Healthy Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Tofu

  • Author: Asian Caucasian
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Vegetarian
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Chinese


A healthier version of this classic Chinese dish, Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Tofu is the perfect balance of heat, sweet, and acid!



  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, (divided)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • Steamed brown rice for serving
  • 3 chopped green onions for garnish


  1. Drain the tofu block and tightly wrap with paper towels or a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. Place on a cutting board and cut the tofu into one-inch cubes.
  2. Place the cornstarch into a shallow dish (like a pie pan). Lightly toss the tofu cubes into the cornstarch to coat all sides. Heat a heavy skillet on medium high heat using 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the tofu cubes and brown the tofu on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes, until crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining one tablespoon of canola oil and heat on medium-high. Add the minced garlic, onions, and bell peppers. Sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat.

Make the sauce:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the corn starch with 2 tablespoons water.
  2. Add the sauce mixture to a small saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Add the in the cornstarch mixture and keep stirring until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat.

To serve: Pour the sauce over the veggies and add in the cubed tofu, stirring to thoroughly coat with the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onions, and serve with a side of steamed brown rice if desired.


  • Make sure to get all of the moisture out of the tofu before you cube it. The tofu will fry up much better this way. I wrap the tofu in kitchen towels and put something heavy on top of it. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Use the firmest tofu you can buy. I use sprouted tofu from Trader Joe’s because it holds up so well.
  • I’ve made this vegetarian, but add a meat protein with this sauce and it’s amazing too!

Keywords: sweet and sour tofu, Chinese sweet and sour, tofu