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The Best Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

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The best vegan kung pao tofu recipe is my vegan take on the classic Kung Pao Chicken recipe.  We’re talking bold, rich, and delicious flavor and texture combo. Saucy, smoky, and savory umami-flavored creamy sauce and golden tender meaty tofu with fried veggies. It’s a super easy weeknight meal that tastes soooo good…and it’s surprisingly healthy. If you’re a sauce lover like me, you’re in luck…because this sauce is absolutely amazing. It’s loaded with flavors from creamy peanut butter, to the naturally slightly sweet coconut milk that adds a whole new dimension of taste. It’s a crowd-pleaser recipe that you will want to add to your recipe rotation.

Vegan Kung Pao Chicken is completely mouthwatering stir-fried Tofu with the perfect combination of savory, sweet, and spicy flavor! It’s one of the best homemade Chinese takeout recipes! And it’s completely vegan and loaded with plant-based protein. With crisp-tender golden tofu pieces and some crunchy veggies thrown in, this is a Kung Pao tofu recipe that’s an irresistibly tasty come-back-for-seconds dish.

If you’re already a tofu lover – get ready for a treat! If you’re new to tofu this is a great gateway introduction. It’s super easy, loaded with savory umami flavors, tender meaty textures, and rich creamy sauce. It’s a great ‘make-you-fall-in-love-with-tofu’ kinda recipe. 

What’s great about the best vegan kung pao tofu recipe:

  • Super easy to make
  • Meal prep friendly – make it in advance and freeze it for later
  • Delicious and loaded with flavors
  • Packed full of healthy and balanced nutrients
  • Loaded with plant-based protein
  • Saucy, rich and irresistible 

In this easy vegan Kung Pao Tofu Chicken recipe post

Ingredients for making vegan Kung Pao tofu

Tips and tricks for making tofu

How to make Kung Pao Tofu

What to serve with Kung Pao Tofu

FAQs 

Ingredients for making vegan Kung Pao Chicken

Tofu – extra firm tofu works best in this easy vegan Chinese American fusion Kung Pao chicken recipe. The extra-firm tofu is meatier and tastes very similar to chicken once it’s crusted in spices and fried to golden deliciousness. You can also use tempeh and turn it into a tasty vegan Kung Pao Tempeh recipe. Or replace the extra firm tofu with high-protein tofu (now available in some stores). High-protein tofu is naturally extra firm and has a great meat-like texture.

Bell peppers – sweet, savory, and delicious mixed bell peppers give the dish a pop of color and a delicious hint of peppery sweetness.

Red onion and garlic – red onions and garlic give the dish a fragrant savory hot flavor that enhances all the other flavors. If you don’t have red onions, you can replace them with white onions, yellow onions, shallots, or spring onions. If you don’t have fresh garlic you can substitute it with a teaspoon of garlic powder.

Zucchini/squash – sliced or diced zucchini make up part of the tender, lightly crunchy, and delicious veggies. You can use green zucchini or squash, yellow squash, or your favorite edible squash. 

Peanut butter and peanuts – delicious nutty peanuts give this tasty vegan Kung Pao tofu a rich, decadent, and totally irresistible savory depth of flavor. With creamy peanut butter in the sauce and crunchy peanuts as a topping, it’s a glorious rich dish with lots of crunchy textures.

Sauces – soy sauce (or tamari sauce for a gluten-free version) and vegan Hoisin sauce make the tasty base of the saucy Kung Pao tofu recipe. 

Sambal Oelek – I used Sambal Oelek as the chili sauce in my recipe but any chili sauce would work well. Add chili to suit your personal preference. For more spice add more chili sauce or use a  hot chili paste. For less spice simply use a mild chili sauce or leave it out entirely.

Tofu coating ingredients for the best crispy Kung Pao Tofu

Corn Starch – coating the tofu in a corn starch and seasoning mixture makes all the difference in creating a delicious golden tofu that’s light and tender on the inside and just the right amount of crispy on the outside. Yum.

Spices – Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, and Salt. We’re using spices to enhance and add flavors to the tofu. Mix the spices with the cornstarch for the best crispy golden tofu full of flavor.

Tips and tricks for making vegan Kung Pao chicken 

Getting the tofu right

There’s a trick to getting tofu right. The first couple of times I made dinners with tofu, I wasn’t impressed. Little did I know, that I wasn’t impressed because I was cooking tofu wrong.
Well, lesson learned and now tofu is one of my favorite easy and healthy meat substitutes. It can almost mimic any type of meaty flavor you want, just add the right spices and cook it in the right way, and it always turns out amazing.

Cooking tofu:

To get the deliciously flavor-packed tofu bites, that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, you first need to press the tofu. If you’re into fancy kitchen gear, you may already own a tofu presser, but if you don’t, fear not. I make tofu all the time simply by using a skillet with 1-2 cans of beans placed in it to press the tofu.

