Monday, November 17, 2014

Tofu Loaf-An Alternative to Turkey

I've always been a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and although I no longer live in America, I still like to enjoy something that reminds me of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. I don't make turkey and stuffing simply because they aren't readily available here in Japan. It's also not an easy task to get things such as canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce. Of course if I make the hour trek to one of the few grocery stores that cater to Americans, I could but I unless I'm in the neighborhood, I simply cannot be bothered. I mean, we're busy as is already right? 
So instead of going through all that trouble, I prefer to make this tasty tofu loaf that I first made a couple of years ago. I like to serve it with a side of sweet potatoes and some green vegetables such as green beans or broccoli. All you need is some pumpkin pie for dessert and you're all set!

For non-vegetarians too!

Although I'm far from becoming a vegetarian, I do enjoy vegetarian dishes on a regular basis. For the past few years, I've been serving a delicious tofu loaf that's easy to make, delicous and healthy. Although it contains absolutely no meat, it's a hearty dish and should satisfy any meat lover. It's basically a tofu loaf that's filled with the stuffing of your choice and with your favorite gravy, it makes a perfect alternative to the traditional turkey.
Today I decided to stuff my loaf with a simple mixture of rice and vegetables.  I simply combine these ingredients ( 2 cups cooked rice, 1/2 cup minced vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, fine bread crumbs ) in a large bowl until they are well combined. 
The vegetables add some much-needed texture and vitamins to the loaf while the ginger gives it a nice kick. I usually like to serve it with a Japanese sauce made of equal parts soy sauce and lemon over a mound of grated daikon radish. However for a more traditional holiday taste, serve with your favorite homemade or store-bought gravy.

Serves 4


  • 2 blocks firm tofu
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot finely chopped
  • 2/3 cups panko(fine bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 cups of your favorite stuffing ( or use my rice stuffing )


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and flour loaf pan.
  2. Place tofu in a bowl lined with a couple of paper towels and microwave for 5 minutes.
  3. Take the tofu out and drain excess water. 
  4. Saute onions and carrots for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  5. Put tofu, vegetables and the remaining ingredients into bowl and mix with hands until well combined.
  6. Spread a layer of tofu mixture on all sides of the pan setting aside 1 cup for the top.
  7. Gently add stuffing inside the loaf. Cover with remaining tofu mixture.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, place aluminum foil over the top and continue to bake until done. Test doneness by inserting a knife into the loaf. It should come out clean. 
  9. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.
  10. Slice and serve with your favorite sauce or gravy.
To make it even easier, I made a video so you can see just how easy this is to make. 

Step-by-Step Video Instructions for the Tofu Loaf

I hope you enjoyed this dish. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you. What are you planning to make this Thanksgiving? Do you think you would enjoy this dish?

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  1. I've tried lots of tofu recipes. Only a few stayed in my repertoire. This looks like one I may be adding very soon. I want to dip my fork into it this minute!

    I don't have a microwave and will have to make do with a conventional oven. Can you tell me what I'm looking for in that phase of the recipe, please? Tofu is now on today's shopping list and I want to make this today or tomorrow.

    Thanks for another lovely dish.

    1. Hi Grace. So glad you like this recipe. In place of zapping it in the microwave, you can simply place the tofu blocks on a chopping board. place a paper towel on top of them. put a plate on top. Tilt the cutting board slightly by putting something underneath it like a small shallow plate or something. leave it for 30 min to an hour and you're all set.

    2. Oh, I see, the microwaving was to help it release moisture. Thanks, Shinichi. I hope you will forgive me, but I have a few more questions for you.

      In the stuffing recipe, you say "1/2 soy sauce." Would that be half a teaspoon?

      In both the stuffing and the loaf recipes you call for a full teaspoon of pepper. What type of pepper are you using?

      What size loaf pan should we use?

      Finally, could you also share the number of servings it yields, please?

      I apologize for all the questions, but since I don't cook with tofu much, I don't feel I can guess well on these things. Also, I will be serving at least one person with diabetes, so I have to track everything I do.

    3. Hi Grace. No need to apologize. I can't believe I forgot to put teaspoon in the recipe. yes it's 1 teaspoon soy sauce. I use black pepper but even white pepper will do.

      I also use a 9x5 loaf pan and it serves approximately 4. I hope this helps.

      depending on your oven sometimes the top cooks faster so you might want to check it before the alloted time just to check. if it's browning too fast cover with foil and continue cooking.

      let me know if you have further questions.

  2. We wouldn't eat the Tofu version in our home (I don't think?) but honestly you make it look and sound so appetizing, I'll bet it would be a hit!

    1. Definitely try this on a normal day. it's really good it a nice change from meat.


As always, your comments are appreciated. Thanks!