I am sharing one of my very favorite kinds of recipes today! It’s a clean-out-the-fridge, even-if you-can’t- cook-you-can-cook-this, HELP-me-so-hungry, easy, healthy dinner: Tofu Stir Fry! You can use any kind of vegetables you like, the “sauce” is only two ingredients, and the entire shebang is ready in less than 30.

Easy Sesame Tofu Stir Fry. Crispy tofu with spinach, broccoli, or any fresh vegetables you love. This vegan recipe is packed with flavor in a simple, delicious Asian garlic ginger sauce. Serve with rice or noodles.

This easy tofu stir fry came about in one of those classic Erin moves in which I tell myself I am cooking “just for fun!” and don’t need to worry about measurements or posting the recipe.

You’ve witnessed this here before. I make a recipe. We sit down to eat it. I fall madly in love and realize that I cannot in good faith go about the rest of my mortal existence without sharing the recipe with you.

You need this tofu stir fry and you need it ASAP!

This healthy tofu stir fry is a last-minute meal you can cook with anything you have on hand. We usually make it with spinach—I have a habit of buying Costco-scale containers of with the best of salad intentions, only to have 40% of the box lingering in my fridge on the brink of extinction—but you can swap in any veggie you like.

Broccoli tofu stir fry? Pepper tofu stir fry? Any vegetable is game!

Even if you think you don’t like tofu, I hope you’ll try this recipe. The tofu is firm and flavorful. The veggies are fresh and colorful. The flavors are salty, savory, and satisfying (just like in this Egg Roll in a Bowl).

Tofu stir fry has all the makings for a fast, healthy dinner you can turn to again and again. For those with dietary considerations, this tofu stir fry is vegan naturally and (if you use gluten free tamari in place of soy sauce) it’s gluten free as well. More stir fry for all!

Healthy Tofu Stir Fry. A fast weeknight dinner packed with protein and vegetables.

How to Make the Best Easy Tofu Stir Fry

I made this tofu stir fry immediately after we’d been out of town and all we had in the refrigerator was two blocks of tofu and the aforementioned container of on-the-brink spinach.

As it turns out, if you have tofu, a few veggies, a bottle of soy sauce, and a couple of garlic cloves rolling about in your pantry, you can turn it all into a dynamite dinner.

Core Ingredients to Make Tofu Stir Fry

Let’s talk about the essentials to make a healthy tofu stir fry. This recipe on the whole is very flexible. I only have a few non-negotiables, which, bossy lady that I am, I will make abundantly clear in the following bullets.

  • Extra-Firm Tofu. This is the bossy part. Tofu can be confusing, because (like breakfast cereal), there are an alarming number of options that all sound eerily similar. For those yummy, crispy outsides, firm (forgive me) “meaty” insides, and a happy I didn’t realize I loved tofu! experience, look for EXTRA firm tofu.

Not soft. Not silken. Not even firm. EXTRA firm. Are you with me?

Let’s discuss.

Tofu Stir Fry. Easy to customize, vegan, and delicious!

The Difference Between Different Types of Tofu

Tofu is categorized depending upon the amount of water content it contains.

  • Extra-Firm Tofu has the least amount of liquid. It’s what I always recommend for stir fries, especially if it will be cubed like in this General Tso’s Tofu Stir Fry. It still has enough liquid to where you will need to squeeze some of the liquid out. For cooking tips, check out my post about Crispy Tofu.
  • Firm Tofu. Straight talk: I don’t know what the point of this tofu is. Even when I’m crumbling the tofu like in these Tofu Tacos, I still prefer the extra firm, which contains a decent amount of liquid. (Tofu experts, feel free to enlighten me on the purpose of this particular variety.)
  • Soft or Silken Tofu. Both of these kinds of tofu (silken is Japanese; soft is Chinese) behave the same way. They have the least amount of liquid squeezed out and are soft and custardy. Don’t try to make a stir fry with this kind of tofu. Instead, blend it into smoothies for a protein boost or, better yet, use it for a dessert like this vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie.

