Orange (And Purple And Green) Tofu Bowls Recipe

Striving to eat the rainbow, a catchy phrase we've all heard, is a fun and easy way to choose fruits and vegetables that promote good health. Because we eat with our eyes, the vibrant colors stimulate our visual senses, making these nutrient-rich foods more enticing. In this colorful tofu bowl, bright and crisp veggies are paired with orange tofu — like Panda Express' famous orange chicken, but vegan-friendly — that's coated in a crisp cornstarch crust and packed with the bright flavors of freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, and a touch of coconut sugar.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "I make tofu in many ways, and this orange tofu is at the top of the list of favorites. It's the perfect recipe for someone who is still wary of tofu — it wins them over every time." Hit the produce aisle to make this beautiful, hearty, and delicious bowl with the ideal balance of tangy sweetness and gingery warmth.

Gather the ingredients for orange (and purple and green) tofu bowls

This recipe starts with a variety of vegetables, including purple cabbage, avocado, shredded carrot, radishes, and cucumber. "If there are other fresh veggies that you prefer and have on hand, you make any substitutions to customize the bowl," Hahn shares. 

To make the orange tofu, you'll need super firm tofu, oranges, cornstarch, avocado or olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, and ground ginger. Finally, to put the rice bowls together, grab either fresh or frozen shelled edamame, cooked rice, and optional sesame seeds and green onions for topping.

Step 1: Coat the tofu in cornstarch

Add tofu and 2 tablespoons cornstarch to a sealable plastic bag. Close, then shake to coat the tofu.

Step 2: Oil a skillet

Add oil to a skillet and place over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Pan-fry the tofu

Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Step 4: Make the orange sauce

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, and ginger.

Step 5: Heat the sauce

Transfer sauce to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.

Step 6: Make a cornstarch slurry

In a small bowl, make a slurry by combining the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.

Step 7: Thicken the orange sauce

Add slurry to the orange sauce and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

Step 8: Add some of the sauce to the tofu

Add half of the orange sauce to the tofu, tossing to coat.

Step 9: Assemble the bowls

To assemble, divide cooked rice between bowls. Top with orange tofu, edamame, cabbage, avocado, carrots, radishes, and cucumbers.

Step 10: Serve the bowls

Serve bowls with extra orange sauce and topped with sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if desired.

Can I replace super firm tofu with another kind of tofu?

Using super firm tofu saves you time and effort when pan-frying, but other types of tofu will still work in this rice bowl recipe. Firm tofu has a slightly softer texture compared to super firm tofu, but it still holds its shape well when cooked. Extra firm tofu has an even firmer texture and can withstand more handling and cooking without breaking apart. Since both of these alternatives are packed in water, they will require pressing before cooking to remove the excess water, so they end up crispy.

To press tofu, start by removing the tofu from its packaging and draining off any liquid. You can then use a tofu press if you have one, but you can easily remove the water using another method. Begin by placing the tofu in a shallow bowl, then place a flat plate on top of the tofu, then stack something heavy on top of the plate, like a cast iron skillet. Let this sit for at least 15-30 minutes, then drain the water that has collected in the bowl, and the tofu is ready to use.

What are some different ways to serve orange tofu?

Orange tofu is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways beyond the bowl. Another way we love it is in a stir-fry. Simply cook vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, carrots, and broccoli along with the tofu in the orange sauce, then serve the mixture over a bed of cooked rice or noodles. For summer cookout season, you could add the tofu to skewers of grilled peppers,  onions, and pineapple, then serve them over couscous with a side of orange sauce for dipping.

You can also use orange tofu as a filling for lettuce wraps. Spoon the tofu mixture into large lettuce leaves like romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce, then garnish with sliced green onions, shredded carrots, chopped peanuts, and a drizzle of extra orange sauce. Similarly, you can even create delicious vegan tacos by stuffing warmed corn or flour tortillas with orange tofu, shredded cabbage or slaw, sliced avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice. Top them with your favorite taco fixings, like salsa, cilantro, or diced tomatoes.

Orange (And Purple And Green) Tofu Bowls Recipe
5 from 9 ratings
Eat the rainbow with this nutritious and satisfying blend of crispy orange tofu, fluffy rice, and a beautifully colorful blend of fresh and crunchy veggies.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
2
servings
orange tofu rice bowls with colorful vegetables
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-ounce) package super firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 firm avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
Optional Ingredients
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
Directions
  1. Add tofu and 2 tablespoons cornstarch to a sealable plastic bag. Close, then shake to coat the tofu.
  2. Add oil to a skillet and place over medium-high heat.
  3. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, and ginger.
  5. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.
  6. In a small bowl, make a slurry by combining the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.
  7. Add slurry to the orange sauce and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
  8. Add half of the orange sauce to the tofu, tossing to coat.
  9. To assemble, divide cooked rice between bowls.
  10. Top with orange tofu, edamame, cabbage, avocado, carrots, radishes, and cucumbers.
  11. Serve bowls with extra orange sauce and topped with sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if desired.
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