This Kung Pao Tofu (宫爆豆腐) recipe is a lighter and healthier take on the classic Chinese take out! Featuring crispy tofu, roasted peanuts and bell peppers all tossed in a sweet, salty and slightly spicy sauce. The perfect quick and easy high protein vegan meal.
Say hello to this ultra easy and ultra delicious Kung Pao Tofu recipe!
What is Kung Pao Tofu? Well, it’s a popular spicy Chinese stir-fry dish made with dried red chili, peppers, peanuts and a protein (tofu we’re using here). The sauce is savory, sweet, salty, spicy and SO flavourful. The beauty of making Kung Pao Tofu at home is that you can control the spice level to your tolerance.
It’s truly just a really fun dish, poppin’ with flavour that I think you’ll absolutely loveeee.
Alright friends, let’s make the BEST Kung Pao Tofu!
What is the sauce made of?
Kung Pao sauce is a sticky sauce that is sweet, sour, salty and slightly spicy. Typically, store bought Kung Pao Sauce is vegan. However, we’re going to be making homemade kung pao sauce for this recipe consisting of: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chinese vinegar, maple syrup and sesame oil. Of course, we can’t skip the essential spicy element which traditionally comes from dried chili peppers– which can also be substituted with red chili flakes or samal oelek.
To make kung pao tofu, you’ll also need a block of tofu, bell peppers, green onions garlic and ginger.
How to Make Kung Pao Tofu
Kung Pao Tofu is super duper easy to make and depending on the method of how you cook your tofu, it can be a quick meal as well. Heres how it goes down:
- Marinate the tofu for 15 minutes and then coat the tofu in corn starch.
- To cook the tofu, you can go about it in 3 ways: air fry, bake or pan fry. Air frying and baking is my preferred option for the crispiest kung pao tofu but if you’re in a hurry, pan fry works very well too!
- Make the kung pao sauce
- Heat a wok over high heat and fry the garlic and ginger. Add the bell pepper and white parts of the green onions.
- Stir the sauce in until it slightly thickens.
- Add in the tofu, green parts of the green onions and peanuts, and toss until everything is well coated in the sauce.
Kung Pao Tofu pairs really well with some rice but you could totally go for your favourite grain like quinoa, brown rice, mixed rice or even cauliflower rice! Heck, not traditional but I think it’d be really good in hearty grain salad too.
Tips to Making Kung Pao Tofu
- Tofu: I always freeze tofu as soon as I purchase it because it naturally removed the extra water without having to press it for hours. I typically use extra firm tofu for stir-frying but medium firm or firm works well if baking or air frying (just be more gentle).
- Make it Gluten Free: While dark and light soy sauce does enhance the flavours of this dish, you can also use tamari. As well, substitute the Chinese vinegar with rice vinegar.
- Chili: If using whole dried red chilies, start with 3 and chop them up into small pieces . If using sriacha or sambal oelek start with 2 tsp.
- Make it Ahead/Meal Prep: You can prep the sauce in advance and then make the stir fry in the pan to save time. If you have left overs, it will keep well in a air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you love tofu and spice… this recipe is calling your name! I hope you try and love this vegan kung pao tofu recipe as much as I do. It’s such a great way to switch up the flavour of your meals and also great for a high protein vegan meal prep!
More Tofu Recipes to Try!
- Easy & Quick Air Fryer Crispy Tofu
- Asian Tofu “Beef” Bowls
- Sweet n’ Sour Tofu (coming soon!)
- Sticky Lemon Tofu
- Vegan Mapo Tofu
If you recreate this Kung Pao Tofu recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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