Go-To Tofu Stir Fry

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.

Tofu stir fry

Did you know tofu is delicious? For years Alex and I veered away from tofu because we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, tofu right out of the container is a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest plant-based dinners you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned.

First off: is tofu healthy?

We get this question a lot, because there have been some tofu rumors out there in the rumor mill. Here’s our two-cents: Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. Learn more about tofu here: Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

How to make a tofu stir fry: the basic steps

Even better than being healthy: tofu can be completely delicious if you cook it correctly! Here’s what to know about the elements of making this basic tofu stir fry:

  • Make the stir fry sauce. This sauce is SO good! You’re going to love the flavor and the thick body of the sauce.
  • Chop the veggies. This is where much of the prep time will come in. We’ve used only a few veggies so you don’t have to spend hours chopping.
  • Cook the tofu. The main idea is to cut it into small squares, then pan fry for 5 minutes per side.
  • Stir fry the veggies. Add the veggies for 6 minutes. Then add the tofu and sauce and turn off the heat! The sauce will heat and thicken using the residual heat. If you have the heat too high, the sauce will evaporate.
Tofu stir fry

Guess what: you don’t have to press the tofu!

Did you notice something was missing? Pressing the tofu! If you’ve made other tofu recipes, they may have called for wrapping the tofu in a towel and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes. The theory is that this extracts more water, helping the tofu to get crispier. But really: who has the time for that?

This tofu stir fry works for weeknight dinners because you don’t have to spend the time pressing it before cooking. Just pat it dry with a towel and you’re ready to cook.

What’s in this delicious stir fry sauce

Did we talk up this stir fry sauce enough? Let’s just spend a little more time there. You can use this sauce for any stir fry that’s intended for 4 servings. You can also easily make the sauce in advance! Whip it up and store in a covered jar or container until you’re ready to cook. It saves a few minutes: which can be crucial on a weeknight. Here’s what’s in this sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Miso
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic powder
Tofu stir fry

Other veggies to use in a tofu stir fry

You can use lots of other vegetables in this tofu stir fry! We chose broccoli, red and orange bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms because they have beautiful colors, lots of nutrients, and a similar cooking time. Here’s a cheat sheet for other vegetables you might want to add to show the timing for each one:

Vegetables that take 6 to 7 minutes to stir fry:

Vegetables that take 3 to 5 minutes to stir fry:

  • Cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Snap peas
  • Bok choy, chopped
  • Zucchini or summer squash
  • Edamame, frozen and shelled

Vegetables that take 1 minute to stir fry:

  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Green onion, thinly sliced (or use as a garnish)
Tofu stir fry

What to serve with this tofu stir fry

Lastly, let’s talk about how to serve this tofu stir fry! This makes a fantastic healthy vegan dinner idea or easy vegetarian meal. You’ll want to serve with some sort of whole grain to make it more filling. Here are some options:

  • Rice: The easiest and most traditional option for a stir fry. Go to How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice.
  • Quinoa: When we want to mix things up, quinoa is a fun grain to serve with a stir fry. Go to How to Make Quinoa or Instant Pot Quinoa.
  • Cauliflower Rice: Don’t want to eat a whole grain? Try cauliflower rice! Take 1 head of cauliflower and chop it into large florets. Place half of the florets into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fully chopped and the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. Remove the “rice” to a bowl and process the remainder of the cauliflower.
Tofu stir fry

This tofu stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Tofu stir fry

Go-To Tofu Stir Fry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.


Scale

Ingredients

For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the tofu stir fry

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, stem on (about 3 large heads or 6 heaping cups florets)*
  • 1 red bell pepper (or half red and half orange)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 14-ounces firm or extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Start the rice: If serving with rice, start the rice.
  2. Make the sauce: Whisk together the stir fry sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, or make the sauce in advance and refrigerate until cooking.
  3. Chop the veggies: Chop the broccoli into florets. Thinly slice the pepper. Remove the shiitake stems and thinly slice them, if using. Thinly slice the green onion. Peel and grate the ginger.
  4. Cook the tofu: Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces (1-inch squares, 3/8-inch thick and pat it dry with a towel. Add the oil to a large non-stick pan and add the tofu cubes and a few pinches kosher salt. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
  5. Flip the tofu: Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting. Flip the tofu with chopsticks (the easiest method!) or tongs. Return the heat to medium-high and cook 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Remove the tofu to a bowl and set it aside.
  6. Stir fry the veggies: Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli, pepper, and shiitake mushrooms and two pinches salt and cook 6 to 7 minutes until just starting to brown on edges, stirring occasionally. In the last minute, add 1 tablespoon water and allow the vegetables to steam.
  7. Turn down the heat to low. Add the green onion and ginger and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the tofu and sauce and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately. Store leftovers up to 3 days refrigerated.

  • Category: Stir Fry
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Tofu stir fry

More easy vegan dinner ideas

Love eating plant based? Here are a few more vegan dinner ideas to add to your repertoire:

  • Easy Grain Bowl Pair a whole grain, protein and veggies with this amazing tahini sauce to make a healthy, fast and easy dinner. Or try this Easy Rice Bowl with black beans.
  • Vegan Fajitas A plant based dinner that everyone loves! Roast the veggies on a sheet pan for quick and easy prep.
  • Cauliflower Stir Fry This easy stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce.
  • Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo Tastes decadent, but the creamy sauce is filled with healthy plant based ingredients. An easy dinner in under 30 minutes!
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Molly
    October 5, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Made this tonight with two kids in tow and it really did come together quickly and was great! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 6, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

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