This is a tasty and satisfying plant-based alternative to Jamaican Jerk Chicken. It’s a great appetizer for parties, or can be served as a main course for dinner.
My Jerk Cauliflower is one of the most popular recipes on here, so I kept going with the jerk theme for more recipes. This Jerk Tofu recipe is just as amazing, and it gives a flavor punch. This is a great dish to serve with my Jamaican Rice Peas and Baked Plantains.
Originally posted on September 27, 2018.
You may have heard about jerk tofu, but do you know what it is? As someone who grew up in Jamaica and eventually moved to the United States, making a Jamaican Jerk Tofu was a no-brainer.
It’s made from tofu that has been marinated and then baked. I like to use a mixture of Bragg’s liquid aminos, olive oil, onion & garlic powder, paprika, nutritional yeast flakes, and jerk sauce (which gives the flavors) to make it extra tasty.
I love how tofu absorbs the flavor of the jerk sauce. I ended up falling in love with this new flavor and decided to share this recipe with you all.
Why You Will Like This Jerk Tofu Recipe?
Jerk tofu is actually really good. I’m sure you’ll love trying this recipe again and again because:
- Jerk Tofu is a vegan take on Jerk Chicken. If you are vegetarian or vegan, then this is the best alternative.
- It’s a whole lot of flavor, with just the right amount of heat.
- It is healthy and tasty.
- This delicious and spicy dish is easy to make.
- Naturally gluten-free, this recipe contains no gluten.
- This recipe doesn’t contain any dairy products.
- This dish has been made without the use of any eggs.
- It can be made kid-friendly.
FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS, SCROLL TO SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END. BUT BEFORE YOU SCROLL CHECK THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT IS INCLUDED IN THE BLURB.
What Is Jerk Sauce?
This Jerk Tofu recipe would be incomplete without jerk sauce, so it is necessary to know it in detail.
“Jerk sauce is a marinade that originated in Jamaica. Allspice, scotch bonnet pepper, and thyme are some of the key ingredients that make up this blend.”
In Jamaica, where I grew up, the meat was poked and rubbed with jerk sauce. The meat is then cut in half lengthwise and grilled with charcoal in old oil barrels. Check out this article on Jerk on Wikipedia for more information.
The dry version of this sauce is Jamaican jerk seasoning.
What Is Jamaican Jerk Seasoning?
Jamaican jerk seasoning is a special blend of spices that makes up a rub or a mix. Jerk spice is the most common type of spice mix used in Jamaica. It is made from about eight to ten spices and has a complex flavor.
It is used on a variety of foods as a marinade or is made into a sauce. The term “jerk” is given to a special type of technique in Jamaica. In this technique, holes are poked in the meat so that the spices can go deep down and give flavor to the meat.
I keep my Jerk Seasoning in my spice rack to use on various veggies, tofu, or anything I think it will taste good on. I also have a Jerk Sauce I love to drizzle on top of lots of different meals.
How To Make Jamaican Jerk Seasoning?
Now, because the jerk spice is made from several spices, you can’t pick them randomly. Every spice has its own unique taste. So, if you randomly pick up and mix spices, you are not doing justice to the individual flavor. Therefore, the spices in the jerk seasonings are not picked up randomly.
There is a science behind it! Every spice is carefully picked so that when these spices are mixed together, every single spice shines through. You won’t find a single flavor to take over others. Every spice has its own place in the mix. And above all, there is a balance of sweet, salty, spice, and tart. It is truly amazing!
Here are the necessary components that make up the Jamaican jerk seasoning:
- Herbs: herbs bring in freshness and a distinct strong flavor. The most commonly used herbs are dried oregano, parsley, and thyme.
- Aromatics: Aromatics add a strong fragrance to the mix. The most commonly used aromatics include onion powder and garlic powder.
- Seasoning: Seasonings like salt and black or white pepper are a must. If you skip pepper, you can’t skip the salt. It is a major flavor!
- Spice: Jamaicans love their spices. Especially cinnamon and nutmeg. So, these two are compulsory! Other than these, you can also use all-spice, cumin, etc.
- Sugar: Sugar is another important flavor you can’t miss. It balances out the heat. You can use any type of sugar. For instance, use organic cane sugar. If you want to add more depth to sugar flavors, use brown sugar.
- Heat: Now, a little heat is good. There are many options here. Use paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. And if you want to take the heat to the next level, use dried scotch bonnet powder.
Is Tofu Good To Add To Your Diet?
Tofu is a great source of protein with only 181 calories per half-cup. What’s more is it’s very low in carbs and cholesterol free, making it a perfect substitute for meat.
