This vegan General Tso recipe is made with tofu and creates a deliciously flavorful and easy vegan dinner. Served with rice and broccoli, this is a balanced and nutritious meal!
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Is General Tso Sauce Vegan?
There are vegan General Tso sauce recipes out there but many of the recipes you’ll see online aren’t vegan friendly. This is often because they contain chicken broth, and sometimes, honey and/ or a type of fish or oyster sauce.
How to Make Vegan General Tso Sauce
Replacing these ingredients to create a vegan General Tso sauce is quite simple.
You could replace chicken broth with vegetable broth. For this recipe, it’s saucy and flavorful enough with just a bit of added water so I didn’t bother using vegetable broth although you certainly can!
If a recipe calls for honey, use a vegan sugar alternative. General Tso sauce is known for being sweet with a bit of spice and tang, so don’t skimp out on the sugar otherwise the sauce won’t have the takeout flavor you’re probably looking for!
Using Tofu to Make Vegan General Tso “Chicken”
General Tso sauce is usually used to create a chicken dish. As a vegan, I often use tofu as a chicken replacement and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in this General Tso tofu recipe!
Sometimes it’s helpful to marinate tofu before using it in a recipe, but this sauce is packed with so much flavor, this isn’t necessary. Since you don’t have to marinate the tofu, this is a quick and simple tofu recipe for any day of the week.
If you’re skeptical about tofu, using it in a saucy recipe full of flavour, like General Tso tofu, can be a great place to start using this versatile and healthy ingredient!
My husband was extremely against eating tofu for a long time. It was actually this recipe that got him eating cubed tofu for the first time. The sauce is what won him over!
How to Make Tofu Crispy
Most people start a crispy tofu recipe by pressing the tofu. I’ll admit that I’ve never tried pressing tofu. I like it the way it is and don’t care to spend time on that extra step.
If you often press your tofu, you’ll probably want to start with that step for this recipe.
Otherwise, cube the tofu and coat it in starch. You can use any starch you like but cornstarch is simple, cheap and easy to find so it’s what I often use.
After that, pan fry the starch-covered tofu in some oil for the ultimate crispy tofu. The starch creates a thin coating so it’s like you’re eating a lightly breaded piece of tofu. This creates a texture very similar to what you’d expect in a General Tso chicken recipe (as the chicken is often coated with starch then fried).
If you’d like to save some time, you can slice the tofu instead of cutting it into cubes. Coat it with starch then pan fry either side. One each side is browned, cut it into cubes.
Using this method means you only have to focus on browning up two sides of the tofu, rather than the six sides of a cube. It’s much faster and easier.
Can you Get Crispy Tofu without Starch?
If you want to skip out on the starch, this recipe still works and tastes delicious. You can simply brown the tofu cubes (or slices as per my tip above) then proceed with the recipe.
Please note that the starch plays two roles in this recipe. It helps create delicious and crispy tofu and it helps the sauce thicken as it cooks.
If you don’t coat the tofu with starch, add 1 tbsp of starch to the General Tso sauce so you end up with a nicely thickened sauce for your tofu!
I hope you enjoy this recipe for vegan General Tso tofu and if you share your creations on Instagram, be sure to tag me @lettucevegout because I love seeing what you create!
Vegan General Tso's Tofu
- Cutting Board
- Large pan
- 1 350 g package extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp starch
- 2 tbsp oil (for pan frying tofu)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh ginger , finely minced or grated
- ¼ C green onion , finely chopped
- Cooked rice and steamed broccoli to serve
- Begin by preparing rice and broccoli to serve with your tofu.
- Finely chop 1/4 C green onion and mince or grate 1 1/2 tbsp ginger.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients: 3 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 tbsp ketchup, 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 C coconut sugar, 1/4 C water, chili flakes to taste. I like to shake my sauce together in a jar.
- Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Place cubes into a container with the starch and gently shake to coat.
- Heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil in a pan on medium high heat and brown all sides of the tofu. You may have to work in batches (if you do 2 batches, use 1 tbsp oil per batch). Try to keep the pieces apart from each other because they tend to stick together.
- Once the tofu is browned, take it out of the pan and turn down the heat to low. Add in 2 tsp sesame oil, green onion and ginger. Cook for 2-3 min.
- Add in the sauce and bring it up to a simmer.
- Add in the tofu and coat it with the sauce. Let the tofu simmer in the sauce for 10-15 min.
- Serve with rice and broccoli.
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This is an updated post: Original post date November 2016.