Tofu Pastrami

Sweet and tangy marinated tofu makes a fine fake pastrami. Serve it with quinoa or rice, or thinly slice for sandwiches.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 15 minutes (plus time to marinate)


  • square or rectangular baking dish
  • mortar and pestle
  • medium saucepan
  • cookie sheet


  • 24 oz tofu, cut into 4 equal blocks
  • ¼ c juniper berries
  • ¼ c black peppercorns
  • 4 c water
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • ¼ c salt
  • 12 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 T black pepper
  • 2 T dried thyme
  • 3 T coriander
  • 2 t cloves
  • 9 bay leaves


Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish and set aside.

Place juniper berries in the mortar and crush. Transfer half to the saucepan, then add the peppercorns to the mortar and crush. Set aside.

Add everything else to the juniper berries saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cool.

Pour the cooled marinade over the tofu and turn each piece to coat. Let sit for at least 2 hours, turning the tofu every 30 minutes so that both sides spend equal time submerged.

Preheat broiler to 500.

Shake off excess marinade and transfer the tofu to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the juniper-pepper mixture evenly on top of each piece.

Broil until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.


The original recipe called for 1 cup (!) of salt. I used a quarter of that and the saltiness was still very evident. Also, the coating looks nice, but even after cutting the amount in half, I found it far too spicy and overwhelming and ended up scraping it off. Next time I’ll just skip that part. The tofu itself was delicious, as was the marinade, which I drizzled over boiled quinoa.

Great Chefs Cook VeganAdapted from chef Todd English’s "Pastrami Tofu with Pumpernickel Farro and Whole Grain Mustard" menu in Great Chefs Cook Vegan (read my review).

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Tofu pastrami