Recipe: Stir-Fried Tofu and Rainbow Peppers

This tofu stir-fry is a fast, easy, plant-based meal with lots of color. No wok required.

Traditionally, stir-fries are prepared in woks, but don’t let that scare you away from trying. A large, high-sided skillet will work just fine. To make a tofu stir-fry successfully, have all of your ingredients measured and close at hand, as there will be no time to go looking for items in the refrigerator or pantry once the wok or skillet gets hot. 

This tofu stir-fry recipe can easily be adjusted to fit your taste or creativity in the kitchen. You can swap chicken or lean beef for the tofu. Vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, bok choy, napa cabbage or mushrooms are all crunchy and nutritious, and make good additions to stir fries, too.

Stir-Fried Tofu and Rainbow Peppers

Stacey Kendrick
Dinner, vegetarian


  • 1/2 pound firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1-inch squares
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths
  • Cooked rice or noodles, optional
  • 1 lime
  • Chopped peanuts or cashews, optional


  1. Blot the tofu dry, wrap in a clean kitchen towel and place a cutting board on top. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, slice the tofu about ½ inch thick into 1 x 2-inch domino-size pieces.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon of the low-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a medium bowl. Toss it with the tofu and stir to make sure all of the pieces are coated. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, make a sauce by stirring together the remaining soy sauce and sugar, hoisin sauce (if you’re using it) and the sesame oil. Set this aside.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates on contact. This is how you will know it is hot enough. Add the remaining canola oil, turn the heat to medium-high and add the peppers. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, until the peppers begin to soften.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, until the garlic and ginger begin to smell fragrant.
  6. Add the tofu, dried red pepper flakes and green onions. Stir-fry two minutes. Give the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil mixture a quick stir, then and add to the pan. Cover and cook for three more minutes.
  7. Remove the lid, stir the ingredients in the pan, and taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Serve with rice or Asian-style noodles. Squeeze one quarter of a lime over each serving. Chopped peanuts or cashews are optional garnishes to sprinkle on top.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: About 1 cup. (Values do not include the optional rice or noodles.) Calories: 200. Fat: 13 g. Saturated fat: 1 g. Fiber: 3g. Sugar: 5 g. Protein: 11 g. Sodium: 496 mg.

Tofu stir-fry prepared in a wok

Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She is a mother to two adult daughters. In her free time, she teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.

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