top down view of a serving of kung pao tofu and rice in a bowl with things surrounding.

5 from 3 reviews

Quick, healthy and so easy to make, Kung Pao Tofu is loaded with veggies and full of flavor!


  • 1 block (14 – 16oz.) tofu, super firm, extra firm or firm (organic pref.)
  • 5 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos, divided
  • 1 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil (toasted), divided
  • 2 tablespoons regular oil (sesame or olive oil), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1012 dried red chilies (see notes)
  • 1 small white onion, diced 3/4 inch
  • 2 bell peppers, red and green, cored and diced 3/4-inch
  • 1 zucchini, quartered and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 inch knob ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons organic cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca powder)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced


Prep the tofu: Place the block of tofu between a clean dish towel, gently press down on top and along the edges so the towel absorbs the moisture. Cut the tofu into 3/4 inch cubes.

Marinate the tofu: Add 2 tablespoons tamari, 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, black pepper and red pepper flakes to a medium-sized bowl, add tofu and gently fold together until tofu is coated. Let tofu marinate while preparing the other ingredients.

Stir-fry sauce: To make the sauce, whisk together 3 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil in a small-medium bowl.

Brown tofu: Heat 1 tablespoon regular oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add marinated tofu in a single layer in the pan and cook without moving for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir the tofu and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stir once again and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer tofu to a plate.

Stir-fry veggies: Turn heat down to medium and add 1 tablespoon regular oil. Add red chili peppers, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the onion and stir-fry 1 minute. Add bell peppers and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add zucchini, garlic, ginger, and cook for 1 minute.

Add tofu & sauce: Add the tofu back to the pan. Add the sauce to the pan and allow to heat and bubble, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add slurry mix: Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing together 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Add to the pan, stirring to combine, continue stirring until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.

Serve: Serve with rice or quinoa. Garnish kung pao tofu with peanuts and sliced green onions.

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


For convenience, try using packaged, pre-minced garlic or ginger, even a paste is great, use 1 tablespoon each (make it a heaping tablespoon for extra flavor).

Red Chili Peppers: You can find dried red chili peppers in Asian markets or use the ‘chilies de arbol’ found in the Latin section of your local grocery store. Use whole (like I do), or cut them in half and remove the seeds. Use as many as you like for flavor. Do not eat them.

Nut allergies: If you have nut allergies, omit the peanuts.

Oil free: You can make this oil-free by using a water saute or using vegetable broth in place of oil when stir-frying. Omit the oil in the marinade and sauce.

Keywords: kung pao tofu recipe, vegan stir fry