How to prepare and press tofu

Lay your firm tofu on a clean paper towel and cover it with one more clean paper towel. Place the skillet on top of the tofu and add 1-2 cans of beans (or a few books can also do just fine). Let the tofu be pressed like that for 20 minutes.
It removes the excess liquid in the tofu and makes it easier to cook just the way you want.
After pressing the tofu for 20 minutes, it’s ready to cook. Just remove the skillet and the paper towels and it’s ready to use.

How to serve the best vegan Kung Pao Tofu

I like to serve my vegan kung pao tofu with a side of jasmine rice or sometimes bulgur or quinoa if I want to mix it up. It’s also great with twirly noodles or fluffy turmeric rice. You can’t go wrong. It’s amazing and flavorful no matter how you serve it.

More Kung Pao Tofu serving ideas

How to cook The Best Vegan Kung Pao Tofu recipe:

Easy Kung Pao Tofu Chicken cooking Instructions

Preparing the tofu:

  • Start by laying the tofu on a clean paper towel and cover it with one more paper towel. Place a heavy skillet on top of the tofu and let it sit under pressure for 20 minutes.

  • Once the tofu is ready, remove the skillet and paper towels, and cut the tofu into cubes.

  • Next, mix the cornstarch and spices in a mixing bowl and add the tofu cubes. Mix together until the tofu is completely covered.

Cooking the tofu:

  • Heat coconut oil in a large skillet and add the chopped vegetables, onion, and garlic. Let the vegetables cook while stirring occasionally for a few minutes.

  • Season with soy sauce, sambal oelek chili paste, hoisin sauce, and salt. Next, add the coconut milk and let the dish simmer while you cook the tofu.
  • Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and carefully add the coated tofu cubes. Let the tofu cook at medium-high heat until golden brown and crispy on all sides.

  • Once the tofu is cooked, add them to the vegetables and serve. Garnish with a few spring onion slices and salted peanuts and enjoy.

FAQs – all your Kung Pao tofu recipe questions answered 

What does Kung Pao Sauce taste like?

Kung Pao sauce has a strong flavor that is sweet, savory, sour, and with the signature heat from the chili peppers.

Can I bake tofu?

Yes, tofu is great baked. Simply toss in the corn flour and spice mixture, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 400F (190 degrees Celsius) flipping over halfway through baking. Once the tofu is golden brown they are ready to serve with the sauce and vegetables.

How to store vegan chicken

Store any leftover vegan tofu chicken in a clean airtight container for up to 3 days.

Is vegan Kung Pao tofu chicken okay to freeze?

Yes. This tasty fried tofu is fine to freeze making it a great meal prep dinner. Just defrost and reheat before eating.

Best way to freeze vegan Kung Pao tofu chicken

Allow the tofu dish to cool before transferring them to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Take the vegan Kung Pao tofu chicken out of the freezer and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat before serving.

How to reheat vegan takeout tofu

This tasty tofu dish is best when reheated in a microwave at the highest temperature for 2 minutes or until they are hot. Reheat at 30-second intervals until hot. 
You can also fry them in a frying pan for 10 minutes or until warm.

Amount of calories in vegan Kung Pao tofu chicken 

There are just around 399 calories per serving in these tasty vegan chicken filets.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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The best Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

The best vegan kung pao tofu recipe is my vegan take on the classic Kung Pao Chicken recipe. Think crispy, savory tofu with a delicious peanut butter sauce and a hint of spices. It's so good and so easy to make – plus it's meal prep friendly.
Course Dinner, Vegan Dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Firm Tofu
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper Diced
  • 1 Red Onion Diced
  • 1 Zucchini Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic Finely chopped
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek Chili paste or another hot chili paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil or Olive Oil

Tofu Coating

  • ½ cup Corn Starch
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Pinch of Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Pinch of Salt

For Garnish

  • ½ cup Salted Peanuts
  • 1 Spring Onion Chopped

Instructions

Preparing the tofu:

  • Start by laying the tofu on a clean paper towel and cover it with one more paper towel. Place a heavy skillet on top of the tofu and let it sit under pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Once the tofu is ready, remove the skillet and paper towels, and cut the tofu into cubes.
  • Next, mix the corn starch and spices in a mixing bowl and add the tofu cubes. Mix together until the tofu is completely covered.

Cooking:

  • Heat coconut oil in a large skillet and add the chopped vegetables, onion and garlic. Let the vegetables cook while stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
  • Season with soy sauce, sambal oelek chili paste, hoisin sauce and salt.
    Next add the coconut milk and let the dish simmer while you cook the tofu.
  • Heat a tablespoon coconut oil in a skillet and carefully add the coated tofu cubes. Let the tofu cook at medium high heat until golden brown and crispy on all sides.
  • Once the tofu is cooked, add them to the vegetables and serve.
    Garnish with a few spring onion slices and salted peanuts and enjoy.

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