Orange Tofu – Gluten Free | Low Carb


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This Orange Tofu is an easy weeknight meal made with tender-crispy tofu coated in a sticky-sweet orange sauce. It’s a healthy vegan dinner idea and so much better than takeout. Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan and low carb. 

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Updated February 2021

Healthy Orange Tofu Recipe

Looking for a delicious vegan dinner idea to rival those Panda Express cravings? This crispy Orange Tofu is healthy, flavorful and has all the flavors of the popular Orange Chicken dish that you get from North American Chinese takeout restaurants made healthier with wholesome ingredients.

Extra firm tofu is battered, then coated in crispy grain-free crushed almond flour crackers and baked, air fried or pan-fried until crispy. It then gets coated in an Asian-inspired sweet and sticky orange sauce. Serve the orange tofu with this easy vegetable stir-fry, a side of cauliflower rice and you get a healthy and delicious plant-based dinner.

Why we love this easy tofu recipe

This healthy tofu recipe works with a number of special diets. It’s gluten-free, vegan, paleo and can easily be low carb or keto depending on the crackers you use.

The sweet and savory elements give this meal an unforgettable flavor profile and totally kid and family friendly. And it’s all topped off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, green onions and chopped parsley! You can easily make it ahead of time so it works great for Sunday meal prep too!

Recipe Ingredients

This orange tofu uses gluten-free ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. You can make the tofu using the air fryer, oven or on the stovetop. Serve with your favorite veggies or use different seasonings if you like. We like to pair ours with cauliflower rice and finished off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds!

For the crispy batter:

  • Tofu: Opt for extra firm tofu. For best results, be sure to drain and press beforehand. You can check out my post on how to cook tofu for a tutorial. The key to making this orange tofu mimic the look of orange chicken is to tear the tofu. That makes them look more like chicken nuggets.
  • Arrowroot starch – works like cornstarch to make the tofu nice and crispy
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: adds 
  • Unsweetened almond milk or preferred plant milk.
  • Salt + Black pepper, to taste

Optional for an extra crispy coating:

For the sweet and savory orange sauce:

  • Orange juice and orange zest: adds that bright orange flavor. You’ll need about 2-3 medium oranges. Be sure to wash and dry the oranges before using the zest.
  • Coconut aminos: our favorite soy-free and gluten-free sub for Tamari and soy sauce.
  • Apple cider vinegar: gives the sauce a nice tang. You can also use rice vinegar if preferred.
  • Optional sweetener: we used coconut sugar for a touch of sweetness. You can skip the sugar or use date syrup OR Lakanto sugar-free maple syrup or yacon syrup for low carb / keto
  • Sesame Oil: The nutty flavor of sesame oil is a must for this stir fry!
  • Arrowroot starch – works like cornstarch to thicken the sauce (sub with 1/4 tsp xanthan gum for keto)
  • Salt + Black Pepper + optional Red pepper chili flakes: for flavor, to taste.
  • Aromatics:
    • Garlic Cloves: You’ll need about 3.
    • Ginger: Freshly grated ginger adds a wonderful warmth to this dish that intensifies the other flavors.

For serving

  • Fresh herbs: We like to garnish with some freshly chopped green onions and parsley, for a touch of freshness.
  • Cauliflower Rice: This gluten-free rice substitute is so quick and easy to make, with or without a food processor!

To serve:

  • Sesame seeds – Sprinkle some sesame seeds over your stir fry for a top-of-the-line garnish.
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Vegetables:
    • Broccoli: Wash, dry and cut the broccoli into florets
    • Bok Choy: You’ll want to wash and cut the bok choy into quarters, lengthwise.

How to Make Orange Tofu

This flavorful better than takeout dinner cooks up in no time on the stove. Then, just serve it over cauliflower rice and add the sesame seeds to finish it off!

  1. Prepare Tofu:
    1. Tear or cut the tofu into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Make the Batter: Mix together all the ingredients for the batter. Toss the tofu into the batter.
    1. Optional step for an extra crispy coating: Dip each piece of tofu into a bowl of finely crushed crackers, making sure each piece is evenly coated.
  3. Cook the tofu using your preferred method:Bake tofu in the oven: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden and crispy, flipping each piece halfway through.Air fry tofu: Add the tofu into the air fryer basket in a single layer, (you will have to cook batches). Air Fry at 375F for 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through.

    Pan fry tofu: Heat 3 Tbsp avocado oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add tofu, in a single layer (you may have to cook in batches) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until, until golden brown and crispy.

  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
    1. Meanwhile, in a large pot or wok, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, coconut aminos, vinegar, optional sweetener, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-heat, allowing to boil for 1 minute. Once boiling, bring the heat down to medium and cook until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 2-3 minutes. Add more water, as needed to thin out sauce to desired consistency.
  5. Pour sauce over tofu: Once the tofu and sauce are done, add the tofu to the pot and heat on medium. Use tongs or chopsticks to toss gently, until every piece is coated and heated through.
  6. Serve with Rice & Sesame Seeds: Remove from the heat, sprinkle with green onions, parsley, sesame seeds and serve with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or Jasmine rice, if not grain-free.

