It’s the perfect copycat flavor: savory & spicy tofu with the right “crust,” melded together with that tangy sweet sauce.
I’ve eaten the real versions of General Tso chicken and even it’s vegetarian cousin plenty of times before, from many different restaurants.
So I know that there are many different ideas of what General Tso’s should taste like. I also know exactly how *I* like it – hot and spicy, with a balanced tangy sweetness.
And that, to my joy, is exactly how this recipe turned out when I tried it for the first time last night.
It was so good, I definitely over-ate and I still wished I had doubled the recipe! This is now definitely one of my all time favorite vegan dinner recipes.
If you’re cooking this for two adults, you can probably copy the recipe as-is, but I would definitely double it if you’re cooking for 3 or more.
It’s also quite spicy, probably too spicy for most kids. If you want to make this recipe kid-friendly, one way you could do it is to omit the red pepper flakes and add them at the end, only to the plates of the people who want the extra heat.
General Tso Tofu Recipe
Here are all the ingredients I used to make this dinner. I served my General Tso’s tofu with rice and steamed broccoli.
If you have cooking wine or white wine, you can use that instead of beer.
In this recipe, MSG is what gives the sauce that mouth-watering flavor that you get from the restaurant. I recommend using it if you have it (you can get it on Amazon or at a grocery store that sells Asian foods), but the recipe will still be good if you decide to leave it out. Some people can get adverse symptoms when they eat something containing a lot of MSG, so if you’re worried about it, just leave it out.
To make this vegan General Tso tofu recip, you’ll need a little over an hour. First you’ll prepare the tofu and sauce and let them marinate (separately) in the fridge.
To start, drain your tofu for about 15 minutes.
Then cut the tofu into bite size pieces.
Dice the garlic finely. You don’t want any big bursts of garlic taste when you eat the final result.
In a large bowl mix together the garlic, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, chili flakes, and beer.
Then add in your tofu chunks and stir them gently. Make sure all surfaces of the tofu are coated in the sauce, spice, and garlic.
Next, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of ginger powder, and again gently stir the tofu to incorporate it.
Cover the bowl and let it rest for one hour in the fridge. I simply put a plate over the bowl, since I hate wasting plastic wrap. If you ever worked in a restaurant, you know how much plastic wrap goes to waste every single day… it’s scary. So I always try to use a plate to cover stuff now.
In the meantime, you can prepare the sauce.
General Tso Tofu Recipe For Sauce
This General Tso sauce itself is not spicy – only sweet and tangy. The spiciness comes from marinating your tofu with a red chili flakes in the first step.
General Tso Sauce Ingredients
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp aji-no-moto (msg)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp corn starch
General Tso Sauce Instructions
Mix all the sauce ingredients together – EXCEPT the cornstarch.
Cover and let rest in fridge until you’re ready to cook the tofu. I usually let my sauce rest in the fridge for about an hour, since it gives the ingredients time to blend and “get to know one another.”
Tofu Cooking Instructions
Here’s the gist of my General Tso Tofu Recipe. You can see the summarized recipe card if you keep scrolling.
We’re going to be baking the tofu a little bit, so heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the tofu from the fridge and sprinkle 2 Tbsp cornstarch over it. Cover and shake to coat evenly (or gently stir).
Spread the marinated tofu cubes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. They look something like this when they come out of the oven:
Then, heat 3 Tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add the tofu from the oven and stir to coat in the hot oil.
Remove the sauce from the fridge and whisk in 1 tsp cornstarch.
Pour sauce over the tofu in the frying pan and stir gently until the sauce is boiling. Turn off the heat and continue stirring another minute or so, to let the sauce cool down and thicken a bit more.
Garnish plated tofu with sesame seeds and serve with steamed broccoli and rice.
My husband and I LOVED this general tso tofu recipe. Just like with the original, General Tsos Chicken, we kept wanting to eat more even though it was quite filling.
The spiciness was perfect for us, although I decided to quickly make some rolled omelets for my daughters to have with their rice and broccoli, since I knew they wouldn’t like how spicy this turned out. Next time, I’ll probably make a separate batch just for them that’s not spicy.
Baking the tofu after marinating it creates the perfect dry crust that the sauce will want to stick to.
Biting into each piece is a satisfying experience of sweet, tangy flavors combined with the heat of the red pepper, and the perfect tofu texture that’s not too soft and not too chewy.
If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments how it turned out or what you did differently. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
A note on servings
I have doubled the ingredients in this recipe since its original posting because I try to keep the servings per recipe equal throughout this site. After making it as originally posted a few times I realized that, for my family of 4, we need it to be doubled!
Another thing I have found with tofu and in particular with this recipe is that you can get “more bang for your buck” by cutting the tofu into smaller squares. In this page’s photos you can see that the tofu is in cubes of about 1 inch x 1 inch. Nowadays I always cut it into half that size: about 1 inch x 1 inch x 1/2 inch. Smaller cubes of tofu helps stretch the recipe, and generally helps increase the flavor of sauce vs tofu, which is perfect for those who aren’t 100% sold on the taste of tofu (yet!).
Vegan General Tso’s Tofu
- 2 13 oz block extra firm tofu $2.40
- 6 tsp minced garlic $0.06
- 4 tsp soy sauce $0.03
- 2 tsp chili flakes $0.01
- 1 tsp ginger powder $0.03
- 4 Tbsp corn starch $0.11
- 6 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.09
For The Sauce
- 4 Tbsp sugar $0.02
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar $0.01
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce $0.09
- 1 tsp aji-no-moto (optional) $0.02
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp corn starch $0.06
- Drain tofu for 30 minutes by setting it in a colander. Set a plate with a heavy can on top for extra weight to help it drain.
- In a large bowl, add the minced garlic, chili flakes, beer, and ginger, and stir to combine.
- Cut drained tofu into bite-sized cubes and gently mix it into the garlic sauce until tofu is completely coated. Cover and let rest in fridge for 1 hour.
- In the meantime, make the sauce. Mix all the sauce ingredients together EXCEPT the cornstarch. Cover and let rest in fridge until you’re ready to cook the tofu.
- Heat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp cornstarch over the tofu and shake to coat evenly (or gently stir). Spread marinated tofu cubes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the tofu from the oven and stir to coat in the hot oil.
- Remove sauce from fridge and whisk in 1 tsp cornstarch. Pour into the frying pan and stir gently until sauce is boiling, then turn off heat.
- Garnish plated tofu with sesame seeds and serve with steamed veggies and rice.
- Aji-No-Moto is MSG, which is a commonly added in asian recipes to add the flavor umami. It’s what makes Chinese takeout so mouth-watering! If you prefer not to use it, just leave it out. The difference is subtle, but I always use it at home in this dish.
- To make a low-sodium version, replace soy sauce with coconut aminos. You can buy it on Amazon here.
- This is not a health foods recipe, it’s a veganized version of Chinese takeout. You are the expert when it comes to making substitutions based on your dietary needs.
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