Whenever we have a special occasion that traditionally revolves around a roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and etc., I make this tofu roast. It’s fussier than most meals that I make but the end result is a version of the traditional meal that does no harm to the turkeys. Plus the added prep makes it a special meal.
Over the years that I’ve been vegan, I’ve made this countless times. The flavours can be changed but the end result always pleases. The tofu is shaped into a bowl, stuffed with the stuffing and then closed into a ball. It is coated with a glaze and baked for about an hour. The secret is that it must all be made in advance so the tofu keeps its shape and does not fall apart.
This recipe is very versatile so that it can be adapted with any flavourings that are traditional in your holiday meals. The end result is pure comfort food and despite the forward-planning required, it’s not difficult to make. It’s great for get togethers since most of the work is done ahead of time so you can spend the day with your guests.
Before you start, make sure you have cheese cloth. You can buy it at any kitchen supply store and often at grocery stores.
Tofu roast with stuffing
- 2 blocks of tofu (extra firm)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- stuffing made how you like it
For the glaze
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Press the liquid out of the two blocks of tofu. I put them in a colander over a bowl, cover with a small plate and top with two cans of beans. Let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. This is really important so ensure that they have had enough time to drain excess liquid or it won’t keep its shape.
While the tofu is draining, make a batch of stuffing according to your favourite recipe. Let it cool.
Once the tofu has been properly drained, break it into chunks and put it in a food processor. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast and the soy sauce. You can also add poultry seasoning, a teaspoon of thyme and rosemary or any other seasoning you’d like as long as you don’t add much liquid at this stage. I keep it very simple since we’ll be serving it with cranberry sauce and gravy. And the tofu will be coated in a glaze that will seep in and add flavour while it bakes.
The food processor should turn the tofu into a sticky, uniform dough. Once there are no more chunks of tofu or garlic, prepare to shape the bowl.
Line a large colander with cheese cloth. Use enough to have the cloth hang over the sides of the colander. The excess will be tied to shape and hang the roast.
Press the tofu into a bowl shape in the cheese cloth so that it coats the sides of the colander – see the picture below.
It doesn’t have to be perfect – just spread it around so there’s a layer of tofu up the sides of the colander to about the same level. Reserve about 1/2 cup of tofu for the bottom.
Pour the stuffing you made into the middle of the bowl. Put enough to cover the bottom of the bowl and up the sides. Any extra stuffing can be baked in a side dish but you should be able to fit about three or more cups of stuffing into the roast.
Press the remaining 1/2 cup of tofu over the stuffing to form the bottom of the roast. Do your best to cover all the stuffing but don’t worry too much about it because it will all come together when you tie the cheese cloth.
Now take two diagonal corners of the cheese cloth and tie them together tightly so the knot is in the middle. Do the same with the opposite corners so there are two knots in the middle of the roast. Tie the ends of the cheese cloth around a wooden spoon so that it can hang over the colander or another deep bowl.
The tofu must hang like this in the fridge overnight so that it will keep its shape when you remove the cheese cloth. Any excess liquid will drip out of the tofu.
About an hour and a half before dinner time, preheat the oven to 400. It’s time to remove the tofu from the cheese cloth. Cut the cheese cloth and carefully turn the tofu ball into a lidded baking dish.
Now it’s time to make the glaze. Combine the glaze ingredients and keep a pastry brush handy. Coat the tofu ball with the glaze, fill the baking dish with vegetables (coated in olive oil), cover it with the lid and bake it for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove it from the oven, brush it with the glaze and return it to bake for another 15 minutes without the lid. This time, use the remaining glaze and let it bake for the last 15 minutes (it should take about an hour to cook in total).
Slice and serve with cranberry sauce, gravy, potatoes and all the other traditional sides. I’ve made a mushroom and onion gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, baked potatoes, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes.
If you need more detail about the recipe or how to make cranberry sauce or gravy, let me know in the comments.