Stir-Fried Cabbage, Tofu and Red Pepper Recipe (2024)

By Martha Rose Shulman

Stir-Fried Cabbage, Tofu and Red Pepper Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 15 minutes
Read community notes

Start cooking the rice or quinoa that you will serve this with, prep your vegetables and make the stir-fry. The prep is the most time-consuming but there aren’t too many ingredients. You can be sitting down about 35 minutes after you begin.

Featured in: Quick One-Dish Meals, Some Cooking Required

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Yield:Serves 4

  • 12ounces firm tofu
  • ½cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½teaspoon sugar
  • 1tablespoon rice wine vinegar or dry sherry
  • 2teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2tablespoons peanut oil, rice bran oil or grape seed oil
  • 1tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½medium cabbage, chopped (about ½ pound, 5 cups chopped)
  • 1red pepper, cut in 2-inch long julienne
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼cup broken walnuts
  • Cooked rice or quinoa for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

354 calories; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 11 grams polyunsaturated fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 18 grams protein; 539 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Stir-Fried Cabbage, Tofu and Red Pepper Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Cut the tofu into dominoes and drain between paper towels. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the stock, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sugar, rice wine or sherry, and the sesame oil. Remove 1 tablespoon to a small bowl and stir in the cornstarch. Stir until it has dissolved. Have all the ingredients within arm’s length of your pan.

  2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch steel skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil by adding it to the sides of the pan and swirling the pan, then add the tofu and stir-fry until golden, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or to taste), toss together for a few seconds, and transfer to a plate.

  3. Step


    Swirl in the remaining oil, add the garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until it begins to soften, and add the cabbage and walnuts. Stir-fry for 1 minute, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir-fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Return the tofu to the wok, stir in the walnuts and the stock/soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for another minute, until it has just about evaporated. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir-fry until the ingredients are lightly glazed. Remove from the heat and serve with quinoa or rice.


  • If you want to reduce the fat, omit the sesame oil.
  • Advance preparation: This is last minute, though your ingredients can be prepped hours ahead of time and the cooked rice or quinoa you will be serving this with will keep for three days in the refrigerator and freeze well.



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Cooking Notes


Excellent balance of flavors + visual appeal. After preparing it a couple of times I have found a few minor changes improve taste and texture. 1. Lightly coat the tofu in flour before frying. 2. Decrease stock to avoid too much steam/keep veggies crisp. 3. Grate (rather than mince) ginger so that it will be more evenly distributed throughout the dish. 4. A few red chili flakes and some cayenne add zing.


Serves 4? Maybe 4 very tiny people. I just ate this whole thing for dinner.


You might try baking your tofu. Preheat oven to 4251 pkg firm tofu. Patted dry. Cut however you want, 1” squares to little loafs work great. Make a slurry ⬇️1 tbs canola oil1 tbs corn starch1 tbs soy sauceDip tofu and place on PARCHMENT PAPER and bake for 20 mins till desired crispness.


Good recipe. After I made it my wife added some sriracha and peanuts, which made it even better.


I switched tofu for chicken breasts, cubed, and it still tasted good with some tips from other notes. Every of us has our own preferences so every meal is unique.


Add a little more ginger. Or perhaps add one of the hot peppers from the yard. Jalapeño or Serrano, saute c the garlic to mellow the peppers.


I doubled the peanut oil and fried the tofu for much longer then 3 minutes, until it was truly golden brown. By then all the oil was gone. End result was delicious! Even my 14 year old son loved it!

Karen M

Once everything is chopped up, the cooking goes super fast so do have everything within reach, as noted in the recipe. I think the sesame oil is an important flavor note for the dish. It's lovely over quinoa.

Marian V.

This is very good. I marinated the tofu in the spicy marinade from the recipe on this site and used it in the recipe instead of the sauce listed.


Pressed tofu for 15 minutes first, used purple cabbage and tri-color frozen peppers. Added sriacha to the sauce for a little kick and think that helped. Omitted walnuts because I didn't have any. Served with peanuts and cilantro over rice. Easy and quick, but not life changing. I'll make again.


