I’m always looking for more tofu recipes to have for weeknight dinners. I find that it’s easy to replace chicken with tofu in many recipes, and that’s kind of what I did here.
Orange chicken was one of my favorite foods I ate growing up. My mom’s orange chicken recipe was from the newspaper and I don’t think it had soy sauce, but nevertheless – this Chinese-takeout inspired vegan orange chicken made with tofu was a hit with my kids as well.
How To Prepare The Tofu
For this dish, I recommend using firm tofu. Extra firm tofu will work as well. The tofu should be pressed well before slicing, to drain out the excess water.
When I buy firm or extra firm tofu, I always put it straight in the freezer. When I’m ready to cook it, I place the frozen tofu package in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, then cut open the package and microwave the frozen tofu block for about 4 minutes (2 minutes per side).
This process makes the tofu really easy to drain by pressing it between two plates. Just be careful, frozen tofu that’s been microwaved can be part frozen, but the water that comes off will be hot.
Want another great takeout-style tofu dinner? Try this amazing General Tso’s Tofu copycat recipe!
Cutting The Tofu For Stir Fry
One thing I like to do when I make this kind of tofu stir fry type dish is to cut the tofu into squares, not cubes. They’re kind of like cubes cut in half. The reason I do this is because it doubles the amount of pieces you get in the end result. Even though the total volume of tofu stays the same, it really does help stretch the tofu so there’s enough “bites” for everyone. It’s a weird little trick, but trust me, it works!
Orange Chicken Sauce Tips
To make this sauce, you’ll need about 1/2 a cup of orange juice and some orange zest (which if you don’t know, is just little pieces of grated orange peel). It takes about 2 navel oranges to get enough juice.
If you don’t have fresh oranges, you can still make this recipe using store-bought orange juice and omit the orange zest. It’ll still be delicious! I like to use fresh oranges because they tend to be slightly less sweet than orange juice, and the zest adds more orange aroma to the stir fry.
How To Make Orange Zest
Zest your oranges BEFORE you slice them. It’s much easier to hold a whole orange and grate the peel, than it is to hold a sliced orange. I used about 1 orange’s-worth of zest in this recipe. You can increase the amount of orange zest for a more intense orange flavor.
Orange Sauce Spiciness
In my orange sauce recipe, I add some red pepper flakes for a medium-spicy sauce. If you don’t like spicy food, you can omit the red pepper flakes. If you want more spiciness in your orange sauce, feel free to add more pepper flakes or even some cayenne pepper or chili paste when making the sauce.
Orange Tofu Garnishes
To top off my orange tofu, I sprinkled on some sesame seeds and some chopped green onions. You can omit either of those ingredients if you have an allergy or don’t have them on hand.
Another option for garnishing this dish would be to add some more orange zest or whole slices of oranges.
Vegan Orange Chicken (Orange Tofu)
- 16 oz firm tofu drained & cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup orange zest
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 Tbsp garlic diced finely
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup green onions chopped
- sesame seeds
- Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons of oil over the tofu and stir or shake to coat well. Spread tofu in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, then flip and broil another 5 minutes.
- While the tofu is broiling, add 2 Tbsp of the oil to a skillet and sauté onions over medium heat until the onion is shiny. Add the red bell pepper and cook 2 more minutes.
- In a bowl, mix all the orange sauce ingredients plus one tablespoon of cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Add broiled tofu to the skillet, and add the sauce. Let sauce come to a boil, then add the broccoli, cover the skillet, and turn down the heat to low. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the tofu with chopped green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice!