This crispy Orange Tofu recipe (vegan orange chicken) is so saucy, satisfying, and protein-rich! It's made with a sticky orange sauce that's citrusy, savory, and naturally sweetened. Served it over cooked rice, fried rice, or noodles for a healthy dinner! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This deliciously saucy Orange Tofu is a satisfying, protein-rich meal. Crispy tofu cubes are drenched in a glossy sweet & tangy citrus sauce that's thick, sticky, and bright with flavor!
This recipe is inspired by the popular Panda Express restaurant dish. Orange chicken is a Chinese-American fusion recipe, and substituting plant-based tofu is such an easy way to veganize it.
Plus the preparation is super simple. We'll bake the crispy tofu in the oven, heat the orange sauce on the stove, then toss it together. That's it!
Spoon it over cooked rice with a side of steamed veggies for a hearty dinner. (I enjoy steamed broccoli with this dish!)
Ingredients for Orange Tofu
For this recipe you will toss together:
- Crispy baked tofu: We'll make one batch of my oil-free Crispy Baked Tofu. For this, you'll need a 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, tamari, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch. If you have a tofu press, use that to remove the excess moisture before baking. Otherwise, gently squeeze your tofu between paper towels or a kitchen towel. Then for easy oil-free baking, I place parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) on the baking sheet.
- Fresh oranges: You'll need 3/4 cup orange juice for the sauce. On average, I've found this is about 3 medium oranges. I purchase organic oranges, especially because we'll use some of the zest.
- Orange zest: This is key for maximizing the classic orange flavor. We'll include a half teaspoon orange zest. (Be sure to zest your orange before juicing.)
- Tamari: Or you can substitute soy sauce, but I use tamari for gluten-free. Use low sodium if desired. Coconut aminos could also work.
- Rice vinegar: I use unseasoned rice vinegar which doesn't contain added sugar or salt.
- Pure maple syrup: Or simply use your own favorite sweetener.
- Fresh ginger: I use a micro-plane grater to grate my fresh ginger. Feel free to include more or less as desired.
- Dried garlic powder: Or you can substitute 1-2 cloves fresh minced garlic instead for a stronger flavor. Most often I use garlic powder for convenience.
- Cornstarch: We'll create a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. (This is done by mixing equal parts of cornstarch with cold water.)
Tofu shape: I cut my tofu in cube shapes for this recipe, but you can also tear it in bite-sized pieces for more "chicken-like" texture. Or you can slice it in strips, triangles, or however you prefer. I prefer smaller cubes so there's enough surface area for lots of crispy textured coating.
Flavors: If you include oil in your diet, you can whisk in a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to the sauce for more flavor. I find it's not necessary however.
Garnish: Sprinkle your bowl with sesame seeds or sliced green onions if desired. For spicy, add red pepper flakes to taste.
Pairing: Spoon this vegan orange chicken over cooked jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, noodles, fried rice, veggie bowls, stir fry, etc. Then pair it with your favorite steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, bell pepper, carrots, peas, or whatever sounds good.
I find this dish is best enjoyed fresh. However you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Simply reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
Orange Tofu (Vegan Orange Chicken)
- 1 batch Crispy Baked Tofu
For the orange sauce:
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
- 2-3 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- Prepare tofu: Make the crispy baked tofu.
- Make orange sauce: While tofu is baking, place all sauce ingredients (except cornstarch) in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside. Then in a separate small bowl, add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. cold water. Mix well to create a cornstarch slurry. Set this aside as well.
- Heat orange sauce: Start warming the orange sauce when there’s about 5 minutes bake time remaining for the tofu. Add sauce to a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat on the stove. Bring to a light simmer, then add cornstarch slurry (stir again before adding). Stir well and let simmer for about 6-7 minutes, stirring often with a spatula, until sauce thickens.
- Toss together: When sauce has thickened, turn off heat. Add baked tofu cubes and stir well to coat. Add sesame seeds if desired.
- Serve: Spoon orange tofu over cooked rice, quinoa, noodles, or in veggie bowls. There may be some sauce leftover that you can spoon over your rice/noodles if you wish.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this orange tofu recipe (vegan orange chicken), also check out: