to cook with whiskey very often but I adore the flavor.
This tofu roast is a beautiful main dish that would be perfectly at home on your Sunday supper table, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and more. It’s more healthy than the traditional meat based roast and while it takes a little bit of waiting, it’s a breeze to make. Let’s do this! Detailed instructions included to help make your tofu roast a delicious, sticky, messy, scrumptious success!
Holiday Tofu Roast
This glazed tofu roast is the baked tofu centerpiece of your dreams. Prepared in a smoky-sweet marinade, slow-roasted and then covered in a spicy orange glaze, this is a succulent vegan roast that makes a beautiful holiday entree.
- 14 oz extra-firm tofu
- 1 orange sliced
- 16-24 whole cloves
For the tofu roast marinade:
For the glaze:
- 1.5 tbsp whiskey
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 tsp smoked salt (or regular salt)
- 1 tsp paprika (regular or smoked)
- 1/3 tsp ground black pepper
The day before you want to eat the tofu roast, open the tofu, drain excess liquid, and then press it. I strongly recommend using a tofu press (mine is linked in the notes). If you make tofu with any regularity, it's totally worth owning. Otherwise, wrap it in a clean towel and stack some heavy objects onto it, like textbooks or a cast iron pan. For this recipe, it's really important to press the tofu very well, so if you're using the towel method, after 15 minutes, replace the towel with another dry one, and repeat. With a tofu press, 15-20min should do the trick.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Place the block of tofu in the smallest dish that it fits in with room around the sides. A loaf pan or smaller is best. This allows the marinade to go up around the sides of the tofu and saturate its interior the most. Pour all of the marinade over your tofu block and cover it. Marinate for 24-36 hours. Flip over the block of tofu about halfway through this time, or more frequently if you can manage it. Each time, also spoon some of the marinade from the sides over the top. The goal is to get as much of the marinade into the tofu as possible.
When the tofu has marinated and is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a small baking dish (9x13 or smaller) with parchment paper. I recommend using excess parchment paper to go around the sides a little bit, for the easiest cleanup later. Line the orange slices on the bottom and place the marinated tofu block on top of them. Take a small, sharp knife and score the top of the tofu in a diamond pattern. Place the individual whole cloves, round side up, in the intersections between the lines.
Bake for 60 minutes. Start checking the tofu at 45 minutes and take it out sooner if the edges are getting too dark. It's normal for the oranges to burn; they won't be getting eaten.
While the tofu is baking, add all of the glaze ingredients to a saucepan and stir to combine them and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until reduced by about half, thick and glossy, with some of the raw alcohol flavor cooked out.
Once the tofu comes out of the oven the first time, pour the glaze all over the top of it. Return it to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, until the glaze is thickened onto the tofu roast and just starting to darken at the edges. Basically, just keep checking it until it looks like it's about to start burning. That's when it's done 🙂
Let your tofu roast rest for about 15 minutes, then remove the cloves and burnt oranges, and feel free to dig in. I like to serve it on a new bed of fresh orange slices, but this is optional for serving, of course :).
TOFU PRESS: This is the basic kind of tofu press and most brands are pretty interchangeable quality-wise. If you make tofu on a regular basis, I think it is well worth taking up cupboard space. Setup, cleanup, and results of pressing tofu are all superior when using one.
EXTRA MARINADE: You'll have some marinade left over, since excess is needed in order to submerge the tofu. It's delicious tossed into a vegetable stir-fry, used to marinate tempeh, etc. You can even use it for rice paper bacon. If you're making two blocks of tofu, i.e. doubling the recipe, you will likely only need about 1.5x the marinade, so feel free to make a bit less.
ALCOHOL SUBSTITUTE: I tried out substituting the whiskey with leftover extra marinade and it tasted great!
NUTRITION: Nutrition facts are calculated using 2/3 of the marinade. My tofu absorbed a little over half of it, so I rounded up for good measure.
Looking for another main to complement your tofu bake? May I suggest my (gluten-free) walnut lentil loaf:
And I highly recommend some classic vegan gravy to top it all off!
To finish your feast, try a slice of vegan sweet potato pie 🙂