This crispy gochujang tofu dish is easy to make, loaded with vegetables, and packed with plant-based protein! Skip the takeout and make this tasty tofu instead!

crispy tofu
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I’ve been on a bit of a tofu kick lately and I love that it’s such a versatile, healthy, and affordable source of plant-based protein! I love that this tofu is really flavorful but still a quick weeknight meal. Once you have the gochuchang paste in your fridge, all you need are some basic ingredients. If you enjoy this tofu dish, try my crispy tofu stir fry or this spring roll in a bowl recipe. They have similar flavor profiles and they’re loaded with vegetables and plant-based protein!

crispy tofu

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Gochujang paste– This is a fermented chili paste that is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is made from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. This spicy sauce is essential to the flavor recipe but if you must substitute it, you can use sriracha or sambal oelek instead.
  • Soy Sauce– This is the base of the stir fry sauce, providing saltiness and a rich umami flavor. Tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos can be used as a gluten-free alternative.
  • Maple Syrup– This adds a little sweetness to help balance the spicy flavor. You could substitute with honey.
  • Rice Vinegar- A little rice vinegar adds acidity to the sauce. You could substitute with white wine vinegar.
  • 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 a better taste.
  • Tofu– For the best results, use extra-firm tofu. Do not use silken tofu, which doesn’t hold its shape. If you’re a tofu skeptic or you don’t like the texture of 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.
  • 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.
  • Cauliflower– Fresh or frozen cauliflower works great. I love the taste of cauliflower in this dish, but you could substitute with broccoli if desired.
  • Celery– You can skip it if you don’t have any, but I like the neutral crunch it adds to this dish.
  • Green Onions– This adds a savory flavor and a colorful garnish to the dish.

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.

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.

What to Serve with Tofu

I paired this gochujang tofu recipe with white rice, but you could also serve it over brown rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, rice noodles, or cauliflower rice. For extra flavor, add a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, or a sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

How to Make Gochujang Tofu