Have you gone mad? Don’t put an adorable pig at the center of your table! Put an adorable block of tofu instead! This is a sassy take on ham that will definitely bring smiles (or at least curious side glances) to your guests’ faces. It’s also, as the title suggests, sweet and smoky and elegant in a ’70s kind of way, with notes of orange and maple. It’s easy to double the recipe, or even triple, if this will be your main course.
There were a couple of times when writing Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook that I had to call on friends for help, and this recipe was one of them. Since I didn’t grow up eating ham (you guys, I’m JEWISH!), I wanted to make sure I got it right. Luckily, Joni Newman was able to help develop this little guy into a real crowd pleaser. Thanks, Joni!
This is in the Easter section of the cookbook, but it would be great as a Christmas centerpiece, or even Hannukah!
To press tofu, simply wrap in a paper towel, then a kitchen towel. Put a heavy book on top, and a few cans of beans on top of that. Flip over after 30 minutes and press the other side for another 30. You do this so that it gets nice and firm and absorbs plenty of marinade!
FOR THE MARINADE:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
FOR THE TOFU:
1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, pressed
8 thin orange slices
20 to 25 whole cloves
FOR THE GLAZE:
1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons smooth apricot jam
1 tablespoon whiskey
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon smoked salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
MAKE THE TOFU: In a shallow dish, whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Place the block of tofu in the marinade, turn to coat, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Arrange the orange slices in an even layer in the center of the parchment. Place the marinated tofu block on the bed of oranges.
Carefully score the top of the tofu block with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern, about 1⁄4 inch deep. Press the whole cloves into the intersections of the cuts (at the corners of the diamonds). Bake for 1 hour.
IN THE MEANTIME, MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by half and thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
After the tofu has baked for 1 hour, remove it from the oven and pour the glaze evenly all over the top. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Allow the tofu to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing to serve.
I know this recipe is four years old but I was thinking of making it for Christmas and wondering can it be made ahead at all? Does it keep? Cuz we are a half veggie half omnivore household so there will be a full oven on the day between turkey and nut roast and roast potatoes etc so no room for my tofu ham 🙁
I made this last week and the leftovers were awesome the next day, so I think it could definitely be made ahead.
I made this for Easter and it was delicious! I omitted the oil in the marinade. I also froze the tofu first, thawed it, pressed it, then marinated it for 2 days. I used a marinade injector to help get the smoky goodness all the way through the tofu. I think all those extra steps helped the tofu be flavored all the way through. I also had to omit the garlic, due to an allergy, leave off the whole cloves because I was out, and I left the whiskey out of the glaze because I am not a fan of the taste. Even my husband said it was good, and he usually avoids vegan food. The leftovers were also good for sandwiches the next day. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe!
Thanks for posting. I too have a garlic allergy and am not a whiskey fan. Good to know it will still taste good without.
This is the third Easter in a row making this. So pretty and festive with the cloves and orange slices. This year we used four blocks of tofu. We have been slicing the leftovers to use on sandwiches. Its all a win!
I made this exactly as written, but I made the mistake of using “super-firm” tofu… you know, more “ham-like” texture, or so I thought. Even though I let the block marinate for 24 hours in the fridge (in a small bowl so that the marinate just about covered it – also flipping the block 1/2 way through), it didn’t get to the middle. The flavors are great and the edges were wonderful.
In the future, don’t use super-firm tofu, unless you pre-slice and marinate a while.
I will try this again, but next time, I will:
1. not use SF tofu and use “firm” as states.
2. I will slice the block edgewise so I get two large “patties” that I will marinate overnight
delicious! left the liquid smoke out, increased the smoked paprika by 50%. Not as sweet as it appeared like it might be, thank godness. Really grateful for the wonderful recipe! Thank you so much!
OMG! I have got to get my dad to make this.