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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Sweet and Sour Tofu with Vegetables

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This vibrant Sweet and Sour Tofu packed with lots of yummy vegetables is the perfect family-friendly meal. Fragrant garlic, sweet pineapple, crunchy bell pepper, hearty broccoli, crispy tofu and brown rice are tossed in a homemade sweet and sour sauce, makes this recipe taste even better than takeout!

sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks

Sweet and sour tofu loaded with veggies and a delicious sauce — what could be more satisfying? It’s a healthier version of Asian Takeout — with all of the flavor but none of the guilt.

I love recreating healthy, vegan or vegetarian versions of our favorite takeout meals at home, and this recipe is no exception! This vegan sweet and sour tofu recipe is super easy to make, so colorful and satisfying, and has become a staple at my house.

Latest Recipe Video!

Typically, sweet and sour recipes are packed with sugar – after all – that’s where the “sweet” comes from! But I figured out a way to recreate that classic flavor with way less sugar than the traditional version!

Using tofu instead of meat is another healthy vegan-friendly swap, and pan-frying it with a small amount of oil gives it great texture without the added fat of deep-frying.

The tangy-sweet flavor of this homemade sweet and sour tofu pairs perfectly with brown rice, and I guarantee it will leave your entire family wanting more, picky eaters included!

How To Make Sweet And Sour Tofu

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

sweet and sour tofu ingredients
  • Tofu: I recommend extra firm tofu because it has the best meaty texture
  • Onion, Garlic and Ginger: These aromatics add tons of flavor to this sweet and sour tofu!
  • Veggies: I used red bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and bok choy – but you can use any veggies you have on hand!
  • Pineapple: Optional, but I love the texture of it in this stir fry and it adds to the sweet and sour feel of this recipe!
  • Olive Oil and Salt to taste: Critical for any dish!
  • Green Onions for garnish and crunch
  • Sauce Ingredients: You’ll need lemon juice, soy sauce, some sort of sweetener (honey, agave, or coconut sugar), chili sauce, corn starch and water.
  • Brown Rice: I use about 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice per serving – it’s a great accompaniment to this dish!

Step by Step Instructions

How To Prepare Tofu

Tofu is often packed in water, so the first thing you’ll have to do is drain the tofu once you open the package.

Then, you need to remove as much of the water as possible so that the tofu cooks up nice and firm.

That’s why I recommend buying extra firm tofu to start, so you’ll already have some of the work done for you. To remove the water, you can either let the tofu rest on a plate on a paper towel, press it with two heavy pans and paper towels, or use a tofu press (more on that in a sec!)

Note: Vacuum packed extra firm tofu will save you on prep time because it is pre-pressed and the excess water is already removed!

How To Make Tofu Crispy

Cut the block of tofu in half. Place each half in 2 clean paper towels one at a time and gently press/squeeze to remove excess stored liquid (without breaking up the tofu). (Alternatively, use a Tofu Press which is super easy to use and takes way less time than manually pressing tofu!).

Once you have removed the water, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and pan fry on medium heat with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and a couple sprays of olive oil cooking spray.

Mix and turn frequently until all the water is burned off and the tofu is lightly golden brown on most sides (be sure not to burn the tofu). If you find that the tofu is sticking to the pan, add a little more olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.

baked tofu on a baking sheet

How to Stir Fry The Veggies

In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat 1½ tbsp of oil on medium heat. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and fry for about 10-15 seconds until fragrant.

Add the onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and broccoli and toss to combine. Mix frequently and sauté until all the vegetables are cooked and tender, yet still remain crispy. Note that all the water released from cooking the mushrooms should burn off while sautéing the vegetables. In the meantime, prepare the sauce.

sauteed veggies in a wok

To Prepare the Sauce

Whisk all the sauce ingredients until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add more or less chili sauce depending on your preference of spice. Taste the sauce prior to adding it to the dish to make sure you have the right amount of sweetness and saltiness.

sauce ingredients mixed in a bow

Final Steps

Once the vegetables are tender and crispy, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the pan-fried tofu to the vegetables. Slowly add the sauce and toss with the vegetables and tofu. After about a minute, add the pineapple chunks and chopped bok choy.

tofu added to veggies in wok

Mix slowly on medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken and coat the vegetables and tofu. Be sure not to burn off all the sauce (this should only take 5-10 minutes). Turn off the heat and add the chopped green onions.

green onions added to tofu veggie mixture

Toss once more and serve hot with a side of cooked brown rice.

sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks

What Makes This Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Tofu Healthy?

  • Protein: Protein is super important for our muscles, it help keep you full, and can even boost your metabolism! This sweet and sour tofu has 17 grams of plant protein in each serving! 
  • Vitamins and Minerals: The veggies in this dish are packed with antioxidants and nutrients – especially the broccoli and bok choy (both are part of the cruciferous family which have some of the highest antioxidants!) You’ll also find calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and zinc in this dish!
  • Low Calorie: Each serving has only about 270 calories, while still being very filling and satisfying. Plus, the servings are massive too! 

Recipe FAQs

Can I Make This Dish If I Can’t Eat Tofu?

Yes! If you have an allergy to tofu or just aren’t a fan, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat this sweet and sour tofu recipe minus the tofu! There are a couple of options for you. First of all, you could completely skip the tofu and just prepare the veggies, pineapple, rice, and sauce. Or, you could swap the tofu for cauliflower. Cauliflower easily takes on the flavors of the other ingredients, and you can pan fry or roast it (similar to tofu) to give it that meaty texture.

