This vegan Kung Pao tofu stir fry is a simple and healthy dinner that is ready in about 30 minutes. It’s full of flavor, high in protein and completely gluten free.
I’ve been on a major tofu kick lately, and cannot get enough of this pan fried Kun Pao Tofu. It’s crispy, vegan, gluten free with hints of sweet and spicy.
It comes together in just about 30 minutes and stores a lot better than some other tofu recipes.
This Kung Pao tofu is made of a base of extra firm tofu, veggies like bell peppers and onion with a simple Kung Pao sauce that has soy sauce, chili paste, some brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sriracha for a little extra spice.
Because of the nature of this recipe, I don’t recommend making it in the air fryer. Instead, try my air fryer tofu!
How to make a tofu stir fry
Marinate the tofu. We’ll be marinating the tofu in a mix of cornstarch and soy sauce, which may sound weird but hear me out!
The soy sauce/tamari will add a lot of flavor, and the cornstarch will give it a nice coating so that when we cook it, it gets crispy. It will also help thicken the sauce once everything gets combined.
Saute the veggies. While the tofu is marinating, saute your peppers, onion, garlic, ginger and green onion. I used olive oil for this, but any oil will work.
Cook the tofu. Pan fry the tofu with toasted sesame oil on each side until golden brown. The sesame oil will add a lot of flavor to the tofu and pairs really well with the flavors in the sauce.
Make the sauce. While everything is cooking, just whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. We don’t need to add a thickener here because the cornstarch in the tofu will thicken the sauce!
Kung Pao sauce is made from some chili paste for spice, plus soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to balance the flavors.
Combine. Combine the tofu with the veggies and pour in the sauce. It will bubble up pretty quickly and start to thicken, so make sure to stir everything until well coated. Remove from the heat and serve!
Depending on how you cook tofu, it doesn’t always keep very well. It can lose its crisp pretty quickly, but I actually find this Kung Pao tofu stores fairly well. You’ll want to let it cool, then transfer to an air tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, I prefer to do so on the stove to try to get some crisp back, but the microwave or even oven will work just fine.
My preferred way to serve this tofu is with white rice, but for a lighter option you can do cauliflower rice or just exactly as is.
Kung Pao chicken is traditionally served with just the bell pepper and onion, but if you want extra veggies, I love adding broccoli to the mix.
How to ensure the tofu won’t stick
It’s the worst. I know. But there are a few tricks to ensure the tofu doesn’t stick to the pan. One, please don’t skimp on the oil! You need a full two tablespoons of toasted sesame oil to pan fry the tofu, so don’t hold back!
Second, I recommend using a non-stick pan, not a cast iron one. I generally don’t like cast iron for anything involving tofu, and this Kung Pao tofu recipe is no exception.
More vegan dinner recipes!
Kung Pao Tofu
by: claire cary
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon oil I used olive, any oil will work
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped green onion white part only
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- Remove the tofu from the package and drain off the extra liquid.
- Cut into 1 inch cubes and add to a bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and soy sauce/tamari. Pour over the tofu and toss until coated. Set aside for about 15 minutes to marinate.
- Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers into 1 inch pieces and add to a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Add the minced garlic, ginger and chopped green onion. Saute for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Set aside.
- Add the tofu to another pan with the sesame oil and cook on each side for a few minutes or until golden brown.
- While that is cooking, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- When the tofu is done, combine with the veggies and pour the sauce on top.
- Let everything simmer together for a few minutes.
- Serve over rice with the remaining green onion and enjoy!