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Spicy Cabbage Stir Fry

Cabbage Stir Fry is an Asian-inspired recipe with stir-fried cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, and green onions in a light and flavorful sauce. It’s a quick and easy, healthy vegan side dish or main meal ready in 30 minutes!

top down view cabbage stir fry with tofu in a bowl.

Inspired by a similar recipe from the NY Times, I thought it needed to be added to the recipe collection. I didn’t go too far from the original recipe, only adding red pepper flakes because I love spiciness (feel free to omit this if you’re not a fan of spice).

This is an absolutely quick and delicious meal that I find myself craving! It’s ready in about 30 minutes, making it a perfect go-to recipe when you need something fast and healthy. Serve over rice, quinoa, or noodles – or simply enjoy as is!

top down view of ingredients used to make cabbage stir fry.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe, cabbage, red pepper, and carrots are stir-fried, tossed with crispy tofu, and served with a grain of choice for healthy vegan stir fry.

Here’s everything you’ll need. Plus, ideas and tips for ingredient substitutions.

  •  tofu – use firm, extra firm, or high protein (can be optional).
  • ginger – use fresh grated or minced ginger. For ease, we love using this ginger paste found in the refrigerated area of the produce section.
  • garlic – fresh is best, but you can sub with garlic powder if needed.
  • red pepper flakes – feel free to substitute with a bit of sriracha or sambal oelek.
  • cabbage – savoy, green or napa cabbage.
  • red bell pepper
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • tamari – sub with low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos.
  • rice wine vinegar
side by side photos of prepping cabbage and crispy tofu in a pan.

How To Make Cabbage Stir Fry

(Note – The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post)

  • Prep the veggies.
  • Cook up your tofu.
side by side photos showing the process of stir frying cabbage.
  • Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes for 1 minute.
  • Add the cabbage, red bell pepper, green onions, and stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
side by side photos showing the process of adding seasoning to stir fried cabbage.
  • Add the tamari, rice vinegar, and water, stir fry for 5 minutes, until cabbage softens and wilts.
  • Season with salt (or garlic salt) and more tamari or rice vinegar to taste.
  • Optionally, add the cooked tofu towards the end of cooking and cook until warmed through.

And now you’re ready to serve!

Top Tips

  • Season well. Be sure to season well for the best flavor. If you find it bland at all, add more salt. Even a little pepper would be great!
  • Make it oil-free. Make this oil-free by using 1/4 cup of water when stir-frying the cabbage. If using a non-stick pan for cooking the tofu, you can omit the oil. Alternatively, bake the tofu on a lined baking sheet in a preheated oven set to 400 for 20 – 25 minutes.

side angle view of cabbage stir fry picked up with tongs in pan.

How To Store + Reheat

  • Refrigerator: Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 – 4 days in a covered container
  • Freezer: This cabbage stir fry can be stored in the freezer for 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/2 inch headspace for expansion. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags (remove as much air as possible before zip-locking). Let thaw before reheating.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through, adding a little tamari or veg broth for moisture as needed. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.

Serving Suggestions

Served as a side or main dish, this savory cabbage stir fry is versatile and pairs well with a variety of other flavors. Here are a few of my favorite options:

top down view of wok with freshly made cabbage stir fry.

More Easy Asian Recipes!

side angle view cabbage stir fry with tofu in a bowl.

If you try this easy cabbage recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

SPICY CABBAGE STIR FRY

Cabbage stir fry is a quick and easy Asian inspired side dish ready in 30 minutes! Great with crispy tofu and side of quinoa, basmati or jasmine rice for a healthy, vegan main dish.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: stir fry
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 12 ounces organic tofu (firm or extra firm), cut into dominoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 23 large garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 small cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), finely shredded (red, green or both)
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot or 1 cup baby carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions, sliced (reserve one green onion for garnish)
  • 24 tablespoons tamari ,low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 12 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • salt + pepper, to taste

to serve

  • sesame seeds
  • scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
  • grain of choice (soba or ramen noodles or quinoa, basmati or jasmine rice), optional

Instructions

Crispy tofu: Cut the tofu into dominoes and press between paper towels or dish cloth. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, add tofu and cook for 5 – 8 minutes on each side, until lightly golden in color. Season with salt and garlic powder (or garlic salt). Transfer tofu to a small plate.

Stir fry: Heat 14 inch wok or large skillet over medium- high heat, add 1 remaining tablespoon of oil, add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, green onions, tamari, rice vinegar and water, stir fry for 5 – 7 minutes, or until cabbage wilts and veggies soften. Add the tofu to the cabbage stir fry 2 minutes before done to warm through. Taste for seasoning, adding salt to taste.

Serve cabbage stir fry with cooked grain of choice and garnish with sesame seeds, green onions and/or cilantro.

Serves 4

Notes

Oil-Free: Make this oil free by using 1/4 cup water when stir frying the cabbage. If using a non-stick pan for cooking the tofu, you can omit the oil. Alternatively, bake the tofu on a lined baking sheet in a preheated oven set to 400 for 20 – 25 minutes.

Updated: This recipe was first published in February 2013. It has been updated with new photos and helpful tips in April 2020.

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6 Comments

  1. We made this last night – almost oil-free. I baked the tofu, and reduced the oil to 1 tsp using a nonstick pan. We added extra red pepper flakes, and towards the end, added some of Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch (so not oil free). We served with frozen Jasmin Rice from Whole Foods. Amazing!! We loved it, and can’t wait to make it again – so good!

  2. we make this a lot. sometimes adding mushrooms. often we don’t use tofu. thank you.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Would this work with red cabbage?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, you can use red cabbage in place of green. The color may bleed a little when cooking and change up the color of the other ingredients, but it will taste just as delicious!

  4. So excited to try this! Love all the vitamins & minerals it has!!!

  5. This was simple and delicious! I made soba noodles for the family, although I prefer it with jasmine rice. I used the full 4T of soy and still would probably add a little more next time. Great recipe!!!

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