Try this vegan cashew tofu stir fry with broccoli and peppers in a sweet and sticky stir fry sauce for an easy weeknight dinner.

Hands using a fork for cashew tofu stir fry over rice and topped with green onions served on plate.

Introduction

This vegan cashew tofu recipe is inspired by Thai classic cashew chicken. It features crispy tofu, toasted cashews, red pepper and broccoli for a delicious combination of flavours and texture.

The sweet and sticky sauce is the perfect coating for the veggies and tofu, and is made with just a handful of common ingredients.

Try this stir fry served over freshly cooked basmati rice, brown rice or your favourite noodles for a delicious meal that’s perfect any night of the week.

For more Thai-inspired recipes, you’ll have to try this Thai Basil Eggplant or Vegan Tofu Pad Thai next.

In the mood for more stir fries? This Ramen Noodle Stir Fry and Tempeh Stir Fry are both delicious and easy to make as well.

Ingredient Notes

All the ingredients needed for making a cashew tofu stir fry recipe.
  • Tofu: Extra firm tofu works best in this recipe. If you have time, press it before use using this guide for how to press tofu.
  • Cornstarch: Use can use either corn starch (corn flour) or arrowroot powder for the crispy tofu and the sauce.
  • Cashews: Use plain, raw cashews without added oil or salt, or you can use roasted cashews and skip the toasting if you prefer.
  • Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce or for a gluten-free recipe, use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Sweetener: Maple syrup or agave syrup work.
  • Sesame Oil: You can use toasted or regular sesame oil in the sauce.
  • Cooking Oil: Any cooking oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil or olive oil is suitable.

For vegetables, the recipe calls for bell peppers, broccoli, onion and carrot. I would use the onion and bell pepper for sure, but if you’re missing broccoli or carrot or don’t have enough, it’s no big deal.

Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements.

Variations & Additions

  • Veggies: Other vegetables that could be swapped in are snap or snow peas, green beans, any other colour of bell pepper, zucchini or mushroom.
  • Bake the Tofu: Instead of pan frying the tofu, after tossing with cornstarch, salt and pepper, place the cubes spaced out on a sheet pan and bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes until browned and crispy or follow this recipe for Crispy Baked Tofu.
  • Spiciness: This recipe is not spicy. To add heat, you can stir fry 1-3 whole or thinly sliced Thai chilies with the seeds removed with the other veggies or add up to 1 tbsp sambal oelek or 1 tsp red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Quick Note: If you’d like to serve your stir fry over rice, start cooking it now according to package instructions. I would also suggest pressing the tofu for best results. You’ll need an extra 20 minutes for this step or it can be done in advance using a tofu press or by wrapping the block of tofu in a kitchen towel and placing a on top of it heavy object.

Raw cashews toasting in a skillet.

Step 1: Add the cashews to a large skillet or cast iron pan and toast over medium-low heat, shaking the pan often, until they’re starting to turn golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.

Keep a close eye on them because they can easily burn. Once done, remove them from the pan.

Jar of stir fry sauce with garlic with a spoon resting in the jar.

Step 2: While the cashews are toasting, whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a container or shake in a mason jar until fully combined.

Set the cashews and sauce aside for now.

Strips of tofu on a cutting board. Two hands breaking the strips into small cubes.

Step 3: Slice the block of tofu into two thinner rectangles and then into strips. Use your hands to break each strip into 3/4-inch cubes.

Place the cubes in a large bowl and toss with the cornstarch, salt and pepper.

Browned cubes of tofu frying in a skillet.

Step 4: Heat 2 tsp of oil over medium high heat then add the tofu in a single layer and cook for 7-9 minutes, flipping occasionally until they’re brown and crisp on all sides.

Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Stir fried chopped vegetables cooking in a skillet.

Step 5: Heat another 1-2 tsp cooking oil then add the carrots, onions, peppers and broccoli. Stir fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring often until tender but still bright and crisp.

A cashew tofu broccoli stir fry in a large skillet on a marble surface.

Step 6: Add the tofu, cashews and stir-fry sauce to the pan, stir well to combine and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

You can enjoy the stir fry on its own but it’s best over basmati rice, jasmine rice or brown rice. Rice noodles work well too or for a low-carb option, cauliflower rice.

Try it served topped with thinly sliced spring onions, sesame seeds or crunchy cashews. If you like some heat you can add a spinkle it with some chili flakes or add a drizzle of Sriracha sauce.

Cashew tofu stir fry with broccoli and peppers served over rice on a plate. Another plate of stir fry is in the background.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this in advance?

To save time, you can use roasted cashews in this recipe instead of toasting them. You can also chop and store the veggies up to 3 days in advance and bake or fry the tofu up to 4 days in advance.

The entire stir fry can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Let it cool until no longer steaming before sealing in a container.

Can I freeze cashew tofu stir fry?

Technically, yes you can safely freeze t his recipe but it’s not recommended due to the texture change after freezing and thawing.

Close up of a tofu stir fry with vegetables and cashews over rice in a bowl.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
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A cashew tofu vegetable stir fry in a large skillet on a marble surface.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Vegan Cashew Tofu Stir Fry

A delicious cashew tofu stir-fry with sweet and sticky stir fry sauce perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.
Prep Time8 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 4
Calories: 434kcal
Author: Deryn Macey

Ingredients

For the Cashew Tofu Stir Fry

  • 1 block 454g/16 oz tofu drained*
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch 9 g
  • 1 cup cashews unsalted (145 g)
  • 1 large carrot peeled and sliced on the diagonal into 1/8 inch slices (132 g/1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (150 g/ 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces (190 g/ 1 ¾ cup)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets 160 g
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced, optional for serving
  • chili flakes optional for serving

For the Sauce:

  • 6 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari 90 mL
  • 4 tbsp maple or agave syrup 60 g
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar 30 g
  • 2 tsp sesame oil 5 g
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch 14 g
  • 1/3 cup cold water 78 mL
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic grated or crushed (16 g)

Instructions

  • Toast Cashews: In a large non-stick pan, over medium heat, toast cashews for 4-6 min, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Prepare Sauce: Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  • Prep Tofu: Slice the block of tofu in half, lengthwise and then into three long strips. Use your hands to break each strip into 1-inch sized pieces, or cut into cubes. Breaking the tofu by hand results in a crispier exterior. Transfer tofu to a medium bowl.  Sprinkle cornstarch over top and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.
  • Fry Tofu: In the same pan, heat 2 tsp cooking oil of choice over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. Cook for 5-7 min, flipping pieces occasionally, until tofu is golden-brown and crisp on all sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan.. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Stir Fry Vegetables: To the pan, add another 2 tsp oil.  Add the carrots, onions, peppers and broccoli. Cook for 5-7 min, stirring often, until tender-crisp. 
  • Finish Stir Fry: Add tofu, cashews and sauce to the pan with the veggies.  Cook for 1-2 min, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and slightly reduced. 
  • Serve: Serve cashew tofu over white rice,  brown rice, quinoa or noodles. Sprinkle green onions over top and chili flakes, if desired.

Notes

Tip: To drain the tofu, sandwich the block of tofu between a few layers of paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Then place a cutting board on top. Stack a few heavy cans or cast iron pan on top.  You want to weigh the tofu down, which will help the excess water press out into the towels. The drier the tofu, the better the texture. Let the tofu drain for at least 15-30 minutes. For more details, read this post on how to press tofu.
To Save Time: Use roasted unsalted cashews instead of toasting the raw cashews. Chop and store the veggies up to 3 days in advance.
Cooked stir fry can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 370mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g