Healthy Sesame Tofu Stir Fry. Made with spinach and extra-firm tofu.

OK, now that we’re on the same page about what kind of tofu to use for tofu stir fry (EXTRA FIRM!), let’s discuss a few other key ingredients for the best-tasting tofu stir fry.

  • Fresh Garlic and Ginger. These two are foundational for any great-tasting stir fry.
  • Green Onion. Sauté half of them with the vegetables to build flavor, then sprinkle the other half on at the end to give the stir fry some zip and pretty green presentation.
  • Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil. Two pantry staples that you can use to create tofu stir fry in a flash. You can add them right to the pan; you don’t even need to mix up a separate sauce! I recommend low sodium sesame oil so that the tofu stir fry doesn’t become overly salty. Sesame oil adds a rich, deep, and lightly toasted flavor to any stir fry. You can find it in the Asian or international oil of most major super markets.

Recipe Tips

A few pro tips to help you cook the best tofu stir fry ever:

  • Press out as much of the tofu liquid as you can. The less liquid, the crispier the tofu will be. To do this, place a stack of paper towels on a plate. Wrap the tofu block in more paper towels, then place a second plate on top. Add several heavy items on top to weight the tofu down (canned food is perfect). Let sit 5 to 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the recipe.
  • Add the soy sauce in increments as you cook to build flavor. Food should be seasoned throughout the entire cooking process. Each addition changes and deepens the flavor in a unique way that will give you better results than if you just add it all at once at the end.
  • Save the sesame oil to drizzle on at the end to preserve its flavor. It’s so robust, toasty, and nutty that a few teaspoons give the illusion that this tofu stir fry recipe is much more complicated to make than it is.

Easy Tofu Stir Fry. A quick vegan dinner that's easy to customize!

Tofu Stir Fry Your Way: Flexible Ingredients and Additions

Once you’ve gathered the essentials, this tofu stir fry recipe becomes much more flexible:

  • Fresh Vegetables. Whatever you have in your fridge! I used spinach, which cooks in minutes, so it makes this recipe especially fast. Broccoli tofu stir fry is another favorite of ours, but you can really swap in any vegetable you like.

Super quick-cooking vegetables like spinach you can cook right along with the tofu, because it will wilt down immediately.

For vegetables like broccoli or red peppers that need longer than a minute or two to become crisp-tender, I recommend cooking the tofu first, removing it to a plate, then stir frying the vegetables separately. Stir everything together right at the end.

  • Heat (Red Pepper Flakes or Chili Paste). We like a spicy tofu stir fry, so to give it a kick, I stir in a little fresh chili paste (sambal oelek), which is available in the Asian or international food aisle of most grocery stores and online here. If you can’t find it, red pepper flakes work as well. For a milder flavor, reduce the amount or simply omit it.
  • Fish Sauce. For a Thai tofu stir fry spin, replace 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce with fish sauce and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. You can also swap the shrimp for tofu in my Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai or add tofu to this Vegetarian Pad Thai.
  • Rice or Noodles. We usually serve our tofu stir fry with brown rice (I cook it in the Instant Pot right along with the rest of the meal), but if you prefer tofu stir fry noodles, these are a tasty option, and they cook more quickly too!

Easy Tofu Stir Fry. A quick, protein-packed meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes.

Recommended Tools to Make Tofu Stir Fry

  • Wok. You don’t need a tofu stir fry wok to make great-tasting stir fry—a large, deep nonstick pan will do the trick—but if you plan to cook stir fry often, it’s a handy investment. I have owned this one for about 10 years (eek! I’m old), and I’m still super happy with it. This is a very similar wok, just without the lid so it’s less expensive.
  • Wide, heatproof spatula. Perfect for stirring and flipping the tofu cubes.

Whether or not you plan to make this Tofu Stir Fry recipe immediately—though if I may have one more bossy moment, YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE THIS WEEK—the next time you are at the store, toss a few blocks of extra-firm tofu into your cart. Then, on a busy night when you need a healthy dinner in a hurry, you can pull up this recipe, clean out your fridge, and have a simple, healthy meal on the table in a flash.