It also contains fats, carbohydrates, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
Tofu’s combination of fiber, protein, and isoflavones, according to experts, may be a cause for its heart-health benefits. This may also be why whole soy foods like tofu seem to be better for lowering cholesterol than soy supplements.
Isoflavones, which are found in all soy products, including tofu, are thought to be the primary contributor to the health benefits of tofu. Isoflavones can act as both estrogen agonists and estrogen antagonists. These may aid in the prevention of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis.
Tofu may help prevent cancers of the breast, gut, and prostate, according to research.
Jerk Tofu Recipe’s Required Ingredients
- Tofu: the recipe’s base. I have explained below in detail what type of tofu is required for this recipe. Scroll down to read.
- Olive Oil: I have used olive oil which is loaded with healthy fats and is a perfect choice. However, you can use any available one.
- Bragg’s liquid aminos: Made from soya bean, this will fulfill the need for protein and add umami flavor. It is an integral ingredient in vegan meals, and I adore it. Tamari sauce or coconut aminos can alternatively be used in its place.
- Garlic powder: Garlic powder gives the tofu a richer flavor. It has a strong, savory flavor that is detectable.
- Onion powder: Tofu will taste more flavorful when onion powder is added.
- Paprika: The flavor of paprika is sweet and spicy. It’s a great way to add some smokiness and heat to your jerk tofu.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes: For some cheesy flavor and Vitamin B12 I added nutritional yeast flakes.
- Jerk Sauce: I use my homemade jerk sauce following this recipe, however, if you’re too lazy you can use store-bought jerk sauce. But I’m telling you the taste will not be the same.
How To Select The Perfect Tofu For This Recipe?
A big difference in your preparation process will depend on if you use extra-firm or super-firm tofu. With super-firm tofu, you will save yourself the task of having to squeeze the tofu beforehand.
However, it can be harder to find, or pricier. Near me, I can find super firm tofu at Publix, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, so check similar stores near you.
It is important to note that silken or firm tofu will not be suitable for this recipe. Silken tofu will practically turn to mush in your hands before you can even slice it and instead lends itself to creamy sauces and desserts.
Firm tofu is still not quite what you’ll need, and will crumble to pieces when manhandled. It also has an undesirably soft texture when eaten, and this is the reason why many people are scared to try tofu.
If you don’t have super-firm tofu then you will need to drain the tofu. Do this by wrapping the block of tofu in a clean kitchen towel and placing something heavy on top, such as a pot or books, and letting the tofu drain excess liquid for about 20 minutes.
If you find that the firmest tofu available to you is still too soft for your liking, an old method of mine is to freeze it. When the tofu is frozen and defrosted, the texture becomes firmer and spongier.
I used super-firm tofu to make my Jamaican jerk tofu, so it didn’t need to be pressed to remove excess water. This is why I highly recommend this type of tofu
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How To Make Jerk Tofu?
Add tofu cubes to a large bowl, and gently coat with oil, Bragg’s liquid aminos, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and nutritional yeast flakes. Allow the tofu cubes to marinate for 10 minutes in the refrigerator while you prepare the jerk sauce. I baked the marinated cubes until they were crisp, then I smothered them with my amazing Jerk Sauce then I put them back in the oven for a final bake.
I adore making this jerk tofu ahead of time and serving it with Jamaican rice and peas and brown rice (or cauliflower fried rice). Add some roasted vegetables, grilled pineapple, or a simple salad to complete the meal.
Jamaican jerk tofu is great on its own, but it also works great as a filling for a taco or a sandwich when folded into a warm tortilla.
How To Store And Reheat Leftovers?
Leftover jerk tofu can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days if stored properly. You may reheat it in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop; a little broth or water may be needed to prevent sticking.
Substitutions To Make This Recipe Work For Your Diet
This recipe for Jerk Tofu is very adaptable and may be changed to suit a variety of different diets:
- Oil-free: If you’re trying to avoid oils, you can make a marinade with water instead of oil. To prevent the tofu cubes from sticking during cooking, simply move them frequently.
- Soy-free: If you are soy-free, omit the tofu because it contains soy. If you are not vegan or lactose intolerant, you might substitute halloumi, or paneer (both are dairy cheeses).
- Add veggies: This dish is incredibly adaptable. You are welcome to include vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, potato, beans, and carrots. Prior to adding them to the jerk sauce, simply stir-fry them and then bake them along with the tofu.
Here are some advice and tips for making the ideal jerk tofu:
- Take care when using the jerk sauce. Add it slowly, a teaspoon at a time, and taste as you add it because it’s really spicy.
- Jerk Sauce can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
- You can add Jerk Seasoning for extra flavor.
- Arrange tofu cubes in a single layer on an oiled baking pan for crispy results.
