Everyday I’m lunchin.’ Lunchin,’ lunchin.’
I have noticed something missing from the prepared vegan food world. That is a lack of vegan and gluten free lunch meat. There are some really great vegan meat substitutes out there, but all of them seem to be a seitan like lunch meat. Which I love and is great, but what about my gluten free friends? This vegan lunch meat is so insanely simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. It is just tofu processed until smooth in a food processor with spices that make it taste meaty!
Just process tofu, then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread really thin, I like to roll mine out with a rolling pin to get it really thin and even. Just place another piece of parchment paper on top, then roll. Bake until firm and brown. Then just cut into whatever shape you want. Make sandwiches immediately, or store in the fridge for all your lunch and snack needs!
Not only is this vegan, gluten free and easy, it is a really cheap way to get vegan lunch meat! I just got my usual tofu at Trader Joe’s for 2 bucks, and I already had the spices on hand. You may too! One block of tofu makes quite a few of these tasty meatless slices!
So now you may be wondering, how do they taste? The answer is, really damn good. Like surprisingly good. My husband has been crisping them in a pan then putting them on toast with vegan cheese and toppings and says it tastes just like a fried bologna sandwich! I always hated bologna, but my husband loves it, so I feel like this is a great complement!
If you have also found a need for some delicious, easy, gluten free and vegan lunch meat, look no further. A top notch sandwich is just around the corner!
Vegan Lunch Meat
- 1 Block Extra firm tofu
- 2 tsp. Tamari or soy sauce(depending on if you want it gluten free)
- 2 tsp. Liquid smoke
- 2 tsp. Poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Black pepper to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating, place the tofu on some paper towels, place more paper towels on top, then place something heavy on top. Press for about 10 minutes or so until the oven is preheated.
- Now in a food processor, add all the ingredients except the black pepper. Process on high, scraping down the sides as needed until the tofu is completely smooth. It may take a few minutes.
- Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the tofu mixture onto the parchment paper, and start to smooth out with a spatula. Then I recommend placing another piece of parchment paper on top, and rolling it out with a rolling pin.
- Roll out until it is really thin and evenly spread. Should be as thin as you would want the slices to be. About an 1/8 of an inch thick. If your baking sheets are small, use two, to make sure you can get it thin enough.
- Now remove the top piece of parchment parchment paper, sprinkle the top with black pepper, and more paprika of desired.
- Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 to 17 minutes or until the tofu is firm and a bit brown on top.
- Once done, remove from oven, let cool. Then cut into large circles using a biscuit cutter or into rectangles or squares. What ever you like! Make a sandwich immediately, or store the slices in the fridge in a bag or plastic wrap for use later.
OMG this is Genius 🙂 sounds easy peasy!! and of course delicious – thank you so much for sharing!! 🙂
I can’t wait to try this!! Thanks for making gluten free!!
I love your blog!
Thank you so much!❤
Yummy! I just made this and put it in a sandwich. I cut it into strips and made a BLT out of it and it was truly delicious!! It was quick and easy to make…thank you!
Looks YUM! I may make it this weekend! Thank you.
This was awesome! I made all the mistakes you warned about and more. It still turned out well enough for me to add this to my Keeper list. Thank you!
Lauren, love your rabbit/wolf name…so cute. Thank you for being vegan. The inherent cruelty of the animal farming industry is terribly disturbing. Going to make this today.
I love this idea. I tried it but failed. The batter tasted great. A lot more than I hoped stuck to the top parchment paper, so I scraped it off. When I put it in the oven for 450 @ 25 mins. At 10 mins it was smoking and the paper was black. LOL.
I was able to peel off parts of the recipe and they taste great – but I think I was also eating paper. Anyway, it’s good and I’d like to try again – should I perhaps coat the baking sheet and put the mix on the baking sheet directly? Also, maybe cook for a goal of 10 minutes?
Any advice you have would be great. I’m used to botching things my first few goes – but I’m persistent. Thanks for the great recipe and any help you can provide!
Hmmmm….maybe try spraying both sheets of parchment paper with non stick spray. Perhaps it won’t stick as much. I’m not sure why it didn’t work out for you.😔 But yes, try checking it sooner and see if it is cooked through around 10 minutes or so. Maybe your oven runs a bit hotter? You can try reducing the oven temperature a little as well. Let me know if that helps, and I will think of some other suggestions!
Are you using wax paper instead of parchment?
Are you using a toaster oven instead of a full sized oven, or convection bake instead of regular bake setting? Don’t use convection, and reduce temp in any toaster ovens.