Easy Sesame Tofu Stir Fry. Crispy tofu with spinach, broccoli, or any fresh vegetables you love. This vegan recipe is packed with flavor in a simple, delicious Asian garlic ginger sauce. Serve with rice or noodles.

Tofu Stir Fry

4.88 from 33 votes
How to make the best tofu stir fry. Crispy tofu and fresh vegetables like broccoli and spinach, sautéed in a quick and easy garlic sesame sauce.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins

Servings: 3 –4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 (14-ounce) packages extra-firm tofu do not use firm, silken or anything other than extra-firm
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or grapeseed oil*
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce divided, plus additional to taste
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 small bunch green onions finely chopped, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1–2 teaspoons fresh chili paste (sambal oelek) or 1/4–½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (we like a bit of a kick, so I use the full 2 teaspoons chili paste)
  • 10 ounces baby spinach**
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

For serving:

  • Prepared brown rice
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Soba or rice noodles
  • Quinoa

Instructions
 

  • Drain the tofu. Wrap each block in a double layer of paper towels and pat dry, pressing down on the tofu lightly to squeeze out excess moisture. Cut the tofu into 3/4-inch cubes.
  • In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tofu (be careful, as the oil will splatter a little bit) and drizzle with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Sauté, stirring every minute or so until the tofu is nicely colored on all sides and the moisture has cooked off, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t feel that you need to stir constantly. Sitting for a while on one side is what will allow the tofu to brown. Add the garlic, roughly two-thirds of the green onion, ginger, chili paste, and the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add several large handfuls of spinach, stirring as you go so that it wilts and you can fit more in the pan. Once the first addition has wilted, continue to add and wilt the spinach by handfuls, until all of the spinach is added. It will seem like a ridiculous amount at first but will cook down considerably. Stir in the sesame seeds. Stir in the sesame oil. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the reserved green onions over the top. Serve hot, with brown rice, noodles, or whatever you like, along with a few dashes of additional soy sauce and chili paste or flakes to taste.

Notes

  • *I don't recommend olive oil in stir fries at this high of heat, as its lower smoke point can cause it to burn, imparting an off flavor to the whole dish
  • **You can replace the spinach with any kind you prefer or have in your refrigerator. Spinach cooks ultra quickly, which is why in this recipe you can sauté it in the pan right with the tofu. For firmer vegetables, like broccoli or peppers, I recommend cooking the tofu as directed through Step 2, then removing it to a plate. Add additional oil (and garlic and ginger if you like) to the pan with your vegetables of choice. As soon as the vegetables are crisp-tender (about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the vegetable and how large they are sliced), add the tofu back to the skillet and proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • For crazy crispy tofu, prep it through Step 3 in my guide for How to Cook Crispy Tofu. Once you've boiled it, pat dry, dice into 3/4-inch cubes, and follow this tofu stir fry recipe as directed, starting with Step 2.
  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in the microwave. You can freeze this as well. The vegetables will become fairly soft and a bit mushy, but if that doesn't bother you (it certainly doesn't stop me), freeze away!

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4, about 1 ½ cupsCalories: 297kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 22gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gFiber: 5gSugar: 1g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Your website is the first one I go to on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because I love seeing your newest creations. Today, I literally said out loud, “perfect timing!” when I opened your post. How did you know I’ve been searching for a tofu stir fry recipe?!? :)

    1. Katy, it is destiny! That makes me so happy to hear <3 I hope you love it (and if you try this one, I'd love to hear what you think too!)

