This sweet and sour tofu with bell peppers and a tangy orange sauce is a healthy, easy recipe. Ideal for a weeknight dinner alternative to takeout and a great way to make tofu taste good. Also gluten-free.
I’m not going to lie, I do love a good takeout (commonly referred to as takeaway here in the UK). I don’t have them that often, but they can be a great Friday or Saturday treat when I don’t feel like cooking.
As I’ve said before, my approach to healthy eating is definitely not eating 100% typically healthy foods all the time. If I feel like having a takeaway, I’ll have one. Balance is much more sustainable than attempting to achieve perfection in the way you eat (which arguably doesn’t exist in the first place).
That being said, I also love creating homemade versions of favourite takeaway dishes at home. It’s great that most places nowadays are willing to cater to vegans. However, homemade meals can often be not only tastier, but also cheaper. So, the dish that I’m bringing to the blog today is tofu with a takeout-inspired sauce.
About this sweet and sour tofu recipe
This dish is seriously so good. If you ever want comfort food that requires minimal ingredients and preparation, you should give this a go for sure. I know that tofu has a bit of a reputation for being flavourless, but the way to ensure it tastes good is making some sort of flavourful sauce.
Another trick coating the tofu in cornstarch (after, of course, pressing it well). This is easily done by putting the cornflour into a sandwich bag, adding the tofu cubes and shaking until well-coated.
You then simply bake the tofu, which is a good alternative if you don't want to fry it. However, frying in a little bit of olive oil or sesame oil also works. This method gives the tofu a wonderful texture that goes really well with the sweet and sour orange sauce.
For the vegetables, I used onion, carrots and bell peppers. Garnished with spring onions, this dish absolutely incredible served with noodles or rice of your choice. Give it a go, and you will see for yourself!
What's to love about this sweet and sour tofu recipe?
- Tangy, with plenty of umami flavours.
- Great for vegans and non-vegans alike.
- Made with lots of vegetables.
- Easy and beginner-friendly.
- Perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Ingredients you will need
- Extra firm tofu. You can also use firm tofu, but you will need to press it for longer.
- Lemon juice. Lime juice works too.
- Paprika and salt for marinading the tofu.
- Cornstarch. Arrowroot powder works too.
- Orange juice. This makes an incredible sauce!
- Rice vinegar.
- Tomato paste.
- Sriracha. This adds a great hint of spice.
- Tamari. You can use soy sauce if not avoiding gluten, or coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
- Sesame oil for cooking the vegetables.
- Red onion.
- Carrots and bell peppers. You can also use any other vegetables you have in the fridge.
- Sesame seeds.
How to make sweet and sour tofu
Make sure to press the tofu for at least 10 minutes before starting to make this recipe (it may need to be longer if not using extra firm tofu). This can be done using a tofu press, or by placing a paper towel on top of the tofu followed by a frying pan with heavy objects like books inside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the tofu, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinade. You can also leave it to marinade overnight, or in the morning if you plan to make this for dinner.
Around 10 minutes before the tofu is ready, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Add cornstarch to a ziplock bag, followed by the tofu. Shake to ensure that the tofu cubes are evenly coated. Then, transfer them to the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
Prepare the sauce by whisking together the orange juice, rice vinegar, tomato paste, sriracha, and tamari. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch.
Heat a little bit of sesame oil in a wok or pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Now add the carrots and bell peppers, cooking for 5 minutes more.
When the tofu is ready, add it to the wok/pan together with the sauce and cornstarch slurry. Stir for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Recipe tips for success
- Don't skip pressing the tofu! This is the key to achieving maximum flavour and the best texture.
- This recipe is best consumed immediately, as the tofu won't be as crispy if you save it for later.
- You can add other vegetables of your choice, such as Pak Choi, zucchini, etc - just make sure they don't have too high of a water content.
Other recipes you might like
- Buckwheat crepes with mushrooms
- Creamy tofu pasta
- Falafel salad with tahini dressing
- Noodle soup with roasted chickpeas
- Easy cheesy potatoes with Brussels sprouts
Let me know in the comments - what's your favourite tofu recipe? If you give this sweet and sour tofu a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ohmyveggies) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating!
- Mixing bowl x 2
- Conventional oven
- Wok or pan
- 10 oz tofu extra firm, cubed and pressed (see recipe notes)
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 large red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium orange bell pepper chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped into matchsticks
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the tofu, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to marinade.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add cornstarch to a ziplock bag, followed by the tofu. Shake to ensure that the tofu cubes are evenly coated. Then, transfer them to the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce by whisking together the orange juice, rice vinegar, tomato paste, sriracha, and tamari. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch.
- Heat a little bit of sesame oil in a wok or pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Now add the carrot and bell peppers, cooking for 5 minutes more.
- When the tofu is ready, add it to the wok/pan together with the sauce and cornstarch slurry. Stir for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the sesame seeds and serve.