Ok. Next time, use half the stock and add some heat (chili peppers?) Substitute peanuts for walnuts: more flavor, and add them just before serving. I served it with snow peas: maybe just add the snow peas to the dish for color? Finally dredge the tofu in cornstarch so it will brown without sticking to the pan


This is one of my three ingredient go to dishes. I use live oil in a large fry pan or wok, heat add shredded cabbage, grated potatoes, and flaked fish, such as cod. Lots of pepper and salt. Serve at once.


Loved this. Made it last night. I took someone's advice to press the tofu for 15 minutes and then dredge the tofu pieces in cornmeal and they cooked beautifully though took quite a bit longer, but worth it. I also used purple cabbage and yellow pepper.


This was good but, as noted below, a bit dull. Agree that it needs a bit of hot pepper flakes. I found that it served 3 generously.


Add chili oil to tofu marinade, jalapenos to the stir fry, grate the ginger. Press and flour the tofu before frying, add chopped cilantro.

PegR in IL.

Surprisingly not as hot or spicy as I was looking for and I was generous with garlic, ginger, etc. prep instructions a little confusing on order of oils versus sauce versus “paste” but got there in the end. Tasty enough but tofu and cabbage had tendency to mute the sauce, oil combos.


I skipped the cornstarch part, and used water instead of stock. I also used white wine vinegar instead of the rice vinegar. Still delicious. I might add a bit more walnuts next time- their crunch was a perfect complement to the veggies.


I leave out the walnuts. I also skip the step of separating 1 Tbsp of the broth to mix in the corn starch, I just mix the starch right in to the bowl.


Pretty good recipe, but 15 minutes is a huge underestimation of how long it will take if you include prep time.


It seemed surprisingly bland. I might double the ginger and garlic. Someone else mentioned adding peanuts. That sounds worth a try.

LA mom

This is just OK. Easy to make but nothing special.


Riffed on this one but it came out great - roasted veggies with sesame oil in the oven, made baked tofu by tossing it with oil, tamari, and cornstarch, added one minced clove of garlic to the veggies for the last 5 min. Meanwhile made a version of the sauce with sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar, more garlic, and ginger, and tossed everything with that. Made two large servings (using 8 oz tofu), perfect!


This was a great weeknight dinner. I did take the shortcut of using a bag of coleslaw mix, and it really helped with the prep


the oven method for tofu is excellent1 T corn starch 1T soy sauce1 T sesame oilmake slurry and dip tofu put on parchment400 C 20 min


Boring. Move on


Oops - thought that earlier note was going to be private! I'll rephrase that more politely - This recipe is easy and quick, but lacks depth. There are better alternatives with these ingredients.


Fast, nourishing, and good. Added sugar snap peas--good. Definitely a weeknight keeper.


Nice, fast, unexceptional. Added sugar snap peas.


Might need a little fish sauce to increase the flavor.


I toss the drained, dried, cubed or sliced tofu in a paper bag with cornstarch and powdered ginger and garlic, then shake off the excess and fry or bake the tofu. Gives it a nice crunch and flavor. For EXTRA crunch, dip in beaten egg first; that gives the tofu a battered, crispy exterior. (I do the same thing with different (Italian) seasonings for “tofu cacciatore,” keeping the garlic but omitting the ginger, of course.)

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Stir-Fried Cabbage, Tofu and Red Pepper Recipe (2024)


What not to mix with tofu? ›

What to not serve with tofu? According to studies, a high volume consumption of tofu and spinach together can increase your risk of kidney stones. Tofu and spinach contain calcium and oxalic acid respectively and the combined can form kidney stones.

What type of tofu is best for stir-fry? ›

For tofu stir-fries, buy extra-firm tofu (or if you can't find that, buy firm tofu). Grace Young, wok guru and author of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, says that for the best texture, “You want to remove as much liquid as possible before you stir-fry, so start with extra-firm.

How do you stir fry tofu without it falling apart? ›

Use tender tofu and be gentle.