  2. Can’t say no to a good bowl of healthy, protein filled deliciousness!! Love the colour you got on that tofu as well!!

  3. Thank you for the tip on gradually adding more spinach to cook it down. I have always given up with some small quantity of spinach. Today I was able to use up 1-1/2 bags of it (that needed to be used). I had other leftovers too so I used this recipe as a template and then riffed. Great recipe & techniques, thanks!5 stars

  4. I’ve never cooked tofu before but wanted to try it to get more variety in my diet.  I found your recipe and broke  your cardinal rule and used firm instead of the extra firm. That’s all I had on hand and I really wanted to try it tonight. I was careful to really brown each side of the cube and get it nice and crispy.  It was really good and I’m looking forward to trying it with the extra firm now.  Thanks for giving me the extra protein variety I’ve been looking for. 5 stars

    1. Janice, I’m so glad to hear your inaugural use of tofu went so well! Thanks for taking the time to share this review!

  5. My husband, who loves most Asian food but not tofu, said this recipe was delicious. I added a couple tablespoons coconut aminos and substituted some of the spinach for red sweet pepper and pea pods. We are currently cutting down on our carbs, and it was great without rice. We will make this again.5 stars

  6. Hi Erin, great recipe and very similar to how I do stir fries. Now I’m not a tofu expert but my mother is Japanese and so lots of experience with tofu. So about the firm vs extra-firm, if what you want is crispy chewy tofu then you’re better off withextra-firm but personally I prefer firm and I don’t fry it first. I actually add it at the end once the veggies are soft enough and let it soak in the sauce (I add some dashi or broth to give it some sauce). So it depends on the texture you’re looking for. My mother hates even the firm kind as she says it feels like eating bricks. Only soft or silken for her! 
    Hope this helps understand a bit the tofu firmness spectrum :)

    Ah and another note- a splash of sake or white wine if you have it is also great to add. 

  7. I hadn’t made a stir fry in ages, so researched several recipes and decided to go with this one.  It came out beautifully, both in appearance and taste.  I took the option of adding fresh veggies after the tofu step so threw in a couple of peppers (one red and one green) and a handful of beans, which had been harvested from the garden that morning, cooked them for 5 minutes, then added the tofu back and about 4 oz of spinach and finished it off as written.  Served over rice, this is the perfect setting for fresh vegetables.5 stars

  8. We absolutely loved this recipe. Delicious! My 6,4, and 2 year olds even ate it all up. We will definitely be making this again and again. 5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that your family enjoyed this recipe, Morgan! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  9. This is an excellent recipe. Though I had to make some swaps since I didn’t have spinach (used broccoli and mushrooms) and used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, I thought it was absolutely delicious. I served this over jasmine brown rice and really liked the combination of textures. I have tried many stir fry recipes and this is now my favorite. Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

  10. This recipe is fantastic! I love to cook, but I’ve stayed away from most Asian-inspired recipes because it’s out of my cooking comfort zone. (Definitely not out of my eating comfort zone though!) This was the best stir fry I’ve ever made. Even my meat-loving husband, aka “Mr. I-Hate-Tofu”, loved it! This will be going into our regular rotation of dinners. Thank you!!!5 stars

  11.  I made some modifications, for instance, more veggies. I used beet greens, cauliflower, and mushrooms. And I halved the recipe. The hint for reducing the moisture from the tofu is great. I also put the finished dish on top of quinoa. Yum yum! The fact that you share that it was an experiment gave me permission to look at the recipe, but also be loose with it. Thank you! Sondra 5 stars

  12. I omitted the spinach and used red peppers, broccoli and pea pods. The tofu was delicious and the veg cooked up nicely. But it was pretty dry. No sauce at all. I guess the spinach is there for a reason. Yes?  Suggestions?4 stars

    1. Hi Nancy! You can swap out the spinach for another vegetable if you prefer, and you could add some of your favorite sauce at the end.

  13. This looks delicious but I am the only one in my house that will eat tofu :( Do you think this would keep well in the fridge if I wanted to keep it for lunches throughout the week?

    1. Hi Lynn! You can definitely keep your leftovers for about 5 days and enjoy them throughout the week. I hope you enjoy!