Is Tofu Gluten-Free?

Yes, tofu is actually gluten-free. However, some tofu can be exposed to gluten during the manufacturing and preparation process. So if you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure to purchase tofu that is certified gluten free.

Will Kids Enjoy This Sweet and Sour Recipe?

Most kids love everything about this sweet and sour tofu. With the pieces of pineapple, the tangy sauce, and the overall sweetness in the dish, it’s pretty irresistible.
Once in a while, you will have a kiddo that isn’t a huge fan, but it’s usually because he or she doesn’t like a lot of vegetables. In that case, I recommend either cutting up the veggies super small so they don’t really notice it, or serving them the tofu + brown rice and giving them a taste of the veggies on the side.

How to Store and Keep

Refrigerator Method: This sweet and sour tofu will last in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. It needs to be cooled before refrigerating and be kept in an airtight container. 

Reheating Directions: You can reheat the tofu dish in the microwave or on the stovetop in a skillet. Use medium heat on the stovetop and warm until it’s hot. Then serve as you normally would. 

Note: I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, because tofu changes its texture when it’s defrosted and while it’s safe to eat, it just doesn’t taste as good!

sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks

Top Tips For Making Sweet and Sour Veggies

  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free certified tofu and substitute tamari for the soy sauce. 
  • To ensure this recipe is vegan-friendly, use agave or coconut sugar instead of honey.
  • This recipe will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
  • Feel free to omit the pineapple, or substitute in different veggies based on your tastes and what you have on hand. Just watch the cook time, as firmer veggies will need to cook longer and softer veggies (like zucchini or squash) will cook much faster!
  • Be sure to get out all the extra moisture from the tofu. It will crisp up better when the excess moisture has been removed. 
  • It’s important not to overcook the sauce, tofu, and veggies together. The sauce will reduce and burn off quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Check Out These Other Asian Inspired and Vegan Friendly Recipes!

If you have tried this Sweet and Sour Tofu Recipe or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

sweet and sour tofu with veggies, served on a white plate with chopsticks
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Sweet and Sour Tofu with Vegetables

Sweet and Sour takeout flavors without the excess fat and other ingredients. You won’t miss the price of takeout once you make this healthy tofu version at home.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Vegan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Stir Fry

  • 14 oz Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • tbsp olive oil or any other neutral oil for cooking
  • 4-5 sprays olive oil cooking spray
  • 5 cloves garlic minced­­­
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 cups red bell pepper cubed (~ 1 medium red bell pepper)
  • cups broccoli florets ~1 medium head of broccoli
  • 1 onion cubed
  • 3 small “heads” bok choy rinsed, trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms, de-stemmed and quartered or halved depending on the size of mushrooms. If you don't like mushrooms, sub for asparagus or zucchini.
  • 2 green onions chopped finely

For The Sauce

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce gluten-free option: use tamari instead of soy sauce
  • cup agave, coconut sugar, or honey or another sweetener of choice
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 4 tbsp water
  • cups cooked Brown rice use 1/4 cup per serving

Instructions

To Prepare the Tofu:

  • Cut the block of tofu in half. Place each half in 2 clean paper towels one at a time and gently press/squeeze to remove excess stored liquid (without breaking up the tofu). (Alternatively, use a tofu press). Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and pan fry on medium heat with ½ tbsp olive oil and a couple sprays of olive oil cooking spray. Mix and turn frequently until all the water is burned off and the tofu is lightly golden brown on most sides (be sure not to burn the tofu). If you find that the tofu is sticking to the pan, add a little more olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat 1½ tbsp of oil on medium heat. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and fry for about 10-15 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, and broccoli and toss to combine. Mix frequently and sauté until all the vegetables are cooked and tender, yet still remain crispy. Note that all the water released from cooking the mushrooms should burn off while sautéing the vegetables. In the meantime, prepare the sauce.

To Prepare the Sauce:

  • Whisk all the ingredients listed under sauce above until all the cornstarch has dissolved. Add more or less chili sauce depending on your preference of spice. Taste the sauce prior to adding it to the dish to make sure you have the right amount of sweetness and saltiness.
  • Once the vegetables are tender and crispy, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the pan-fried tofu to the vegetables. Slowly add the sauce and toss with the vegetables and tofu. After about a minute, add the pineapple chunks and chopped bok choy.
  • Mix slowly on medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken and coat the vegetables and tofu. Be sure not to burn off all the sauce (this should only take 5-10 minutes). Turn off the heat and add the chopped green onions. Toss once more and serve hot with a side of cooked brown rice.

Video

https://youtu.be/TytnXCiKNhw

Notes

Top Tips For Making Sweet and Sour Tofu
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free certified tofu and substitute tamari for the soy sauce. 
  • To ensure this recipe is vegan-friendly, use agave or coconut sugar instead of honey.
  • This recipe will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
  • Feel free to omit the pineapple, or substitute in different veggies based on your tastes and what you have on hand. Just watch the cook time, as firmer veggies will need to cook longer and softer veggies (like zucchini or squash) will cook much faster!
  • Be sure to get out all the extra moisture from the tofu. It will crisp up better when the excess moisture has been removed. 
  • It’s important not to overcook the sauce, tofu, and veggies together. The sauce will reduce and burn off quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Contributed by Vegetarian Gastronomy and modified by The Picky Eater. 

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 902mg | Potassium: 1691mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10.3g

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Asian Recipes ·

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