You add the tofu to the pan and gently shake or stir it. You don't vigorously move it around the wok with a spatula, lest it fall apart. There's a fair amount of liquid and seasoning too so the tofu takes on the other ingredients. This is delicate stir-frying with some simmering involved.

How to dry tofu for stir-fry? ›

The Best Way to Dry Tofu, Tested

Much easier is to slice the tofu, then lay the slices out flat on a cutting board or baking sheet lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, then pressing more towels on top. More surface area = faster water removal = dinner on the table that much faster.

Why can't you eat spinach and tofu together? ›

As tofu and spinach contain calcium and oxalic acid respectively, the combination of the two will form kidney stones. But in fact, only prolonged and volumionous consumption of tofu and spinach at the same time will pose this risk.

What is the downside of eating too much tofu? ›

The significant disadvantages of Tofu may cause allergies in some people. The symptoms of soy allergies include skin rash, inflammation, itching, fainting, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain and throat swelling. In rare scenarios, Tofu may cause osteoporosis and estrogen-related cancer.

What vegetables go well with tofu? ›

Crispy tofu and fresh vegetables like broccoli and spinach, sautéed in a quick and easy garlic sesame sauce.

Should you press tofu before frying? ›

Most tofu, even firm doesn't need to be pressed before you cook it. Try the recipes without pressing it and see what you think. All it does is change the texture of the tofu. You can also cook the tofu before you put it in a dish to get rid of some of the moisture, but then it doesn't absorb the flavors as much.

How do you make tofu taste better? ›

Marinate it: Tofu can be marinated in a variety of flavorful sauces or spices. You can use soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and other seasonings to make a simple marinade. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to a few hours) before cooking or grilling.

What happens if you don't drain tofu before cooking? ›

This excess water can cause the tofu to crumble when you cook it, and it will also have a hard time crisping up. But when you press tofu, you remove the excess moisture. It takes on a chewier, firmer texture, which makes it super satisfying to eat and less likely to fall apart.

How to coat tofu in cornstarch? ›

Coat with cornstarch.

This is most easily done with a small strainer, but can also be done by sprinkling with your hands. After adding all the cornstarch, the tofu should be evenly coated with a sticky, gummy layer of cornstarch.

Should I marinate tofu before I fry it? ›

For the tastiest results, marinade the tofu overnight. Roll slices or cubes of marinated tofu in some rice flour, potato starch, corn flour or grated coconut before pan-frying for an extra-crispy crust. Be sure to use a non-stick pan with a generous amount of oil. Deep-frying is also an option.

Can you coat tofu in flour instead of cornstarch? ›

Substitutions: If you prefer not to cook with cornstarch, you can substitute in an equal volume of all-purpose flour or potato starch. Tofu: This recipe can also be made with medium-firm tofu, but you'll need to be a bit more gentle while pressing and coating it.

Why do people soak tofu in brine before frying? ›

Why does the brine work? Both the heat and the salinity of the water draw moisture out of the surface of the tofu, helping it crisp and brown.

Is tofu a high inflammatory food? ›

Tofu and tempeh.

Studies suggest people who eat soy-based foods have lower odds of inflammation-related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Nuts and legumes, Tree nuts like almonds and walnuts, along with peanuts, are rich in unsaturated fats, along with anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.

Can we eat tofu and egg together? ›

Yes, you can eat eggs and soya chunks together. Both eggs and soya chunks are good sources of protein, and consuming them together can help meet your daily protein requirements. You can add boiled or scrambled eggs to your soya chunk curry or stir-fry for a balanced meal.

Is it OK to eat eggs with tofu? ›

By stretching an egg with a little tofu, you reduce the cholesterol and saturated fat. Try tucking it into a whole-wheat pita pocket for a simple and satisfying breakfast sandwich-and a healthful alternative to fast-food fare.

Does tofu affect your stomach? ›

Soy has actually been found to increase the good bacteria in the gut, leading to overall better gut health when consumed. This might help explain why soy foods have been associated with healthier outcomes as we are learning more and more about how connected a healthy gut is to an overall healthy body.

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