You're going to love this Kung Pao Tofu. Tofu marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce and sautéed with bell peppers, red chilis, and eggplant for an easy vegan meal. Made in under 20 minutes!
This winter weather is making me do some serious nesting. With the rain falling down most hours of most days and the sun struggling to peek out past the clouds, nothing sounds better than hunkering down and getting cozy with some good food and a fire.
When it comes to good cozy winter meals, there is nothing quite like the comfort of making traditional take-out meals at home. Amiright??
And so, on this cold grey day, I bring you something to brighten your mood. Vegan Kung Pao Tofu with Eggplant. It's sweet and spicy and it will make you so happy you stayed indoors this winter evening.
Not only is this Kung Pao Tofu completely delicious, but it is also made with whole, natural ingredients. This recipe is vegan and refined sugar-free, with a gluten-free option. And best of all, it was made with ingredients that were delivered right to my door!
That’s right. I got all my non-perishable ingredients for this recipe from iHerb.
What is iHerb?
I've written about iHerb several times before, but for those of you who aren’t familiar, iHerb is an online store filled with over 30,000 natural and organic products ranging from home, beauty, food, pets, supplements, personal care, and more.
iHerb carries top-quality brands – ones that you probably recognize – and ships from climate-controlled distribution centers to ensure quality products to over 150 countries around the world!
I first learned of iHerb about 6 years ago. When I found them, they were my go-to one-stop-shop for all of my unperishable groceries. Not only do they have everything I want, but also their shipping is fast and their prices are great. This is the place to buy quality and organic staples like vanilla extract, raw nuts, raw cacao, and maple syrup
iHerb is convenient, affordable, and I am certain to get top-quality ingredients. For this Kung Pao Tofu, I was able to pick up the following ingredients from iHerb:
- Organic Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Vegetable Broth
- Organic Cornstarch
- Organic Raw Cashews
- Rice Cooking Wine
- Organic Maple Syrup
The items were fresh, top quality, and took this Kung Poa Tofu to the next level.
How iHerb works
Picking out items at iHerb is super easy. Because they only carry the best brands, you don’t have to look through a lot of products to find the good ones. Simply type in what you’re looking for in the search bar and review your selections.
Once you fill up your cart, review it, select shipping and payment methods, and you’re good to go. iHerb offers customer service 24 hours a day/7 days a week in 10 different languages, making it an easy and convenient online shopping experience.
Mini Grocery Haul
One of the best features of iHerb is the Vegan Grocery Section. I love to shop for many of my non-perishable foods here. By shopping in the vegan grocery section of iHerb, I can grab my favorite snacks and staples without having to spend time reading all the ingredients. And from the comfort of my own home. It's a win-win!
This past mini grocery haul included some of my favorite items such as:
- Celestial Seasonings Rooibos Tea
- Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- Endangered Species Almond Sea Salt Dark Chocolate
- La Tourangelle Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Now Foods Organic Popcorn
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Sugar
- Now Foods Organic Maple Syrup
- Peanut Butter & Co. Old Fashioned Peanut Butter
- Now Foods Organic Quinoa Spaghetti
- Simple Mills Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies
I highly recommend trying iHerb for yourself. New customers will get a discount off their first iHerb order with no minimum purchase.
How to make Vegan Kung Pao
Like most stir-fries, this recipe comes together quite easily for a delicious traditional Chinese dish. In fact, you can whip this up in just 3 simple steps in about 20 minutes.
Step One - Marinate the Tofu
To start, cut the tofu into ½″ cubes. Place the cubed tofu in a large Ziplock bag. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and pour it over the tofu. Close the bag and lightly shake the tofu, ensuring that it is completely submerged.
Set it aside while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Step Two - Pan Fry the Tofu
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated tofu, along with the extra marinade. Stir fry the tofu for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown.
Remove the tofu from heat and transfer it to a small bowl.
Step Three - Sauté the Vegetables
In the same pan, add an additional tablespoon of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bell peppers, chilis, eggplant, and green onion, sautéing them for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the Kung Pao Sauce and pan-fried tofu and cook until the sauce is thick with a nice glaze. Stir in cashews and remove from heat.
Once your Kung Pao Tofu is ready, serve it immediately with steamed rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this recipe gluten-free?
As it is written, the recipe is not gluten-free because it contains soy sauce. However, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using Tamari – a wheat-free alternative to soy sauce.
Also, for a grain-free option, consider swapping out the rice with cauliflower rice.
Can this recipe be made in advance?
If you're short on time, you can make parts of this recipe in advance. The tofu can be marinaded up to 24 hours in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Additionally, the Kung Pao sauce can be made in advance.
When you are ready to eat, simply stir fry your tofu and vegetables and you've got yourself a meal!
Serving and Storing
For best results, eat this recipe shortly after it’s made. However, if you have leftovers you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To eat leftovers, gently reheat the stir fry over the stove or in the microwave.
I think that's all you need to know about making the PERFECT Kung Pao Tofu. Let's take a look at the recipe card below.
Kung Pao Tofu with Eggplant
Kung Pao Sauce
- 3 tbsp. sesame oil, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly chopped
- 5 dried red chilis
- 1 ½ cup eggplant, cut into ½" cubes
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- Begin by making the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1" cubes and place in a large Ziplock bag. Whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and cornstarch until the cornstarch as dissolved. Pour the sauce over the tofu and let it marinate for 10 minutes while you prepare everything else.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the Kung Pao sauce and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated tofu, along with the extra marinade. Stir fry the tofu for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown. Remove from heat and transfer the tofu into a small bowl.
- Add the remaining sesame oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bell pepper, chilis, eggplant, and green onions. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the prepared sauce to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the sauce begins to thicken, return to tofu to the pan and stir fry it along with the vegetables for 2-3 more minutes.
- Stir in cashews. Remove from heat and serve immediately with steamed rice.