Skip to Content

Kung Pao Tofu (Vegan & Vegetarian) Recipe

Sharing is caring!

Our kung pao tofu (vegan & vegetarian) recipe makes a perfect weeknight dinner. Our version of this creates a slightly spicy tangy dish using easy to find ingredients. You’ll love adding this garlic ginger tofu in homemade Kung pao sauce to rice or serving it in stir fry!

Come JOIN US on our FACEBOOK group and be a part of our community and discuss various recipes, tips and tricks.

LET’S BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

Jump to:

What is Kung Pao Tofu?

Kung pao tofu is a sweet and spicy stir fry that is a great way to enjoy tofu. You toss the crispy tofu with peanuts, chilis, veggies, and a tasty sauce for an easy dinner you can eat just about any night of the week.

What makes this recipe amazing is that you probably don’t need to make a special trip to the store to make. You probably have most of them in your pantry or fridge. But if you don’t, you should be able to easily find them at your local store.

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

What is kung pao sauce made of?

Kung pao sauce is a tasty sauce made with a few, readily available ingredients. They include:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Rice vinegar 
  • Soy sauce 
  • Water
  • Cornstarch
  • Toasted sesame oil
Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

Ingredients to make the best Kung Pao Tofu

To make kung pao tofu, you’ll need the following sets of ingredients. 

For the tofu, you’ll need:

  • Extra firm tofu - When you select your tofu, make sure to use extra firm and press the moisture out in order to make extra crispy tofu.
  • Cooking spray
  • Soy sauce - For gluten free options, use tamari.
  • Corn starch - This helps give a nice texture to the outside of the tofu and allows the soy sauce to stir to it.

When making the stir fry, you’ll need:

  • Sichuan peppercorns - You can often find this online if not available at your local store, or you could sub with freshly ground black pepper or coriander.
  • Oil - You can use your preferred type of oil.
  • Dried red chiles - To make them extra spicy, cut them in half.
  • Green onion - You will want to chop them and then keep the white and green parts separated.
  • Garlic- We mince the garlic to use it.
  • Ginger - You’ll need to peel and grate it.
  • Bell peppers - We use both red and green bell peppers diced.
  • Roasted unsalted peanuts - You can use your preferred brand.

For the sauce

For the sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Rice vinegar - White wine or regular vinegar can also work.
  • Soy sauce - You can use tamari if you prefer or dark soy sauce.
  • Water
  • Cornstarch - This helps to thicken the sauce some.
  • Toasted sesame oil - This has a unique flavor, but if you need to, you can sub in a different oil. 

How to make Kung Pao Sauce

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

Making kung pao sauce is super simple! Here’s what you need to do:

  • First, measure and get ready all the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Next, pour them all into a small bowl and mix them together until well combined.

You can now set it aside for when you need it!

How to make Kung Pao Tofu

Before making the stir fry, you need to prep the tofu. Here’s what you need to do:

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe
  • First, drain excess water out of the tofu. You can do this by wrapping them with a towel and placing a plate on top of them, but you can also opt to use a tofu press.
  • Once the tofu is done draining, slice it into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large bowl. 
  • Next, toss in the soy sauce and sprinkle with cornstarch and gently toss with your hands, until well coated.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 F or 190 C. Once it has preheated, spray some oil in the air fryer basket and then place the marinated tofu in the air fryer in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each so they get evenly crispy.
  • Next, place the basket into the air fryer and then cook the tofu for about 10 to 15 minutes, shaking it occasionally for even cooking. How long it will take depends on your air fryer. Start checking for desired crispiness around 10 minutes into it.
  • Finally, work in batches and repeat the process for the remaining cubes of tofu.

Bringing it all together

Once the tofu is ready and the sauce from above, you can make the stir fry. To do this, follow these easy steps:

  • First, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. 
  • When the pan is hot, stir-fry the bell peppers for about 2 minutes. 
  • Next, add the green onions, peanuts (reserve some for garnish), ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers. Stir-fry the vegetables for another two minutes before adding the Kung Pao sauce and the air fried tofu. 
  • Finally, bring everything in the pan to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened or about 2 minutes.

Garnish it with some reserved roasted peanuts and green onions and serve over white rice, brown rice, fried rice, or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

Pro tips and tricks

When you make kung pao tofu, follow these easy tips and tricks for best results.

