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Vegan Pepperoni Tofu Crumbles Recipe

5 from 15 votes

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These vegan pepperoni tofu crumbles taste like the real thing! They are made with extra-firm tofu, seasonings, and herbs. Sprinkle on top of veggie dishes, potatoes, salads, soups, and of course use it to top pizza!

bowl of cooked pepperoni tofu crumbles in a white bowl on a red checked napkin

Here is my crazy vegan confession of the day: I don’t like tofu. There, I said it! For me, it’s a texture thing. The “creamy” soft middle and the flavored uniform bite-size squares make my mouth and tummy shiver – in a bad way.

BUT what I do love are my highly flavorful tofu crumbles! They are smallish with varied shapes and sizes, a little chewy, highly seasoned, and go just about anywhere you need a savory pop of flavor! Use tofu crumbles on baked potatoes or other veggies, pizza, salad, or sprinkled on soup.

For other amazingly flavored tofu crumbles from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try my:

Why you will love this vegan pepperoni recipe

  • Bottom line: The tofu crumbles taste like pepperoni and belong on your vegan pepperoni pizza!
Pizza with vegan vodka sauce, pepperoni tofu crumbles, peppers, and onions
Tofu crumbles on pizza are the perfect pop of flavor!
  • high in protein
  • tofu crumbles have a great texture – a little chewy and not mushy
  • seasoned just right
  • versatile – can go on pizza, veggies, salads, or pasta
Italian salad with pepperoni tofu crumbles. White bowl is on a red checked napkin with Italian dressing and a bread basket in the background
Pepperoni tofu is perfect to sprinkle on top of an Italian salad.

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bowl of cooked pepperoni tofu crumbles in a white bowl on a red checked napkin with Pinterest text overlay

Ingredients needed to make vegan pepperoni tofu crumbles

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They really do all contribute to the depth of flavor in this flavorful tofu crumbles recipe.

  • tofu – extra firm
  •  ketchup
  • tahini paste
  • low sodium soy sauce
  •  nutritional yeast
  • coconut sugar – can sub in brown sugar
  • smoked paprika
  •  garlic powder and onion powder
  • Italian seasonings
  • fennel seeds
  •  apple cider vinegar
  • ground mustard powder
  • red pepper flakes 
  • salt and pepper
  • cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Ingredients needed for pepperoni tofu crumbles - all listed individually in text above

How to make vegan pepperoni with tofu

Step 1: Press the tofu

Over the years I’ve learned to use a tofu press to press my tofu. I actually went for a couple of years without buying a tofu press thinking that I could do just fine without one. I have no idea why I was so stubborn! The liquide from tofu presses better and more efficiently when using an actual tofu press. And they aren’t really that expensive either!

Using an actual tofu press is so much easier and more efficient than stacking between plates, and heavy books and such. BUT veggie eater – you do you!

A special note about the tofu

This recipe was developed using a 16-ounce block of extra firm tofu. I know that some brands come in 14-ounce blocks. I tested this recipe using the smaller size and was disappointed. The flavor was way too intense to the point of being…not tasty. And I do take pride in the fact that when I publish a recipe on Veggie Fun Kitchen you can count on flavor and YES tasty!

If you only have a 14-ounce block, I would actually recommend buying two and slicing off a two-ounce piece and adding it to the 14-ounce block. You can always freeze the rest to use at a later date.

Step 2: Mix the other ingredients

While your tofu is pressing you can heat the oven, prepare the pan, and mix up the flavorful saucy pepperoni flavored ingredients.

tofu pressing on the left and the bowl of seasonings on the right
Mix up the other ingredients while the tofu is pressing.

I prepare my pan by lining it with parchment paper. You can also line with foil or use a silicone mat.

Step 3: Crumble the tofu and mix it up

I pat my pressed and drained tofu dry with a paper towel before crumbling it into small pieces.

Probably the most challenging part of this recipe is hand crumbling the tofu, but hand crumbling the tofu produces the best results!

crumbling tofu by hand into bow with seasonings
Hand crumble the pressed and drained tofu directly into the mixed sauce ingredients. Hand crumbling will produce the best results.