- If you’re using firm tofu, don’t forget to press the tofu. To ensure that the tofu can absorb the flavors you add, it’s crucial to drain all the liquid.
More Delicious Vegan To Recipes To Try
- Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Vegan Fish And Chips
- Smothered Tofu Nuggets
- Easy Scrambled Tofu Recipe
- Tofu Steaks With Avocado Chimichurri
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Jerk Tofu Good?
Anybody can become a fan of tofu with the help of a miracle dish like this. It’s impossible to not enjoy the Jamaican “jerk” seasoning. It has savory and sweet flavors at the same time and is similar to barbeque and curry. Just make sure to leave enough time for pressing and marinating.
Can I Prepare This Recipe In Advance?
The tofu can be diced, mixed with the seasonings, and left to marinate for up to a day in a bowl in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, you may thread them onto skewers, brush them with the marinade, and store them on a platter in the refrigerator for a minimum of two days.
Then, simply bake/grill and serve!
You can also prepare the jerk sauce in advance to save time. Jerk sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Also, it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Jerk tofu keeps well for a month or two when stored in an airtight container or frozen bag. Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator before reheating according to the directions above.
Which Tofu Is Healthiest?
Firm tofu has more than twice as much protein as silken tofu and only about half as many calories and fat. Water content is the cause of this. The water content of silken tofu is higher than that of firm tofu, the firm tofu is drier and denser.
What Does Jerk Sauce Taste Like?
Jerk sauce is a Jamaica bottle. It is made with scotch bonnet peppers, nutmeg, pimento (allspice), soy sauce, thyme, and other spices. You can taste a little bit of sweet, a little bit of salty, a lot of spicy, and a punch of flavor that can only be called “island-y.”
Is Jerk Spicy?
Yes! This sauce is hot because of the Scotch Bonnet peppers. One pepper or half a pepper can be substituted for the full number of peppers if you prefer a milder flavor. Make sure to properly remove the peppers’ ribs and seeds before throwing them away without touching your face.
Can I Make This Top 9 Allergen Free?
Since this meal is based on tofu, soy is the primary ingredient; however, you may substitute anything else, such as mushrooms, jackfruit, or cauliflower, for the tofu.
Grill Or Pan Fry – Which Is Better For Jerk Tofu?
Both flavors are delicious. It tastes excellent when jerk tofu is grilled to bring out some of the smoky grill flavors. Rather than turning on the grill, pan frying is more convenient and delicious.
But I like to bake this jerk tofu in the oven to get more crispy tofu bites. Our suggestion is 30 minutes without sauce and 12-15 minutes with sauce at 400 degrees.
Can I Air-Fry the Tofu?
Yes, you can air the tofu in a preheated air fryer at 380 F for 12-15 minutes. Add the jerk sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes
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- Categories: Gluten-Free, Vegan
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: Jamaican
- Energy: 220 kcal / 920 kJ
- Fat: 3 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Carbs: 48 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 45 min
- Ready in: 55 min
- For: 6 Servings
- 14-16 ounces tofu . (extra-firm or super-firm), drained and cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- 2 cups Jerk Sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Lightly grease the baking sheet with oil.
- Add tofu cubes to a large bowl, and gently coat with oil, Bragg's liquid aminos, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and nutritional yeast flakes. Allow the tofu cubes to marinate for 10 minutes in the refrigerator while you prepare the jerk sauce.
- Arrange tofu cubes in a single layer on an oiled baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Toss baked tofu with jerk sauce, and return to the oven to bake until sauce is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Made this last night and my wife can’t stop raving about how fabulous it is! She said the jerk sauce is better than any she’s ever had (and we’ve had some great jerk over the years)! I did have to add a bit of coconut milk to it because the peppers made it too spicy for our kids to not complain (we would have loved it), and that added a unique smoothness to it.
Thank you for sharing your feedback! We’re thrilled to hear that you and your wife enjoyed the dish and that the jerk sauce was a hit. It’s great that you were able to make some modifications to suit your family’s tastes by adding coconut milk, and that it added a unique smoothness to the dish. We hope you continue to enjoy experimenting with different flavors and spices in your cooking.
This jerk tofu is really easy to serve or prepare for the entire family ❤️❤️🥰🥰
Wonderful recipe! Served this over your Jamaican rice and peas with your baked plantains. Everything was delicious!
What do you serve this with?
I love to serve it with Jamaican rice and peas and Vegan Coleslaw, so delicious! The recipes are on here.
This recipe was a huge hit, it reminded me of our recent trip to Jamaica!
Wow thank you Bea, I’m so happy you enjoyed it and it reminded you of Jamaica. I hope you had a fun time.