Quick Vegetarian Tofu Stir Fry

$3.82 recipe / $0.96 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 18 votes
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Here’s a little quickie for you this weekend! This super simple tofu stir fry is a riff off of my favorite Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry. It’s super fast, easy, filling, inexpensive, and endlessly customizable. Keep reading to see all the possibilities for making this tofu stir fry your own!

Quick Tofu Stir Fry in a skillet with sriracha and a bowl of peanuts on the side

Use any Stir Fry Sauce

This recipe is so flexible that you can literally use any type of stir fry sauce, so go with whatever you like best. The stir fry sauce for the Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, which this recipe is based upon, is a spicy and super simple 4-ingredient sauce, but I switched it up this time and used a non-spicy sauce, then just added sriracha on top for heat as needed. Feel free to use that original sauce, something a little less sweet like the sauce used in my Ground Turkey Stir Fry, a richer oyster based sauce like in my Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli, or even something a little sweeter like a bottled sweet chili sauce. It’s so flexible!

Change Up the Vegetables

I love using bagged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) in stir fry because there’s no prep involved, it’s filling, and it’s still super inexpensive. I used about ½ of a 1 lb. bag of mix here, but you could probably even add more if you want it more vegetable heavy. You can shred your own cabbage and carrots (you’ll want about 5 cups), or even use a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables in place of or in addition to the shredded cabbage.

If using frozen vegetables, I suggest adding them to the skillet before the cabbage because they’ll need a little longer to cook. If you are increasing the amount of vegetables, you may wan to also increase the sauce and add half to the tofu and half after adding the vegetables.

Substitute the Peanuts

If you don’t like or can’t have peanuts, don’t worry! They’re totally optional. I love the crunchy texture they add to the dish, but you can either leave them out, substitute with another nut (maybe cashews or almonds), or add a few sesame seeds to the stir fry at the end. It’s up to you!

How are the Leftovers?

I’m going to call the leftovers of this one “subjective.” Haha! Dishes like this will seep water as they sit in the refrigerator and the cabbage (or other vegetables) will soften further, but that wouldn’t stop me from reheating and enjoying the leftovers. If you’re a bit more sensitive to texture and flavor changes, you may not enjoy the leftovers.

front view of three bowls full of quick tofu stir fry
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Quick Tofu Stir Fry

5 from 18 votes
This super fast and inexpensive tofu stir fry is super filling, easy enough for busy weeknights, and endlessly customizable!
three bowls of quick tofu stir fry
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 20 mins

Ingredients

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.18)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 2 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.10)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger ($0.10)

Stir Fry

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu ($1.79)
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts ($0.12)
  • ½ lb. coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) ($0.90)

Toppings

  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.20)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (optional) ($0.11)

Instructions 

  • Prepare the stir fry sauce first. In a bowl combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Set the sauce aside.
  • Slice the green onion and chop the peanuts.
  • Take the tofu out of the package, draining away any liquid from the package (no need to press the tofu as the water will be cooked out). Crumble the tofu into a bowl.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet and oil are very hot, add the crumbled tofu and stir fry for about 5 minutes, or until there is no longer any water pooling on the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the prepared stir fry sauce to the skillet and continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes more. Finally, add the slaw mix and chopped peanuts and stir fry for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the cabbage begins to wilt. Top with sliced green onions and a drizzle of sriracha, then serve!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 272.43kcalCarbohydrates: 16.98gProtein: 14.53gFat: 17.73gSodium: 815.75mgFiber: 3.33g
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close up of quick tofu stir fry in the skillet

How to Make Quick Tofu Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos

stir fry sauce in a white bowl with a fork

Make the stir fry sauce first. In a bowl, combine 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp water, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and about 1 tsp grated fresh ginger. Set the sauce aside.

chopped peanuts and sliced green onion

Chop ¼ cup peanuts and slice two green onions.

tofu and coleslaw mix

These are the two main ingredients in this super simple stir fry–tofu and shredded cabbage and carrots (coleslaw mix). You can switch up the vegetables or add more if you’d like. See the notes above the recipe for ideas.

