Vegan Chinese Kung Pao Tofu

Vegan Chinese Kung Pao Tofu

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
355 Calories
22g Fat
26g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 355
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 577mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 179mg 894%
Calcium 613mg 47%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 1159mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although kung pao is usually made with chicken, you can use tofu to create a very similar vegetarian and vegan version of this Chinese Szechuan dish. All of the same seasonings are used, including sesame oil, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and garlic, creating a spicy and flavorful sauce. This vegetarian kung pao tofu recipe also calls for lots of healthy vegetables including snow peas, bok choy, cabbage, and mushrooms, making for a colorful and nutritious dish. Serve this Szechuan-style Chinese kung pao tofu recipe over rice.

Traditional kung pao recipes are very spicy and include chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns. This version utilizes red pepper flakes and hot sauce to develop some heat, but feel free to use the peppers if you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound firm or extra firm tofu (pressed and cut into bite-sized cubes)

For the Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari to keep it gluten-free)

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 medium onion (diced)

  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1 small bok choy (chopped)

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup snow peas

  • 1/2 small purple cabbage (sliced thin)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

Marinate and Bake the Tofu

  1. Gather the tofu and marinade ingredients.

    Vegan Chinese Kung Pao Tofu, tofu and marinade ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. Make the marinade: Combine the vegetable broth, lime juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl.

    vegetable broth, lime juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Add the tofu and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, mixing occasionally to coat the tofu well.

    tofu pieces in the marinade

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a baking sheet or cover with aluminum foil.

    greased baking sheet

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes, turning once. Set aside.

    marinaded tofu on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Cook the Stir-Fry

  1. Gather the remaining ingredients.

    Vegan Chinese Kung Pao Tofu, stir-fry ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, heat the sesame oil.

    skillet with oil

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, and ginger and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

    onion, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, and ginger in the skillet

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Add bok choy and vegetable broth and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes.

    bok choy and vegetable broth added to the stir-fry

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Add the cabbage and snow peas.

    red cabbage and snow peas added to the stir-fry

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the tofu and remaining ingredients.

    tofu added to the stir-fry vegetables in the skillet

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Cook until just until combined and heated through.

    Vegan Chinese Kung Pao Tofu in a skillet

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Tips

  • Like most vegetarian tofu recipes, this tofu recipe will taste best if you press the tofu first. This allows the tofu to absorb more of the flavorings and seasonings it is cooked with.
  • If you need this recipe to be gluten-free as well as vegan, use tamari in place of the soy sauce and double-check that your vegetable broth is gluten-free.
  • Sesame oil has a lower smoke point compared to vegetable oil, so be mindful when heating it up so it doesn't burn.