This crispy baked tofu roast is the perfect Christmas main dish! It's loaded with cozy Christmas flavors through its orange and allspice glaze and serves 1 to 4 people – perfect if you only have one vegan person at your table.
A side of green beans, caramelized onions, and roasted sweet potatoes work great with this recipe! Don’t miss my vegan stuffed butternut squash recipe or this Christmas nut roast – all lovely for your holiday table.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Extra firm tofu (smoked): While you can use regular tofu, I find smoked tofu more flavorful for this recipe. Remember to make sure it is gluten-free if you or the person you’re cooking for is on a gluten-free diet. I don’t recommend using a silken tofu as it won’t hold its shape.
- Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce: This is a key ingredient in the recipe that adds umami flavor. If you can’t find smoked tofu, try adding a little liquid smoke to the marinade. Another alternative would be to substitute 1 tablespoon of tamari with balsamic vinegar.
- Orange juice: I recommend using freshly squeezed (for the best flavor), but bottled works too if you're in a time crunch.
For the sauce
- Ginger and garlic: For a bright and zesty sauce.
- Orange zest: I prefer using zest from an organic orange!
- Water: You need this to make the sauce, but you can use vegetable broth for more flavor. I suggest using broth if you have bought regular tofu as opposed to smoked tofu. My favorite vegetable broth is this clean-ingredient vegetable broth powder, which is very easy to dose in its powder form.
- Allspice: You can grab a premix from the grocery store or make your own by combining cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Maple syrup: You’ll need to balance out the sauce with a little sweetness. Honey (if not vegan), brown sugar, and agave syrup work, too – just keep in mind they have different levels of sweetness.
- Cornstarch: This works to thicken the sauce. You can also use another thickener, such as arrowroot starch.
As easy as this recipe is, here are a few tips to make it even simpler.
- Invest in a Tofuture tofu press if you don’t have one. It's a great tool to remove excess moisture from the tofu block and helps make it extra crispy. This particular press truly makes the process of pressing the tofu super easy compared to weighing it down with heavy objects.
- Marinate the tofu overnight if time allows. Doing this will deeply enhance the flavor development.
- Remove the white bits of the orange zest. The pith carries bitter oils that can affect the end result of the tofu roast.
- Adjust the seasoning of the sauce to your liking. Season, taste, season, and taste again!
- Double the amount of sauce. That’s if you like it saucy!
- Serve with caramelized onions. I adore adding soft, golden brown caramelized onions to my tofu roast for extra savoryness.
- Add a dry rub. Consider adding a dry rub to the roast before it goes into the oven. You could make a rub using ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried herbs, or spices – get creative! Use a little olive oil or sesame oil to get the rub to stick to the surface, should you need to.
STEP 1: Press and cut the tofu. You want to press the tofu for at least 15 minutes. Removing the excess water is key to a good texture and end result.
For a 14-ounce (400 g) tofu block, slice it across the wide side to create two 7-ounce (200 g) tofu blocks. If you already have two 7-ounce (200 g) tofu blocks, keep them in their original form without cutting. I like to blot my tofu with paper towels after pressing.
STEP 2: Score the pressed tofu. I like to cut the tofu in a diagonal grid to get a diamond pattern on the surface. Insert the little clove studs into the pattern.
STEP 3: Marinate the tofu. Squeeze and juice the fresh oranges. Mix the juice and the tamari in a container or large bowl that can fit the tofu.
Place the tofu blocks scored side down in the marinade. Make sure they fit tightly and in a single layer in the container and are well-submerged. Allow them to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. For best results, let them marinate overnight.
STEP 4: Bake the tofu. Set the oven to 400°F (200°C). Transfer the tofu out of the marinade and onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or small baking dish lightly greased with olive oil.
Bake the tofu in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, turn the oven onto a broiling setting and broil for 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
STEP 5: Make the sauce. To make the sauce, mince the garlic and ginger to a fine paste. I like to use this stainless steel zester and grater. Add this to a saucepan with a little oil. Saute the ginger and garlic on a medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Stir the mixture to prevent it burning.
Stir in the marinade, water, orange zest, allspice, and maple syrup. Simmer these ingredients in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
STEP 6: Thicken the sauce. Make sure to dissolve the cornstarch in a little water before you add it to the sauce to prevent clumps.
Bring the sauce to a boil and add the starch mixture. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk it until the sauce thickens up. Serve the baked crispy tofu with this lovely glaze!
- Refrigeration: Allow the tofu roast to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent moisture loss, and place it in an airtight container. Preferably store the sauce separately. Store the tofu roast in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Reheating: Once ready to serve, reheat the tofu roast in the microwave or the oven (at 300°F, 150°C)and the sauce over low heat. Give it a good whisk before serving.
- Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing this tofu roast after cooking it. The texture will not be the same after thawing.
Don’t forget to join the Cooking With Elo newsletter. You’ll get gluten-free and vegan dinner ideas sent right to your inbox.
Christmas Tofu Roast
- 14 ounces (400 g) extra firm smoked tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or dark gluten-free soy sauce
- ½ cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice
For the glaze
- 1 garlic clove
- 0.6 inches (1,5 cm) ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 organic orange zested
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
- Press the tofu (optional but recommended). Use a tofu press or weigh it down with heavy objects for at least 15 minutes.
- Cut the tofu. If you have a 14-ounce (400 g) tofu block, cut it in half through the thick edge to obtain 2 tofu blocks. If you have 2 tofu blocks of 7 ounces (200 g) keep them whole.
- Score the tofu in a diagonal grid pattern. Prick them with cloves (see step-by-step pictures).
- Marinate the tofu. Juice the oranges. Combine the orange juice and tamari in a container that tightly fits the tofu blocks. Add in the tofu blocks scored side down and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Bake the tofu. Remove the tofu blocks from the marinade and place them into a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Then, turn on the broiling setting of your oven and broil for 5-10 minutes until the tops are crisp and golden.
- Start the sauce. Mince the garlic and ginger. Add it to a saucepan with oil and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Stir often. Add in the rest of the marinade, water, orange zest, allspice, and maple syrup. Let it simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Thicken the sauce. Dissolve the cornstarch in water. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the starch mixture. Remove from the heat and whisk until the sauce thickens.
- Serve the baked tofu with the glaze.
- Read my recommendations above if you have any doubts regarding the ingredients and possible substitutions.
- Double the amount of sauce if you like it extra saucy!
Loved it? Please rate it!
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe from the blog, make sure to let me know how you liked it by leaving a star rating and a comment below. Your feedback really matters! To never miss a recipe, follow me on Instragram, Pinterest and Facebook.