Orange Tofu

5 from 26 votes
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Orange Tofu is the vegan version of the signature Panda Express dish, Orange Chicken. Featuring crispy tofu tossed in sticky-sweet orange chili sauce with veggies and rice. Enjoy this 30 minute Orange Tofu recipe for make-ahead lunches or easy weeknight dinners. Orange tofu over rice with vegetables in a silver bowl

Why You’ll Love this Orange Tofu Recipe

Orange Chicken is an Americanized Chinese dish consisting of battered and fried chicken tossed in a sticky-sweet orange chili sauce. The original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe was created for the popular fast-casual chain, Panda Express

This recipe keeps the spirit of the dish with its sticky-sweet sauce, but delivers it in a more wholesome way. The sauce is made of fresh orange juice and zest with minimal added sugar to keep it fresh and light. Trust me, you won’t regret ditching the delivery and making this homemade version instead.

And while you certainly can use chicken in this recipe, I love it with crispy cubes of tofu. The key, however, is to toss them in cornstarch so they get extra-crispy in the pan vs. the frier. 

And in the unlikely event of leftovers, this orange tofu holds up deliciously the next day. 

Recipe Ingredients and SubstitutionsVegan orange chicken ingredients in separate bowls with blue labels

  • Tofu: It’s important to use extra-firm (or “super-firm”) tofu for this recipe. The firmer the tofu, the less moisture you need to press out of it. (Less moisture = “meatier”, crispier cubes.) I purchase the super-firm, vacuum-sealed packs of tofu from either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
  • Orange Zest + Juice: The key to fresh, bright orange flavor, is using the zest of juice of a whole orange. You need 1/2 cup of orange juice, which amounts to roughly 2 large, juicy oranges. 
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce brings a savory, salty complement to the sweetness of the orange juice and sugar. I suggest using a lower sodium version, if possible. This way, you have better control over the saltiness of the sauce. 
  • Rice Vinegar: For quintessential sweet-and-sour flavor profile, a little rice vinegar adds assertiveness to the sauce. 
  • Aromatics: A classic combo of garlic and ginger creates the aromatic backbone of the sauce. The recipe calls for ground ginger for convenience, however feel free to use fresh!
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch does double duty here by creating a crispy outer layer on the tofu, as well as a slurry to help thicken the sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Classic orange chicken sauce typically calls for white sugar, however brown sugar adds more depth of flavor. 
  • Veggies: I love a mix of red bell pepper, red onion, and broccoli in this dish. You can also use snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, and/or any other bell pepper color. 

Orange tofu topped with sesame seeds and green onion in a gray bowl

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Orange Sauce

In a large glass measuring cup or medium-sized bowl, combine fresh orange juice and zest, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, ginger, and chili flakes. Stir ingredients with a whisk until smooth; set aside. Soy sauce, vinegar, and orange juice being whisked in a glass measuring cup

Step 2: Cook the Tofu

Place tofu in a large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss well to make sure all cubes are thoroughly coated.

Next, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and cook until crisp and golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer tofu to a plate. Tofu being tossed in cornstarch and cooked in a skillet

Step 3: Sauté the Vegetables

Heat another glug of oil in the same skillet, and add vegetables. Cook vegetables for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until soft. Next, add garlic; cook 1 more minute, until aromatic. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Broccoli, bell pepper, and red onion being sautéed in a skillet

Step 4: Toss Tofu with Orange Sauce

Pour orange sauce in skillet and bring to a boil (sauce will thicken quickly). Add tofu and toss to thoroughly coat in sauce. Remove skillet from heat.

Tofu cubes being coated in orange sauce in a skillet

Step 5: Serve over Rice

Add a serving of rice to each of four bowls, and top with sautéed veggies and orange tofu. Garnish each bowl with sesame seeds and green onion, and serve immediately. 

What to Serve with Orange Tofu:

  • Rice. I love serving this tofu over a bed of fluffy white rice. I prefer a long-grain white rice, such as Jasmine or Basmati, however you can also use brown rice for extra fiber. If you’re looking for a lower carb alternative, cauliflower rice would also be delicious here. 
  • Vegetables. You can switch up the veggies in this recipe based on your preferences and what’s in season. For example, any color of bell pepper works, as does mushrooms, snap peas, or thinly sliced carrot coins. 
  • Salad: To complement the flavors of this dish, try my speedy Sesame-Cucumber Salad or 20 Minute Chopped Asian Salad

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips: 

  • To Make Ahead. Cut the tofu into cubes, and chop all vegetables up to 1 day in advance. Store each in a separate container in the refrigerator. You can also cook the rice up to 2 days ahead. 
  • To Store. Place leftover orange tofu in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. To help the tofu re-crisp, rewarm this recipe in a skillet over medium heat. You can also crisp up the tofu in a toaster oven.

A fork taking a bite out of orange tofu bowls

More Tofu Recipes to Try:

Sesame Tofu Ramen

20 Minute Balsamic Tofu

Black Pepper Tofu reader favorite!

