Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper
Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper is a delicious low-carb and meatless main dish that’s loaded with flavor from Spicy Sriracha Sauce and basil. And if you can make this with Thai Basil it will be even better!
I suspect this Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper has two strikes against it for some of you with tofu and eggplant on the ingredients list, but trust me when I say it was so delicious that it tasted like it came from a restaurant. And the sauce has just enough Sriracha Sauce (affiliate link) to make it interesting, and Thai Basil also bumps up the flavor here. You can also use regular basil (or leave the basil out completely) whatever works!
I’m not a vegetarian, but I do love all types of vegetables, and I really enjoy tofu when it’s firm and cooked well-done so it’s slightly chewy. Jake and I made this several times to get the sauce ingredients and the timing just right, and if you’re never cooked tofu (or eggplant) I bet you’ll love this if you give it a try.
What To Use Instead of Fish Sauce:
We used some fish sauce in the cooking sauce to give it a nice savory flavor, and I’m guessing that’s an ingredient that some plant-based foods fans might not mind. But if you’re vegan or don’t want to use fish sauce, Vegetarian Fish Sauce (affiliate link) is available online or at many Asian markets, or you can make your own vegan fish sauce. But even easier, just replace the fish sauce with more soy sauce and the flavor will still be great.
What is Thai Basil?
Thai Basil is a slightly more spicy and anise-flavored type of basil that’s grown all over Southeast Asia. Thai Basil keeps it’s flavor better when it’s cooked, but you can certain substitute any type of fresh basil for this recipe. Or use diagonally sliced green onion if you prefer or don’t have any basil.
What is Japanese Eggplant:
Japanese Eggplant is a type of long-thin eggplant that’s perfect for grilling or using in stir-fries, but you can use cubes of any type of eggplant in this recipe. See more about different types of eggplant.
How to Make Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Put the tofu in a colander and let it drain for at least 10 minutes. (You can prepare veggies, herbs, and sauce while the tofu drains if you’d like.)
- Then press the tofu between two layers of paper towel to press out even more of the water.
- Cut the pressed tofu into pieces that are just over an inch square. (Don’t cut them too small or they are hard to keep turned when the tofu is browning.
- Cut the red bell pepper into long thin strips.
- I used smallish Ichiban Japanese eggplant from my garden, which are perfect for stir-fries.
- Cut the eggplant into slightly diagonal slices about an inch thick.
- I made this when I had lots of basil in my garden, but you can use any fresh basil, or skip the basil completely if you don’t have any.
- If you’re using basil, pull the leaves off the stems and wash in the salad spinner.
- Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce (or use Vegetarian Fish Sauce or more soy sauce), lime juice, sweetener of your choice, and Sriracha to make the cooking sauce.
- Heat the wok, then heat the oil, then add the garlic cloves and stir-fry just until they are fragrant. Then discard the garlic. This is called “seasoning the oil.”
- Add the tofu cubes to the seasoned oil and cook over medium-high heat, turning the tofu several times, until all the pieces are well-browned.
- It took about 8-10 minutes to get all the tofu browned and we used tongs to turn the pieces of tofu. Remove tofu to a plate while you cook the vegetables.
- Add another tablespoon of oil as needed, then add the eggplant and stir-fry four minutes.
- When eggplant is starting to soften and brown add the red pepper strips and cook about 2 minutes more.
- Then add the tofu back to the wok, add the sauce, and cook 2-3 minutes, turning often, until all the tofu and vegetables are coated with sauce.
- Add the Thai basil or basil (or sliced green onions) and cook about one minute more. Serve hot.
More Tasty Recipe Ideas with Tofu:
Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Stir-Fried Tofu with Scallions, Garlic, Ginger, and Soy Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Crispy Tofu Fingers from Inspired Taste
Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tofu Steak from La Fuji Mama
- 14 oz. firm or extra firm tofu
- 3 T peanut oil, divided (see notes)
- 8 whole garlic cloves
- 6 thin Asian eggplants, cut into 1 inch diagonal slices
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (see notes)
- 3/4 cup Thai basil leaves (see notes)
- 2 1/2 T soy sauce
- 1 1/2 T fish sauce (see notes)
- 1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 T Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, or another sweetener of your choice (see notes)
- 1 T Sriracha Rooster Sauce, or more (see notes)
- Put tofu pieces in a colander placed in the sink and let them drain at least 10 minutes.
- While tofu drains, cut eggplant into slightly-diagonal slices about 1 inch thick, cut the red bell pepper into thin strips, thinly slice green onion, and wash Thai basil leaves (if using.)
- Mix sauce ingredients.
- When the tofu has drained, put a double layer of paper towels on a cutting board, lay the tofu pieces on the paper towel, and put another double layer of paper towels on top of the tofu.
- Press down with the palm of your hand to press water out of the tofu so it’s absorbed by the towels.
- Discard towels and cut tofu into squares slightly over 1 inch square. (Don’t make them too small.)
- Heat the dry wok over high heat for about one minute, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat one minute more, then add the garlic cloves and cook just until they are fragrant, about 30-45 seconds. (Don’t let the garlic brown.)
- Remove garlic and discard.
- Add the tofu cubes, laying each on one of the larger sides so the tofu is in a single layer.
- Cook over medium-high heat, turning often, until the tofu is well-browned on all sides. (Pay close attention to keep the tofu turned so it doesn’t burn. We use a pair of long-handled tongs for this.)
- Remove browned tofu to a plate while you cook the vegetables.
- Add the other tablespoon of oil and heat for about a minute, then add the eggplant slices and stir-fry about 4 minutes, or just until the eggplant is just starting to soften and brown.
- Add red pepper strips and stir-fry about 2 minutes more.
- Add the browned tofu pieces back into the wok and cook for 1 minute to be sure the tofu is hot.
- Add the sauce to the wok and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, stirring often so all the pieces of tofu and the vegetables get well-glazed with the sauce.
- Add the sliced green onions and Thai basil (if using) and cook about 1 minute more.
- Serve hot.
- This will keep overnight in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave, but it’s best when it’s freshly made.
Peanut Oil (affiliate link) is ideal for the recipe, or use any high smoke-point oil. Green onion is optional, or use it in place of Thai Basil or Basil if you prefer. Thai Basil is great in this dish but definitely optional, or use regular fresh basil if you have some. I use Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link) for this recipe, but use any no-calorie sweetener you prefer. Be sure to use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link) if needed. You can use Vegetarian Fish Sauce (affiliate link) for the recipe or use more soy sauce. One tablespoon Sriracha Sauce was fairly spicy so only use more if you really want it spicy.
This recipe created by Kalyn with help from her cooking assistant (and nephew) Jake!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 891mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
As long as you use an approved sweetener to sweeten the sauce, all ingredients in this Stir-Fried Tofu with Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper would be approved for any phase of the original South Beach Diet as well as most other low-carb eating plans. Tofu is recommended for only 1/2 cup serving size for South Beach Phase One, so use portion control if you’re eating this for the South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Stir-Fry Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.