This Kung Pao Tofu is an easy Chinese stir fry dish that is loaded with flavor but low in calories. It’s the best vegan recipe seasoned packed with vegetables and toasted in a simple homemade brown sauce.
Chinese takeout is one of our families favorites! I have mostly made some of our favorite Thai dishes like Chicken Pad Thai and Bang Bang Shrimp and Pasta. But I am starting to seek out more of our favorite Chinese recipes to make at home so we can enjoy it more.
This Kung Pao recipe is a great vegan/vegetarian recipe using tofu for the protein source in place of chicken or beef. It cooks in about 15 minutes after prepping and cutting the veggies. The Kung Pao sauce is a fabulous brown sauce that has a tad of sweet and salty flavors. If you like your sauces a little spicer, you can add a little chili pepper flakes as well.
I recommend using extra firm tofu in this recipe. A very important step to make sure the tofu is nice and crispy is to press as much water out of the block before cutting the tofu into chunks. This will help it stay together nicely and not get mushy and fall apart.
If you want to say yourself even more time, simply cut all the vegetables the night before and you can have dinner on the table even quicker. I like to serve it over white rice which you can cook while you are sautéing the vegetables.
This is a great meal prep idea as well. You can have leftovers for lunch if you make want to make a double batch. It’s so good you will want to have some leftovers!
You can easily substitute in other favorite vegetables like zucchini, broccoli or sugar snap peas as well as garnish with scallions.
You can also add additional garlic if you are a lover.
Pro Tip: Use tamari sauce or coconut aminos (found to make this recipe gluten-free as well.
How to Make this Vegan Kung Pao
Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar in a bowl to make the sauce. Stir to combine and set aside.
Press tofu and remove all excess water then cut into cubes.
Carefully add the tofu to the sauce and marinate for about 20 minutes.
Start cooking white rice if planning to serve along side.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Carefully add the tofu to the pan (saving the sauce on the side) and cook until crispy on all sides.
Then remove the tofu from the pan and add it back to the sauce and set aside.
Add carrots and onions and sauce until they begin to soften
Then add the peppers, ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the peppers begin to get tender.
Add peanuts and tofu and combine all ingredients together.
Simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Serve over rice if desired
Try these other Asian recipes too:
Kung Pao Tofu
- 14 ounce tofu extra firm, water pressed out
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 medium carrot peeled and sliced finely
- 2 cups fresh spinach roughly chopped
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar in a bowl to make the sauce. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Press tofu to remove the excess water
- Then cut to tofu into cubes.
- Place the cut tofu in the sauce and marinate for 20 minutes.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
- Carefully remove the tofu from the sauce and add to the pan. Fry until crispy on each side.
- Remove the tofu and sauce from the pan and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat.
- Cook onions and carrots until they begin to soften.
- Add bell peppers, spinach, ginger and garlic.
- Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until peppers begin to soften.
- Add peanuts and tofu and combine all ingredients together.
- Simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Remove from heat
- Serve over rice if desired.