This crispy tofu stir fry is easy to make, filled with vegetables, and packed with plant-based protein! It’s simple to make and great for a weeknight meal!

cashew tofu

Even though I’m a vegetarian, I actually don’t eat a lot of tofu. That’s because I only really like tofu if it’s nice and crispy. (No soggy tofu, please!) It took a few tries to figure out exactly how to get perfectly crispy tofu, but now that I’ve mastered it, it shows up on my plate a little more often. This crispy tofu stir fry is the perfect way to enjoy perfectly cooked tofu while enjoying plenty of vegetables.

This recipe is also really flexible so, if you don’t have bell peppers, you could use a combination of carrots, broccoli, peas, or whatever vegetables you have on hand. It’s a great “clean out the fridge” type of meal. This is also a great option if you’re trying to add more protein to your plate since tofu is a great source of protein!

tofu stir fry

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Tofu– For the best results, use extra firm tofu. If you don’t like tofu, you could substitute with tempeh.
  • Cornstarch– Cornstarch is used to coat the tofu before cooking, creating a crispy exterior. Arrowroot powder or potato starch can be used instead of cornstarch.
  • Avocado Oil– This is used for cooking the tofu and sautéing vegetables, providing a base for the stir fry. You can substitute it with vegetable oil.
  • Garlic- This helps add flavor to the dish. You can substitute with garlic powder but it won’t be quite as flavorful.
  • Onion– The onion a little sweetness and texture to the stir fry. Shallots or the white part of green onions can be used for a milder flavor.
  • Bell Peppers: I like using a combination of different bell peppers to add a variety of color and flavors. Use any color of bell peppers or add other crunchy vegetables like snap peas or broccoli.
  • Cashews– Nuts add a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor to the stir fry. You could substitute with peanuts if you don’t have cashews. I like the flavor of roasted, salted cashews.
  • Soy Sauce– This is the base of the stir fry sauce, providing saltiness and a rich umami flavor. Tamari or liquid aminos can be used as a gluten-free alternative.
  • Ginger– Fresh ginger adds a warm, spicy flavor to the stir fry. Ground ginger can be used in a pinch, but fresh ginger is recommended for better taste.
  • Chili Paste– This spicy sauce adds heat and a depth of flavor to the stir fry. Sriracha or red pepper flakes can be used for spiciness. Adjust quantity based on spice preference.
tofu

What is extra firm tofu?

Extra firm tofu has less water, so it has a firmer texture making it easier to create crispy tofu. Because it has less moisture, it’s less porous, meaning it doesn’t absorb flavors as easily. That’s why we toss it in the sauce rather than marinate it.

buffalo tofu taco steps

How to Press Tofu

Cut the tofu into small, evenly sized pieces and spread them on a paper towel or clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Top with another layer of paper towels or a second clean kitchen towel. (I usually do a layer of paper towels and then a kitchen towel on top of that.) Top with something flat and heavy like a large cast iron skillet or heavy book. Let the tofu sit like that for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour if you have time. This will help extract extra moisture from the tofu.

cashew tofu

How to Make Crispy Tofu Stir Fry

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I reheat the leftovers? The tofu is best enjoyed right away, but if you have leftover tofu, you can reheat it in the oven or air fryer. You can also reheat the dish in the microwave, but the tofu won’t be crispy.
  • Do I really need extra firm tofu? Yes! This will give you the best texture. Don’t try this recipe with softer tofu.
  • Can I use a tofu press? Absolutely! If you have a tofu press, this is an easy way to extract the water from the tofu.
  • I don’t like tofu. Can I use something else? You could also make this recipe with tempeh! I really like the texture of tempeh and nutritionally, it’s pretty similar to tofu.
  • Can I make this gluten-free? Yes! Use gluten-free soy sauce or liquid aminos to keep this recipe gluten-free.
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cashew tofu

Crispy Tofu Stir Fry

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Time to Press Tofu: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This crispy tofu stir fry is easy to make, filled with vegetables, and packed with plant-based protein! It’s simple to make and great for a weeknight meal!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the stir fry:

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts

For the sauce

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 1 teaspoon chili paste

Instructions

  1. Spread the cubed tofu on a paper towel or clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Top with another layer of paper towels or a second clean kitchen towel. Top with something flat and heavy and let the tofu sit like that for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, salt and pepper. Toss tofu in it to coat each side.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet with one tablespoon of oil and fry tofu on each side until golden brown. Remove and place on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the excess of oil. Set aside.
  4. Add the remaining one tablespoon of oil to the skillet and sauté the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and cashew nuts until fragrant. It will take about 3 minutes. Bring back the tofu.
  5. Meanwhile, stir sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour in the skillet. Stir all together and bring to a simmer for one minute. It will thicken a little bit. Simmer longer if you want a thicker sauce.

  6. Remove and garnish with green onions.

Keywords: crispy tofu stir fry