crumbled tofu in a bowl

Take the tofu out of the package, draining away any liquid (there is no need to press the tofu for this recipe because the excess water will be cooked out). Crumble the tofu into a bowl.

sauce being added to cooked tofu in the skillet

Heat 2 Tbsp cooking oil (your favorite kind) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil and skillet are hot, add the crumbled tofu and stir fry until there is no longer any liquid pooling in the skillet. Pour the prepared sauce over top and continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes more.

shredded cabbage and carrots added to the skillet

Finally, add the shredded cabbage and carrots, and the chopped peanuts to the skillet. I used half the bag, or about ½ lb., but you could probably add more if you’d like. Continue to cook and stir for only 1-2 minutes more, or just until the cabbage begins to wilt.

Sriracha being drizzled over the skillet

Top the stir fry with sliced green onions and a drizzle of sriracha, then serve!

three bowls of quick tofu stir fry
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  1. We love this recipe of yours and have enjoyed it many times. It’s so quick and easy to fix yet delicious and satisfying. Hard to believe it is so budget friendly. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. One of the easiest, best tasting, loved new recipes at our house. Who knew good for you meals could be so inexpensive. Thanks for sharing this cool recipe. I look forward to fixing it again for tonight’s dinner.

  3. So quick and easy. It’s my new go to if I don’t have a lot of time. First time I followed recipe exactly and it was perfect. Since then I’ve customized it and added whatever veggies I’ve had in my fridge. 

  4. This will 100% be my new go to recipe whenever I want to make tofu. Soooooo good! I froze my tofu but it was so convenient not having to press it, lol. Very good and flavorful.

  5. Looks super easy to make and tasty. Adding this one to my list of recipes to try very soon

  6. I am writing this review because my husband and I easily give this recipe 5 stars! It tastes exceptionally good! We loved every bite! I followed the recipe as written except left off the sriracha sauce. We don’t like spicy anything, but our adult kids would want it on theirs. I look forward to making this dish often. It’s satisfying and the sauce is perfect! Served with steamed broccoli. Thanks so much for this yummy recipe!

  7. I chopped about 4 cups of cabbage and sliced 3 carrots, added a few splashes of fish sauce while cooking and some extra soy sauce in the end. YUM! So easy and fast and healthy. I’d like to add broccoli next time too

  8. So adaptable! I don’t like things “saucy” so I cut the sauce recipe in half and used broccoli slaw in place of the coleslaw. And used the walnuts I already had in place of the peanuts😂 Despite all my substitutions it’s delicious! Already planning on making this part of my regular weekly menu rotation

  9. Really liked this recipe. I initially served it over rice though, and that was a mistake. When it mixed with white rice, it felt kinda bland. Enjoyed it a lot when I went back for seconds without the rice though. Will definitely be serving with rice on the side (if I make any at all) next time.

  10. This was delicious and super easy. I fried an egg to put on top each time we ate it and I feel like that really rounded it out. We’ll definitely put this in our meal rotation!

  11. Doubled the sauce and served with brown rice. This was amazing and so so easy and will be a regular dish for me going forward! 

  12. So easy and delicious! My boyfriend and I ate the entire dish in one dinner easy though, so if you’re feeding more than 2 I would double this recipe! I served his over quinoa to get in some extra calories and topped it with avocado, green onion, sriracha, and some peanuts. I also made 1 1/2 times the sauce recipe because we were eating it over quinoa and it was great. If you like really bold flavor maybe think about making a little extra sauce, but this would be great as is too! Definitely going to be a regular dinner for us! So quick and lovely. Great recipe!

  13. This is definitely worth a try. It’s easy and unique for me, also I have the option to just buy the shredded ingredients and make them for myself. Thank you for the steps. Brilliant!

  14. Made this tonight and myself and my son absolutely loved it, went heavy on the sriracha sauce for a nice spicy hit.

  15. This was excellent! The vegan nanny and I loved it for dinner and then lunch the next day. My son didn’t like the tofu, but ate all the cabbage I put on his plate. Next time I should do a double recipe so that I can have leftovers all week.