June 24, 2024


Food Moments

Peanut Tofu – Budget Bytes

5 min read
Overhead view of a skillet full of peanut tofu with limes and cilantro.

$6.74 recipe / $1.69 serving

Written by Beth – Budget Bytes

Um, YUM! I just have to say that this Peanut Tofu is going to become a new staple in my house. It’s pretty easy to throw together, it’s a beautiful mix of colors and textures, and it’s absolutely deeeelicious! It’s definitely one of those meals that will give you that, “I can’t believe I made this myself” moment.

Overhead view of peanut tofu in a skillet on a black tile surface.

Freeze or Press Your Tofu

Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of freezing and then thawing my tofu before using it in a recipe. The freeze-thaw process changes the texture of the tofu, making it less jelly-like and more structured. The best part is that the texture change allows you to simply squeeze the tofu like a sponge to expel the extra liquid in seconds. To freeze the tofu, I just place the whole package (unopened) in the freezer, then the day before cooking I transfer it back to the fridge to thaw.

If you don’t pre-freeze your tofu, you’ll want to press it well before using it in this recipe. Either use a special tofu press or create one in your kitchen using items you already have on hand. I like to place the tofu on a rimmed baking sheet, then top with a cutting board and something heavy like a cast iron pan or a pot full of water. Let the tofu press for at least a half hour to get rid of the excess liquid.

Is This Peanut Tofu Spicy?

Yes, I used a lot of sriracha in the peanut sauce, so this dish has a decently spicy kick! While you can experiment with reducing the sriracha by half, I wouldn’t eliminate it entirely because the sriracha also provides extra acidity and garlic to the flavor profile, and the other ingredients would need to be adjusted to compensate.

How to Serve Peanut Tofu

I served my peanut tofu and vegetables over a bed of rice, but you could also serve them over rice noodles or even some cooked ramen.

Overhead view of a bowl full of peanut tofu and rice with a black fork.

Peanut Tofu

A spicy peanut sauce drenches pan-fried tofu and stir fry vegetables in these simple and delicious peanut tofu bowls.

Author: Beth – Budget Bytes

Servings: 4

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter ($0.58)
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha ($0.22)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 lime (2 Tbsp juice) ($0.50)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth ($0.07)

Tofu Stir Fry

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu* ($1.79)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.06)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.06)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.03)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.08)
  • 16 oz. frozen stir fry vegetables ($2.25)

For Serving (optional)

  • 3 cups cooked rice ($0.62)
  • 1 handful cilantro ($0.20)
  • Make the peanut sauce first so the flavors have time to blend. Whisk together the peanut butter, sriracha, brown sugar, 2 Tbsp lime juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, and vegetable broth.

  • Press the tofu for 30 minutes to expel the excess water or use previously frozen tofu and squeeze the water out with your hands. Cut the tofu block into 24 triangles (12 squares, then cut diagonally into triangles).

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and cornstarch. Add the tofu pieces and gently toss until they are coated in the mixture.

  • Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes total). Remove the tofu from the skillet.

  • Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet then add the frozen stir fry vegetables. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

  • Add the cooked tofu back to the skillet with the vegetables, then pour the prepared peanut sauce over top. Stir to combine and heat through.

  • Slice any remaining lime into wedges. Top the peanut tofu with the lime wedges and fresh cilantro (if desired) before serving over cooked rice or noodles.

*Either press your tofu for 30 minutes before beginning the recipe, or freeze and thaw the tofu a day or two prior, then squeeze out the excess water with your hands. 

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 608 kcalCarbohydrates: 68 gProtein: 22 gFat: 30 gSodium: 833 mgFiber: 7 g

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

nonstick frying pans

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How to Make Peanut Tofu – Step by Step Photos

Peanut sauce in a bowl with a whisk.

Make the peanut sauce first so the flavors have a little time to blend. Whisk together ½ cup natural peanut butter, 2 Tbsp sriracha, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, and ½ cup vegetable broth. Set the sauce aside.

A block of tofu being sliced into triangles

Press one 14oz. block of extra firm tofu for about 30 minutes to expel the excess water (or freeze then thaw the tofu in the days prior and squeeze out the water by hand). Cut the thickness of the tofu block in half, then cut it into 12 triangles (when stacked) to make 24 pieces.

Seasoned cornstarch slurry in a bowl with a whisk.

Next, whisk together 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a bowl. This will coat the tofu with flavor and help it crisp up a bit more in the skillet.

Tofu coated in seasoned cornstarch and oil.

Add the tofu pieces to the cornstarch and oil mixture then gently fold until the tofu is coated in the mixture.

Cooked tofu in the skillet.

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and cook until browned on each side (about 10 minutes total). Remove the tofu from the skillet.

Stir fry vegetables in the skillet.

Add another 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet, then once hot add one 16oz. bag of frozen stir fry vegetables. Continue to cook over medium heat just until the vegetables are heated through.

Tofu and peanut sauce being added to the skillet with vegetables.

Add the cooked tofu back to the skillet with the vegetables, then pour the prepared peanut sauce over top. Stir everything to combine and heat through.

Finished peanut tofu in the skillet with limes and cilantro.

Cut any remaining limes into wedges. Top the peanut tofu with cilantro (if desired) and the lime wedges before serving.

A bowl of peanut tofu with rice, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Love Tofu? Try these other Tofu Recipes

posted on September 26, 2022 in Asian Inspired Recipes, Bowl Meals, Dairy Free Recipes, Egg Free Recipes, Globally Inspired Recipes, Main Dish Recipes, Recipes, Recipes under $10, Southeast Asian, Tofu Recipes, Under $3 per serving, Vegetarian Recipes

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