Variation Ideas

Want to tweak this recipe? No problem! It’s so easy to customize with your favorite ingredients. Here are a few tasty stir fry variations to try:

  • Make it Spicier: If you’d like to add some heat to your stir fry, mix in some red pepper flakes or chili paste, to taste.
  • Serve Over Noodles or Pasta: Not feeling the cauliflower rice? This dish would taste great over your favorite grain-free or gluten-free pasta or zucchini noodles instead.
  • Add Nuts: Need more crunch for your munch? Peanuts or walnuts would be a very yummy addition to this dish.
  • Sub Tofu: If desired, you can replace the tofu any kind of vegan meat substitute you prefer. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, you can totally use chopped chicken or beef instead of tofu. Don’t be afraid to play around with the protein in your stir fry.

Tips for the Best Orange Tofu

This recipe is fast and fabulous, especially if you bear in mind these quick tips and suggestions.

  • Use Extra Firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu has a low liquid content that makes it optimal for stir frying. Even so, I still recommend removing as much moisture as you can. Do this by applying pressure on the block of tofu with a paper towel for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove Moisture From Tofu: Before you make your stir fry, you’ll want to remove as much liquid as possible from your tofu. This will ensure that it cooks up nice and crispy. Draw out the moistre by sandwiching your block of tofu between two paper towels and weighing it down with a heavy plate or two.
  • Season to Taste: I encourage you to taste test your stir fry as you’re adding in your seasonings. This way, you can adjust the flavor to your liking.

 

Side view of one block of tofu on a wooden cutting board with a heavy plate and can for pressing the tofu

Serving Suggestions

This vegan stir fry is a hearty meal on its own, but there are also plenty of other dishes it goes great with, like these ones.

  • Pair with Salad: This easy Kale Salad is always a great stir fry side dish. It’s vegan as well!
  • Serve with Spring Rolls: You can’t go wrong by pairing your stir fry with some Authentic Chinese Spring Rolls. Bake them, fry them, or cook them in the air fryer.
  • Pair with Potatoes: Nothing is more comforting than a hot, creamy serving of Mashed Potatoes. My Instant Pot recipe is so easy to throw together and such a great side for this tofu stir fry

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftover orange tofu should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep well for up to 5 days. You can reheat your stir fry in the microwave in 15-second increments or warm it over low heat on the stove.

Can I Freeze Extras?

You can definitely freeze your leftovers if you’d like. However, the texture of the veggies won’t be as crispy after they’ve been frozen. If you don’t mind this, then go ahead and freeze your stir fry for up to 2 months. Just thaw it out in the fridge before you reheat it.

 

More healthy tofu recipes:

Tofu Stir Fry

Air Fryer Tofu

How to Cook Tofu

Tofu Fries

Orange tofu in a bowl with a side of broccoli and cauliflower rice with chopsticks

Orange Tofu

This Orange Tofu is an easy weeknight meal made with tender-crispy tofu coated in a sticky-sweet orange sauce. It’s a healthy vegan dinner idea and so much better than takeout. Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan and low carb. 

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Asian, Chinese

Keyword: orange tofu, vegan tofu

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 378 kcal

Author: Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained

Batter

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk , I used unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar , or regular vinegar
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional for an extra crispy coating

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice , about 2-3 oranges
  • 1 1/4 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

  • 1-2 tsp pure maple syrup , (or sub with coconut sugar, date syrup, Yacon syrup or preferred liquid sweetener)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly grated or minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • Fine sea salt + black pepper

    , to taste


  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional or to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp arrowroot starch , or tapioca starch

For garnish and serving

  • Thinly sliced green onion, freshly chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds
  • Cauliflower rice , zoodles or Jasmine rice if not grain-free

Instructions

  1. Prepare Tofu: Tear or cut the tofu into 1-inch chunks.

  2. Make the Batter: Mix together all the ingredients for the batter. Toss the tofu into the batter. 

    Optional step for an extra crispy coating: Dip each piece of tofu into a bowl of finely crushed crackers, making sure each piece is evenly coated.

Cook tofu using your preferred method below:

  1. Bake tofu in the oven: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden and crispy, flipping each piece halfway through.

  2. Air fry tofu: Add the tofu into the air fryer basket in a single layer, (you will have to cook batches). Air Fry at 375F for 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through.

  3. Pan fry tofu: Heat 3 Tbsp avocado oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add tofu, in a single layer (you may have to cook in batches) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until, until golden brown and crispy.

Make sauce

  1. Meanwhile, in a large pot or wok, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, coconut aminos, vinegar, optional sweetener, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-heat, allowing to boil for 1 minute. Once boiling, bring the heat down to medium and cook until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 2-3 minutes. Add more water, as needed to thin out sauce to desired consistency.

  2. Pour sauce over tofu: Once the tofu and sauce are done, add the tofu to the pot and heat on medium. Use tongs or chopsticks to toss gently, until every piece is coated and heated through.

    Serve with Rice & Sesame Seeds: Remove from the heat, sprinkle with green onions, parsley, sesame seeds and serve with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or Jasmine rice, if not grain-free.

Nutrition Facts

Orange Tofu

Amount Per Serving (1 serving)

Calories 378 Calories from Fat 108

% Daily Value*

Fat 12g18%

Carbohydrates 38g13%

Fiber 3g12%

Sugar 7g8%

Protein 14g28%

* Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy using the WPRM recipe calculator. It is best to make your own calculations to ensure accuracy. We expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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