Wow! Thanks for the speedy reply! Yes I believe our oven runs hot. I meant spraying the pan and putting the mix directly on it – ignoring the parchment paper. I will try both methods (direct on pan as well as parchment with lower temp). The messy one I did is delicious – just have to make sure I’m cracking off the mix and not the paper LOL! Thanks! I love your recipes and your mission and the name of your blog, too. You rock!
You may be able to just press it into the sheet pan just use a lot of spray so it doesn’t stick. It may still stick I’m not 100% sure. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you the first time! Let me know if you need anything else, and thank you so much for your kind words!!
Yum, these look so good!!!! This looks so much like Plant Based Kindness’s recipe! She has the best bologna! I will try this, it looks so good! Its the same technique so I know the recipe will be a success! Its often hit or miss with GF isn’t it!?
OMG You are brilliant…20 years I am gluten free, and I grew up on vegan deli slices. All that stopped when I became Celiac! I can’t wait to try this. 😋 Can you please tell me if your poultry seasoning is salt free? Mine has salt (it is actually very salty) so I am wondering if my end results would be too salty adding 1tsp of salt along with 2 tsp poultry seasoning and 2 tsp of my bragg’s soy sauce. Thank you for this great recipe. The other recipe M mentioned is gluten so…to people like me, there’s no comparison!!! Thank you for sharing! 💗🙏🌺
Made this yesterday, and it turned out wonderful, actually way better than I expected! Great instruction and awesome recipe. The flavor was perfect. Thanks for sharing!
Yesss! That is wonderful to hear!
How long does it last before spoiling?
I usually put mine in a ziploc bag, and have used it for over a week.
If you don’t do soy can you switch vital wheat in place of tofu will this recipe still hold? Thank you
I don’t think you can just replace the tofu with vital wheat gluten. It would need to be a totally different recipe. The liquid content and method would be totally different.
I am wanting to make this for lunches next week and would like to know approximately how many slices you got out of yours.
I usually can get about 8-10 slices out of it. So I usually get 4-5 sandwiches since I generally put 2 slices per sandwich.
Absolutely delicious! This totally exceeded my expectations. I like this more than the vegan deli slices offered in the store. YUM! What a unique way to use tofu. Thanks yet again!
This is amazing and deliciousl! I dont use liquid smoke (didnt have any, couldnt find any), and i subbed the poultry seasoning for some vegeta vegetable stock powder, and its still amazing! Love love Love this recipe!
If you use greaseproof paper it doesn’t stick.
I used old bay seasoning for the poultry seasoning, not sure if maybe that’s part of the reason but I definitely found this too salty for me. Will still eat, and will definitely make again, just less salt next time.
Thanks so much for this recipe! This stuff is delicious.
I’m not GF but appreciate the non-seitan lunch meat option big time. The last seitan I made, I ate while watching a zombie show and I can’t shake the association between seitan and brains (especially if the texture is off), so this is great.
This recipe is AWESOME and I’m so happy I found it because I can already think of different ways to season it! But- I was weary of the 450 for 25 minutes. Thank goodness I checked, because after 12 minutes it was perfectly cooked! Just hope no one burned theirs beyond edible… 🙂
I just made this Deli-Style non-meat and just finished my first ‘sandwich’ Not awful, but needs mustard and pickles next one. I liked it and am thrilled at the Super Low Price! Thank You!
I made this today with a few spice alterations because of what I had on hand and nightshade allergy. I also cooked it in my Instant Pot Air Fryer. It was delicious. I couldn’t stop my 2 year old grandson from eating it as I was trying to smooth it out.
Thanks for the great recipe. I can’t wait to make again and try other flavours.
I just got a ninja foodi air fryer (same as the insta pot, different name) and am still working on the learning curve— what did you air fry at and how long? I’m wondering if I’d have less cracking than my initial try. Thanks!
Mine is in the oven now. Just dropped in to thank you for the recipe and thank the folks above for input. I ran to make sure I wasn’t burning it at 10 minutes, and it was starting to brown. I noticed my t/oven was set to convection, so I turned it to regular bake. I also noticed that it was shrinking a bit, so I decided to follow the advice of another poster and use it for bacon…so I took it out, brushed it with rice syrup, liquid smoke and black pepper and it’s back in. Can’t wait to try it!
