This spicy tofu stew is the comfort food you never knew you needed! It's a super satisfying vegetable stew with tofu bits that will up your protein intake and warm you up on the inside.
A vegan tofu stew is just the perfect comfort meal for a cold winter night. With crispy bits of air-fried tofu and a spicy yet very creamy sauce, this hearty vegan stew is very easy to make and sure to become a family favorite.
Inspired by traditional meat stews that are so popular during winter, this is a plant-based recipe where I use crispy tofu cubes instead of meat.
I make the stew spicy and extra warming with a mix of spices. You can easily adjust the level of spiciness to suit your taste.
Why you'll love this spicy tofu stew
- The flavors are complex thanks to the vibrant blend of ingredients.
- It's a healthy, nutritious recipe made with wholesome ingredients.
- The stew is extra filling thanks to the protein and fiber in the tofu.
Ingredients and substitutions
Tofu — You'll need a block of extra firm tofu for this recipe. I press my tofu for at least 30 minutes, even if it's the extra firm kind, to make sure it doesn't fall apart in the stew.
You can bake the tofu in the oven or air fry it until crispy.
Olive oil — You'll need 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the tofu and another one to saute the onion and aromatics.
Onion — Dice the onion finely, so it becomes translucent quickly. Alternatively you can put it in a food processor with the garlic and ginger.
Garlic + ginger — Freshly chopped or grated garlic and ginger are best in this stew, but you can also use a garlic ginger paste if that's what you have on hand.
Fresh green chili — Feel free to adjust the quantity to suit your taste.
Tomato paste — This adds color and extra flavor to the stew.
Coconut milk — Use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest sauce.
Veggies — I made this stew with sweet potatoes and zucchini, but you can add just about any other veggies you may have on hand.
How to make vegan tofu stew
Start by preparing the tofu.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the pressed tofu into 1-inch pieces and toss it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until crispy (flip it halfway through).
Alternatively, prepare the tofu in the air fryer according to the instructions in this recipe for crispy air fryer tofu.
Add the garlic, ginger and green chili pepper and continue to cook for another minute.
Add the sweet potatoes and zucchini, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Stir in the cooked tofu and fresh cilantro, season to taste and serve over your favorite steamed rice.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Reheat the vegan tofu stew in the microwave or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, you may need to add a splash of water, veggie stock or coconut milk.
- You can freeze this stew for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Recipe notes and tips
- Serve this spicy tofu stew with fiber-rich whole-grain rice for an extra healthy and satisfying meal.
- Add some frozen green peas just a couple of minutes before the stew is done cooking for a lovely burst of color and even more nutritious goodness.
- Other veggies that work well in this stew include broccoli, cauliflower florets and eggplant.
If you liked this spicy tofu stew recipe, you might also like some of my other easy vegan recipes with tofu:
- Sticky Lemon Tofu
- Coconut Tofu Curry
- Easy Garlic Tofu Stir Fry
- Vegan Pad Thai with Crispy Tofu
- Pineapple Tofu Curry