  • For crispy tofu, make sure you drain as much water as you can from it before starting.
  • Don’t overcook the tofu or veggies when stir frying. They taste best with a bit of crispiness to them.
  • Serve over your favorite rice, hakka noodles, burnt garlic and cilantro noodles, or even orange cauliflower for some great extra flavor.

FAQs

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe
How to serve

When we make kung pao tofu, we make it fresh and serve it hot from the pan. We then serve it over rice, fried rice, noodles, or a bed of veggies. 

What kind of Tofu is best for stir fry?

When you make tofu for stir fries, use firm or extra firm for the best texture and favor. Softer tofus fall apart when cooking.

What vegetables can you substitute?

You can add in extra veggies if you like. Some good choices include mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, baby corn, and any pepper you like.
Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

How to store

Once the kung pao tofu has cooled, you can store it in an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge and then store for up to 5 days.

How to reheat Kung Pao Tofu

You can easily reheat kung pao tofu either in the microwave for individual servings or on the stovetop. You just need to heat it until it warms through. For the stovetop, use medium low to medium heat and stir frequently to avoid burning.

Can I pan fry tofu instead of Air Frying?

Yes, you can fry tofu if you prefer. You just need to add a bit of oil to the pan and use medium heat. Cook each side until it has started to brown. It should take only a few minutes per side.

Can I make this recipe a bit more spicy?

Yes, you can add as much chilis and peppers as you like. You can also cut the chili peppers in half to release additional heat.

Can I make this peanut free?

Yes! Peanuts add some nice flavor and crunch, but they are not needed, so you can skip them altogether.

How can I make this recipe vegan?

Our kung pao tofu is naturally vegan so you don’t need to do anything special to make it vegan. 
Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

If you make this delicious recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Let us know what you think

Try our Better than takeout Asian Recipes

Kung pao tofu , air fryer kung pao tofu , vegan kung pao recipe

Kung pao Tofu Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Our kung pao tofu (vegan & vegetarian) recipe makes a perfect weeknight dinner. Our version of this creates a slightly spicy tangy dish using easy to find ingredients. You’ll love adding this garlic ginger tofu in homemade Kung pao sauce to rice or serving it in stir fry!

Ingredients

Kung pao Tofu

  • 14 ounce block extra firm tofu, pressed*
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Stir Fry:

  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 5–10 dried red chiles (cut in half for more spice)
  • 2 green onions, chopped; white and green parts separated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1” fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  • First, drain excess water out of the tofu. You can do this by wrapping them with a towel and placing a plate on top of them, but you can also opt to use a tofu press.
  • Once the tofu is done draining, slice it into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large bowl. 
  • Next, toss in the soy sauce and sprinkle with cornstarch and gently toss with your hands, until well coated.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 F or 190 C. Once it has preheated, spray some oil in the air fryer basket and then place the marinated tofu in the air fryer in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each so they get evenly crispy.
  • Next, place the basket into the air fryer and then cook the tofu for about 10 to 15 minutes, shaking it occasionally for even cooking. How long it will take depends on your air fryer. Start checking for desired crispiness around 10 minutes into it.
  • Finally, work in batches and repeat the process for the remaining cubes of tofu.

Bring it all together

  • First, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. 
  • When the pan is hot, stir-fry the bell peppers for about 2 minutes. 
  • Next, add the green onions, peanuts (reserve some for garnish), ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers. Stir-fry the vegetables for another two minutes before adding the Kung Pao sauce and the air fried tofu. 
  • Finally, bring everything in the pan to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened or about 2 minutes.

Notes

When you make kung pao tofu, follow these easy tips and tricks for best results.

  • For crispy tofu, make sure you drain as much water as you can from it before starting.
  • Don’t overcook the tofu or veggies when stir frying. They taste best with a bit of crispiness to them.
  • Serve over your favorite rice, hakka noodles, burnt garlic and cilantro noodles, or even orange cauliflower for some great extra flavor.

Follow us for more delicious Recipes !

Did you make recipe? don’t forget to come back and leave your feedback and star rating.

About Soniya

Hello, I am Soniya, the cofounder of The Belly Rules The Mind.  Originally from Mumbai, India, I am settled in Virginia US with my husband.

I am a mother of 2 energetic boys, referred to as R2 (15-year-old) and R3 (10-year-old) on the blog. In case you are wondering who is R1, well that is my husband. 

My hubby and I were born in Mumbai, India, where we were spoiled by the wealth of food choices available to us. We could enjoy everything from yummy street food to multi-cuisine restaurants and we became very picky about what we like and what we don't. Read more

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!