Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce

Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce

Three words are all you need to know about this ravishing recipe—tangy, textured, and super tasty! Wait, that’s four. Oh, well, you get the point. This crispy sweet and sour tofu from the Earthy Vegan Eats cookbook is totally worth a try, even if you’re a little intimidated by tofu.

If you’re attracted to a thick, flavorful sauce, you’re going to fall in love with this delicious dish. You get all the allure of an asian-inspired, take-out dinner without the expense or animal products. Pressing the tofu (or freezing it the night before) can really help to get the best final finish to the surface of your triangles.

What do you say? Are you ready to give it a try? Come on, we’ll do it together!

How To Cut Tofu Into Triangles

Friends, we can describe to you how to cut tofu into triangles (and we will), but sometimes a quick video is your best bet. This video shows how to cut tofu in four different ways, just in case you don’t like triangles. You can also do it this way:

  1. Cut the tofu block vertically into 2 thick slices.
  2. Then, cut through the center of these so that you have 4 thick blocks.
  3. Turn each block on its end and cut through it diagonally – making two long triangular shapes.
  4. Slice each of the two long triangular shapes into 1/4″ thick slices. Repeat for the other 3 blocks.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy and you can show off your new skills to your friends and family – yay!

How To Serve Up Your Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu

Tofu is so terrific, don’t you think? It’s as flexible as you want it to be, not only with texture, but with flavor, too. It seems like you can serve up some tofu with any side at all and it would still be scrumptious and satisfying. Here are a few favorite serving suggestions:

  • Rice Is Always Nice – Our first choice for a savory side would be good ol’ whole grains, specifically rice. This crispy tofu with sweet and sour sauce recipe is totally perfect for topping a scoop of steaming rice.
  • Well-Seasoned Salad Salute – You’ll love the addition of tantalizing tofu triangles atop your sultry salad greens. The combination of cool, crisp leaves and a warm, sweet sauce can be heavenly. Check out our salad guide for ways to create the most perfect pairing of vibrant vegetables!
  • Oodles of Nosh-Worthy Noodles – Noodles are another ingredient that goes wonderfully with most meals. You can use rice noodles, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles, or even kelp noodles—pretty much anything you like! The marvelous mixture of crusty, pan-fried tofu and luxurious, lengthy pasta ribbons is addictive.
  • Don’t Toil Over Your Oil – If you’re a little worried that your sesame oil will smoke, no worries. Instead, use your favorite vegetable oil to fry your tofu and then add a teaspoon or two to the finished dish to get that signature toasted sesame flavor.
  • If Spice Is Your Vice – When it comes to asian-inspired dishes, you may have a hankering for some extra heat. Feel free to add whichever vegan hot sauce you love in whatever amounts you wish. This crispy sweet and sour tofu will take whatever you top it with—guaranteed!

Vegan Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Equipment You’ll Need

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Vegan Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Author: Maria Gureeva
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Oven, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

With so many ways to prepare and enjoy tofu, you’re not going to want to skip out on this delicious recipe for crispy tofu with a sweet and sour sauce. Comforting, chewy, and delightful when enjoyed with a side of rice, served atop a salad, or thrown into a noodle soup—this recipe is perfect any time of day or year!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 (10-oz [283-g]) block of extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into triangles
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of sesame oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of rice vinegar
  • Juice of ½ of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon (16 g) of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup (60ml) of water
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (18 g) of sesame seeds
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the tofu triangles on the lined baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until a light brown color.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the
    onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot, sautéing for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften
    and the onion is translucent.
  3. Make the sauce by stirring together the tamari (or soy sauce), maple syrup, rice vinegar, lemon juice and tomato paste. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and the
    cornstarch.
  4. When the baked tofu is done, add it to the frying pan and fry it for 5 minutes, rotating each triangle frequently. Then, Pour the sauce into the frying pan and stir well to coat all the tofu triangles. Allow to simmer lightly for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the cornstarch slurry and continue to stir until the
    sauce thickens.
  5. During the last minute of cooking, stir in the sesame seeds, garnish with scallions and
    serve with a side of your choice.

Notes

It’s important to get as much water as possible out of the tofu. Depending on the brand you use, pressing may be necessary. You can also freeze it overnight to get a firmer and chewier texture.

Keywords: tofu, gluten-free, protein, meat-free, meatless, asian, sweet and savory, crispy, side, vegan, vegetarian

Simple Storage

This recipe is best eaten the same day, but you can store any leftover tofu in a covered container in the fridge for a few days. If there’s any remaining sauce, try to store that in a mason jar so that you can use it to help heat up your tofu another day. Not recommended for freezing.

To make cooking quicker, you can prep the sauce and cut the tofu into triangles the day before. Keep each in a separate, sealed container until ready to use. Check out our Tofu Guide for the Tentative Cook for more tips on tofu!

About the Author

Maria Gureeva is the creator of the Earth of Maria blog and author of the Earthy Vegan Eats cookbook. Maria’s cookbook features over 60 recipes of gluten-free, healthy, plant-based recipes that are suitable for any any cooking skill. 

She turned her favorite hobbies of cooking, photography, and writing into a full-time career with wild success. Most of her recipes take less than an hour to make, with many that are oil-free and budget-friendly. Her goal is to create flavorful, unique recipes that are also fun to make and even more fun to eat.

More Incredible Tofu Recipes to Try:

We want to thank our amazing recipe testers Annie Sparks & Aston Martin for helping us perfect this recipe!

This vegan Crispy Tofu With Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe was reprinted with permission from the Earthy Vegan Eats by Maria Gureeva (Page Street Publishing, April 6, 2021). Photography by Maria Gureeva. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this post includes affiliate links when available which supports our work at World of Vegan. 

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11 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Rebecca · Edit

    This was really delicious! But the steps of the recipe are quite confusing. What do you do with the vegetables in step 2? Just leave them in the pan? How does this relate to the tofu in a (separate?) pan in step 4? Step 4 says the tofu is in cubes, not triangles, and I think cubes would be a better shape for this dish. The vegetables in step 2 need to be added at the end of step 4, unless we are using the same pan throughout. I solved these odd directions by cooking vegetables and then adding the baked tofu and the sauce–I didn’t see the point of frying baked tofu. I used super firm tofu and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. I will definitely make this again using cubes of tofu!

    Reply
    1. So glad you liked it, Rebecca! And thanks so much for your feedback, I adjusted how the recipe is written to try to make it more clear for others who make this dish 🙂 Cheers!!

      Reply
  2. Amanda · Edit

    I love a good sweet and sour dish, especially when tofu is involved! Yum!

    Reply
  3. This tofu is SO flavorful and scrumptious. I also like cutting the tofu into cubes instead of triangles because it makes the recipe just a little bit faster and easier for me 🙂

    Reply
  4. Beatriz Buono-Core · Edit

    I seriously need to try this ASAP! All my favorite things combined 😀

    Reply
  5. Delicious melding of flavors…the sauce is delicious. Love crispy tofu!

    Reply
  6. What a delicious sauce! I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but I really liked this dish. Might try it with tempeh next time. Give it a try!

    Reply
  7. Andrea White · Edit

    I’ve been looking for a new sauce for tofu. This is perfect!

    Reply
  8. I’m always so happy to find more vegan tofu recipes 🙂

    Reply
  9. Janaye · Edit

    Sweet and Sour sauce is too good, I am so happy I can try out this tofu recipe to get the sweet and sour “chickn” effect!

    Reply

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