You might be tempted to just cut the pressed tofu into small pieces. This vegan tofu recipe really does work best if the little tofu pieces are different shapes and similar but different sizes. I hate to say it looks more “realistic” this way. But perhaps that’s it…

After you crumble the tofu into the sacey wet ingredients then mix mix mix. You will want to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you mix so that you get all of those tasty seasonings covering the little tofu pieces.

stirring the crumbled tofu into the seasonings

Step 3: Bake the tofu

Spread the seasoned wet tofu mixture onto a prepared baking sheet. I like to cover my baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Try to spread the mixture out into a single layer the best that you can. The unbaked seasoned tofu will be pale and (frankly) unappealing looking at this point. It will darken as it bakes.

getting ready to bake the tofu crumbles

Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the times goes off then pull the tray out of the oven and with a spatual carefully turn and stir. The objective is for the tofu to cook evenly. The tofu on the edges will have begun to cook more than the stuff in the middle. Likewise, the bottom side of the tofu crumbles will not have cooked as well as the top side. So turn and stir, bringing the outside layer into the center, the center to the outter part. Flip it over as you stir, bringing the bottom to the top and visa-versa.

Put the pan back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Pull it out and do again.

You can put baked tofu back in the oven for 5 minute increments until the tofu is as toasty brown as you’d like. Watch that it doesn’t burn though – especially the part on the outter edges.

Serving suggestions

Now you’ve got a beautiful bowl of vegan pepperoni tofu that is crying for a pizza!

Pizza with vegan vodka sauce, pepperoni tofu crumbles, peppers, and onions

You can also top a salad, spinkle in soup, add to baked potatoes or other veggie dishes, or just eat with a spoon! I won’t tell, I promise:)

These pepperoni tofu crumbles can keep in the fridge if tightly covered for about a week – but I dare you to try to keep it that long!

The printable recipe card for vegan pepperoni tofu crumbles

Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

bowl of cooked pepperoni tofu crumbles in a white bowl on a red checked napkin

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Tofu Crumbles

These pepperoni pizza tofu crumbles taste like the real thing! They are made with extra-firm tofu, seasonings, and spices. Sprinkle on top of veggie dishes, potatoes, salads, soups, and sandwiches for an authentic pepperoni pizza flavor.
5 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack, Topping
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tofu crumbles, vegan pepperoni
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
tofu press time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 97kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces tofu extra firm
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Tablespoons coconut sugar can sub in brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoons fennel
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt more to taste
  • ½ teaspooon ground mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder unsweetened

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°, prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Press and drain the tofu, pouring off liquid as necessary. This will take about 30 minutes using a tofu press. If pressing between plates with weights, it might take up to one hour.
  • While the oven is preheating and the tofu is pressing/draining, stir together all other ingredients into a medium-sized bowl.
  • When the tofu is pressed and drained, hand crumble into small pieces directly into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Toss together and stir to evenly coat.
  • Turn onto a prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly and put it in the preheated oven for a total of 44-50minutes, checking at intervals. (See next instruction.)
  • After putting the tofu in the oven, set the timer for 20 minutes. Open the oven after the first 20 minutes and turn and stir the tofu, moving the dryer tofu from the outer edges to the center and the moister tofu in the center, out to the edges. Put back into the oven and check again in 20 more minutes. Then at 5 minute increments until it's done.
  • You will know when your tofu is done because it will be nicely browned – but not burned.
  • You can keep these pepperoni pizza tofu crumlbes tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week – but I've never managed to keep them around that long! If they dry out then refresh with a little veggie broth.

Notes

I used to use one-half teaspoon red pepper flakes but my husband complained that it was too hot for him so I started using one-fourth teaspoon. If you like it a little spicy then use 1/2 teaspoon or more to taste. 
I tried to keep the sodium a little lower and only used one-half teaspoon  salt. I usually end up adding a little more at the end. You can taste after cooking and add extra then.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg
By on November 17th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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