Thank you for this recipe. It was one product we haven’t been able to find on the shelf so really appreciate having a gluten-free vegetarian lunch meat option 🙂
Made this for my GF vegan daughter. We all loved it! So glad we can all have vegan sub sandwiches together now! Can wait to try some of the variations mentioned above. Mine did not look as pretty as pictured, but the taste was great! I think I can work on the look of it. BTW, I used a silicone mat to lay on top and roll out the tofu. Virtually none of it stuck to the mat.
How many ounces of tofu did you use?
How much does a block of extra firm tofu weigh
How many ounces of tofu do you use in this recipe
I didn’t have smoked paprika or liquid smoke but I made it anyway – added a little more liquid aminos to make up for the lack of liquid smoke, and used regular paprika. My parchment can’t go above 450 so I set the oven to 430 and gave it 2 more minutes. Absolutely delicious! I’ll be getting the missing ingredients to see how much better it can be. This is a recipe I’d like to try different seasonings with for variety.
Well, I’ve always followed your recipes exactly and never had any probs. Unfortunately, my oven might run hot? I flattened mine to 1/6inch because I like the idea of slightly thicker slices and after 20 minutes it was VERY brown. It also cracked all over. So, I’m excited to try it again but I’m not sure what I should do differently to avoid the cracking (any suggestions!) and I’ll have to watch it to find the sweet spot on baking time. Despite that, The flavor and texture is quite wonderful (I think I caught it just before getting too toasted—unless that’s just the liquid smoke I taste, haha). I’m so thrilled to be able to make my own sandwich “meat” and can’t wait to try a few different spice variations once I’ve got this one down. Thanks for your recipes!
Dianna L Grose
I made this and loved it! I doubled the amount of spices and added a few others. I will definitely be making this again. I hated buying “deli meats” and am happy to have a healthier option where I can control the ingredients.
Thanks again for an wonderful VGF recipe. ❤️ this was quick and easy but slightly salty. I definitely will make it again and again but eliminating the added salt and watching the timing… this recipe is definitely a keeper! 😋 I appreciate you very much
worked really well! I was happy to not have to make seitan to make a good vegan deli meat. Flavor with whatever you have on hand, but the liquid smoke is really important imo! I reduced the temp and cooking time a little, but just keep an eye on your oven and yours should turn out great.
I’m not vegan but I love any food that’s delicious. I’ve had some vegan lunch meats I enjoyed so I thought I’d give making it a try. This recipe is so stupid easy and delicious I honestly think I’ll make this more than I’ll buy lunchmeat. The parchment paper on top was a problem as it kept sticking but I just scraped and smoothed it back into the batch. I made it a little thinner and it came out a little crispy and chrunchy. I put it in a sandwich with lettuce and horseradish sauce and basically it’s almost like vegan bacon! Thank you!
I like this idea however I found the temperature didn’t work for me.. my parchment paper could only handle 425 so I put my oven at 400 and it was definitely done in 10 mins. Also the liquid smoke is STRONG.. too strong for me, so instead of 2 tsp I may try 1/4 tsp next time but otherwise it’s a great idea.
I was so happy to hear about this recipe today. It sounds like the flavor can be varied easily with different added seasonings. I am looking for some type of “Corned Beef” flavor so I could try making Rueben sandwiches. Any thoughts or ideas on making this taste like corned beef? Thank you!
Wondering how big your block of tofu was. We have two different sizes that are quite different at my local grocery store.
I used 400g and it was just right!
yumm just made this (on my lunch break!! so easy!)
wow it satisfied my cravings BIG TIME!!
I didn’t have liquid smoke so i used smoked paprika which was a great substitute!
I didn’t have Tamari or any other amino acids to sub in, so I used: 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/8tsp of onion powder, 1tsp of tomato paste, splash of balsamic vinegar,
I rolled mine “too thin” so I removed it around 17 minutes, and I lost some of it to burning, but the parts that were left were so tasty.
Looks so good. But I can’t do sou and make lentil tofu. Will that work in this recipe? Thanks
You’re a genius!! Made a few times now. For anyone who wants thin slices you can add some xanthum gum to help prevent cracking.
hey there, I’m not vegan or planning on being one but i really like exploring alternatve protien sources and recently I’ve been making my own tofu from scratch. its labor entensive but its worth it to reduce my plasic waste. i am really intersted with this recipe and plan on experimenting with the left over bean pulp.
I would not have believed it if I didn’t taste it. I just had it on a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard, and pepperoncini and it was amazing. Great for when a vegan gets a jones for a deli sandwich.
Big win! My husband loved this recipe and has asked that it be a regular repeat. Easy and delicious.
Loved this! I’ve been making it once a week for sandwiches!