If you give this vegan orange chicken a try, I’d love for you to leave a rating and review. Also, be sure snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations.

5 from 26 votes

Orange Tofu

Orange Tofu is the vegan version of the signature Panda Express dish, Orange Chicken. Featuring crispy tofu tossed in sticky-sweet orange chili sauce with veggies and rice. Enjoy this 30 minute meal for make-ahead lunches or easy weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Large Nonstick Skillet
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

  • 1 (14-oz.) pkg. extra-firm (or super-firm) tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 to 3 oranges)
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Thinly sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • White rice for serving
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Instructions 

  • *Note: You will use the same skillet for every step of the recipe. Make sure all ingredients are prepped at the start because it comes together quickly.
    Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and press on all sides to remove as much moisture as possible. Alternatively, you can set something heavy on top (such as a cast iron skillet), and let it press for about 15 to 20 minutes, or even longer for firmer tofu. Slice tofu into cubes, and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup cornstarch and toss to coat.
    Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add tofu and cook until golden-brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt, and transfer to a clean plate. Return skillet back to burner over medium-high.
    While tofu cooks, prepare orange sauce by combining orange juice and zest, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, remaining 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, ginger, and chili flakes in a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir with a whisk until smooth; set aside. 
  • Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in the same skillet you cooked tofu in. Once hot, add broccoli, red bell pepper, and red onion; cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 more minute, until aromatic. Season vegetables with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and transfer to a bowl.
    Pour orange sauce in skillet and bring to a boil (the sauce will thicken quickly). Add tofu and toss to thoroughly coat in sauce. Remove skillet from heat. 
  • Add a serving of rice to each of four bowls, and top with sautéed veggies and orange tofu. Garnish each bowl with sesame seeds and green onion, and serve immediately. 

Video

Notes

*Nutrition Facts do NOT include rice. 
To Make Ahead. Cut the tofu into cubes, and chop all vegetables up to 1 day in advance. Store each in a separate container in the refrigerator. You can also cook the rice up to 2 days ahead. 
To Store. Place leftover orange tofu in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To Reheat. To help the tofu re-crisp, rewarm in a skillet over medium heat. You can also crisp up the tofu in a toaster oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 900mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9.5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

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Recipe Rating




34 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    This was SO flavorful and (not surprisingly!) turned out much better than any other recipe I’ve tried – especially those that include egg and/or flour as part of the batter! We aren’t tofu eaters, so I did shrimp for myself and chicken for my husband. He could not stop raving!

  2. Emily says:

    This was great! I didn’t have oranges so successfully subbed store-bought oj and lemon zest. I subbed matchstick-ed carrots in lieu of half the broccoli and it was a winner!

  3. MrsBryant says:

    5 stars
    Amazing. I am recommending this recipe to anyone who’ll listen.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Woohoo! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one – thank you for spreading the love!!

  4. Lily Holmes says:

    5 stars
    First of all, our weekly menus usually include multiple DOH recipes bc they align rather well w our diet & adventurous palates. Jamie’s recipe put our go-to orange tofu & broccoli recipe to shame. It’s a perfectly balanced sauce & doesn’t have so much sugar as do recipes that call for orange marmalade. We did sub the green onion whites for the red onion & only had bunches of broccoli so no red pepper either. Also, added 1.5 tsp fish sauce to the mix bc what else would I use it for? Thanks, Ms. Vespa, for another weeknight hit!

  5. Kimberly Wanes says:

    5 stars
    This sauce is SO much fresher than any orange sauce I’ve tried. Love this dish!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Kimberly–I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!

    2. Kyle says:

      5 stars
      Had this tonight for dinner with chicken instead of tofu. Wow!

  6. Jacklyn Iversen says:

    Hi Jamie!
    This recipe was out of control good!! The sauce is so wonderful and balanced and it comes together so quickly. To save time, i air fried the tofu while I sautéed the veggies on the stovetop and it worked out so well. I loved how flavorful, filling and quick this recipe is—thank you so much! Your recipes are the absolute best and I love how vegetable forward they are 🙂

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Jacklyn– I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a hit! Great call on airfrying the tofu, too. Thank you for the kind words, and for taking the time to leave a review!

  7. Carley says:

    5 stars
    Another wonderful dish Jamie! Love this technique on the tofu and the sauce is perfect. My husband said to triple the recipe next time. Nailed it!!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Yay! Thank you so much, Carley! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit for you and your husband.

  8. Liz says:

    5 stars
    This was surprisingly easy, and SO delicious. I was very impressed. This is definitely going into my little book of go-to’s.

  9. Cindy Mae says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! The sauce tastes so much fresher than the bottled stuff! Thanks for the great recipe—will surely make again!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      5 stars
      So glad you enjoyed it!!

  10. Karen says:

    5 stars
    This dish was AMAZING!! I’m determined to get through all of your tofu recipes 😉 So far my favorite. We’ve shared it with our vegetarian friends and they loved it too. It’s going into their rotation as well. Thank you!!