One of the more challenging issues with adopting a plant-based diet is how to celebrate holidays with friends and family and still feel included. Most holidays, especially Christmas, are centered around traditional foods. Foods that are ingrained in our psyches to be as important as the holiday itself. Many of these foods have been passed down from one generation to the next. Chances are these foods aren’t vegan.
No worries! There are many ways to take traditional recipes and veganize them so that all can feel included around the family table. I can’t think of any Christmas tradition more important than a glazed ham sitting front and center. Therefore, I decided to create a plant based version that will be stunning to display as well as delicious to eat – Christmas Maple Mustard Glazed Tofu “Ham!”
Whether or not you’re vegan or vegetarian its good to have an option for those who are. I have had many queries about sharing recipes so that a mom can make a vegan meal for a daughter or an uncle for a nephew, etc. Plus, I guarantee everyone will be digging into this decked-out version of tofu.
Unfortunately, tofu often gets a bad rap. Its bland color and taste are off putting for many who didn’t grow up eating this plant-based protein. Tofu is actually a magical ingredient. A chameleon that can change its color, taste and texture based on how it’s prepared. This version takes on a rich mahogany patina and sweet-smoky flavor from the marinade and glaze and a silky yet firm texture from the long bake in the oven. Oh, and let’s not forget the infusion of Christmas spice from the whole cloves studded throughout the tofu block. Divine!
This baked tofu ham can be served right out of the oven, at room temperature, chilled or reheated. You can offer slices, wedges or large chunks. It’s perfect over steamed rice or any other grain.
Please note that you might want to double up on the glaze. It’s so good you’ll be pouring it on everything!
Merry Merry to all who celebrate!
Christmas Maple Mustard Glazed Baked Tofu “Ham”
Each block serves 3-4
Easily doubled and tripled for large gatherings
2 blocks super firm tofu (must be super firm)
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
1 ½ tsp liquid smoke
1 recipe maple mustard glaze (recipe follows)
Drain and thoroughly pat dry the blocks of tofu. Place in a container large enough to hold them with at least a one inch depth.
With a sharp knife, score a diamond cross hatch pattern in the tofu being sure to go no more than half way deep.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the soy sauce or tamari and the liquid smoke. Pour this marinade all over the 2 blocks of tofu making sure to get in the crosshatch crevices and underneath the blocks as well. Let marinate at room temperature at least a half an hour, basting with the marinade every 10 minutes.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Transfer the tofu only, to a small baking pan with 2 inch sides. (I used a metal cake pan) lined with foil then parchment paper on top. (This will help prevent a sticky pan to clean.) Reserve the marinade for basting.
Insert whole cloves at the juncture of each cross hatch.
Bake for 45-50 minutes basting with the marinade every 10 minutes.
Carefully pour the glaze all over the 2 blocks of tofu, letting it stream down the sides.
Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes to get a deep caramel color. You can turn the oven up to 400 degrees for a darker color but make sure to watch that the glaze doesn’t burn.
When ready, remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. Carefully transfer to a serving dish. Pour any pan juices into a small pitcher to serve on the side.
You can also make an extra batch of glaze to serve on the side. If doing that let the glaze cook until its hot and bubbly, then transfer for service.
Maple Mustard Glaze
½ cup organic brown sugar
2 T dark amber maple syrup
Juice of one orange
3 T Dijon mustard
Pinch of kosher salt or to taste
Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat just until the sugar dissolves stirring the whole time on a low flame. You don’t want to cook the glaze, just get all of the ingredients incorporated and the sugar melted. Do this right before you are ready to glaze the tofu.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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