  14. Thank you Erin for introducing me to this Asian style recipe and the comprehensive explanation of preparing tofu.

    I’ve been in Asia for over a year, and how I love the Asian kitchen, sesame oil and soy sauce weren’t condiments that are part of my store cupboard.. Until yesterday!
    When I saw this recipe I headed to the Asian supermarket to get this stuff immediately! And I’m pretty sure I’m going to use these ingredients many times from now on. Thanks to your recipe I have an idea on how to use them ‘correctly’, so the flavours will be maintained.

    The taste of this recipe is so good! Not overwhelming, just perfect.
    I made a small adjustment: I swapped half of the soy sauce with ketjap kental andddd, I put it on top of (cold) chickpeas, which became warm by the hot tofu dish! Can recommend this too.

    Thanks a lot!

    (I don’t often leave a reply, but this recipe and thorough ‘tofu how-to’ is def worth it!)5 stars

    1. I’m SO happy that you enjoyed it, Kim! Thank you for sharing this kind review and your adaptations!

  15. I’ve only put tofu in chilli’s and it’s never really gone down well but wow, this recipe is a tofu changer…it was so tasty!! Will definitely be making this many more times as family enjoyed it too…so pleased to have another veggie recipe on the family menu. Thank you so much. :)5 stars

  16. i have baked tofu plus frozen spinach and wonder if I can modify the recipe and use them both in this dish?  I will just tweak the instructions.

    1. Hi Martha! I haven’t tried the recipe this way myself, but if you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  17. I just love this delicious tofu stir fry recipe! I recently cut most meat out of my diet. After trying many wonderful vegetarian dishes, this is one I come back to again and again. The flavors are great and the prep is super easy. Yum!5 stars

  18. My husband and I don’t usually eat tofu and my husband is on the picky side- but this one was a winner! The recipe was so easy to make and delicious! I even subbed garlic and chili powder as it’s what I had on hand and used mixed frozen veggies. It was gone in no time! Definitely will make this one again!5 stars

  19. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! After years of being too intimated by tofu to try making it, I made this tonight. Super easy and delicious!5 stars

  20. Best stir fry I’ve ever made, the flavor is perfect. It’s quickly become one of my go-to dinners.5 stars

  21. I absolutely loved this recipe, and the article about Tofu, it was my first time cooking with Tofu, and I love it, so tasty, versatile and good for us and hopefully the planet. I looked at the recipe and cooked it and came back to book mark the recipe because we loved it so much and though I would just leave a review to ?5 stars

  22. This was absolutely the most delicious stir fry I have ever made! I don’t gravitate toward leftovers but was eating this cold from the storage container the next day. Looking forward to making it again :)5 stars

  23. I made it today with broccoli, beans and carrot omitting spinach! Came out to be a delish !! Although i would want to make it with some kind of liquid as it felt too dry for my palate. Kindly suggest something to make some kind of saucewhich can be added to it5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Nimisha! Thank you for sharing this kind review! You could add your favorite sauce or soy sauce at the end if you prefer.

  24. This was good! I think I overdid the vegetables so had to add extra liquid but I’ll definitely been making it again.4 stars

  25. This was the first time i read all the content of the article, instead of just jumping right into the recipe! The text is just so well written and fun, even more is enlighten…I had this huge doubt about types of tofu for a while, and you make it all clear in a instant! I love the recipe ❤️ thank you so much! Love from Brasil!5 stars

  26. This recipe is delicious and not difficult! I can say that as I had an 18 month old clinging to my leg the entire time and I was still able to make it. I did only have firm tofu as Trader Joe’s was out of the extra firm. It worked, and while it wasn’t as crispy, it was still so so good. We made a cauliflower rice with it and was perfect. Thanks for such a great recipe!5 stars

  27. I was SO looking forward to making this but completely forgot to buy sesame oil… Is there any subs? Can I make it without the sesame oil?! I can’t go to the store now its too late :(

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Madhuri! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

    1. Hi Francine! I’m sorry it was dry for you, it would be hard to say why that was without being in the kitchen with you. You could add some of your favorite sauce at the end for the next time.