Tofu Jerky, The Sequel

Quentin Bacon

One of my favorite snacks from VB6 is now an ongoing project, as I continue to play with jerky variations. It’s a portable, chewy snack that’s the next best thing—flavor, not healthwise!—to a Slim Jim. And it’s easy to make, too.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended


  • 1 pound firm tofu (1 block)

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon chili powder


1. Heat the oven to 225°F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Cut the block of tofu in half through the equator and blot the halves dry. then cut each half the long way into slices a bit thicker than 1 ⁄ 8 inch (you should have about 28 slices total), and lay them on the parchment (it’s preferable if they’re touching).

2. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the remain- ing ingredients with 1 tablespoon water to make a basting sauce. after 30 minutes, lightly brush the top of the tofu slices with half of the sauce, and bake for another 15 minutes. Flip the slices and cook for another 30 minutes, then lightly brush the second side with more sauce and bake for another 15 minutes. the tofu should be chewy (not crunchy) and still very pliable.

3. Let the jerky cool completely (the slices will get a bit more crisp as they cool). eat right away (or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week).

Miso Jerky
Swap miso paste for tomato paste, and skip the cumin and smoked paprika. add 1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon garlic powder if you’d like.

Teriyaki Jerky
Use mirin instead of the tomato paste, ground ginger for the cumin, and onion powder for the smoked paprika.

Garlicky Tofu Jerky
Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder along with the smoked paprika.

Recipe from The VB6 Cookbook (Photo: Quentin Bacon)