ginger-garlic tofu

Garlic-Ginge Tofu

Phew! I can’t believe it’s only been a week since Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I’m still reveling in the memory of all that great food. Since we left all the leftovers (or what remained of them!) back in DC on Monday, Joseph and I have had to fend for ourselves again back in Boston.  We’ve been feeling kind of lazy when it comes to cooking and we’ve been seeking out easy, healthier, vegetarian food to switch things up from all the turkey, gravy, and potatoes last week. This ginger garlic tofu dish is quick and easy, making it one of our absolute favorite standby recipes for busy weeknights.

Powdered Ginger and Garlic Powder

The original recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, but we’ve made some adaptations to it over the years, perfecting it into what I believe is one spectacular meal that just happens to be vegetarian and easy to make. The two secrets to the dish is that it uses the powdered versions of ginger and garlic (not fresh – they don’t work as well in this dish!) and nutritional yeast.

Ok, ok, I know that nutritional yeast may not have the most enticing name. I had never heard of it before and I was a little surprised when Joseph picked up a huge canister of it back when we first made this.  I was sure the rest of the canister was going to sit unused in a cabinet until we decided to throw it out one day. Little did I know that this dish would become a regular at our table and not only did we finish off that huge canister of nutritional yeast, we had to go out and get another one. It’s nutty, almost cheesy taste is also great on popcorn, and hey, added bonus, it’s loaded with protein and vitamins (especially B-complex vitamins)!

Diced Ginger

Garlic-Ginger Tofu Cooking

Now that I’ve convinced you of how great nutritional yeast is (or at least piqued your interest?), let’s get back to what makes this tofu so delicious. The powdered ginger and garlic and the nutritional yeast together coat each piece of tofu, packing it with flavor. The chili powder gives it some kick, and it’s super adjustable – you can use whatever veggie you have on hand and serve it with either rice or noodles. So what are you waiting for? You’ve got to try this!

Garlic-Ginger Tofu

Garlic-Ginger Tofu

Yield: 4 servings

Garlic-Ginger Tofu

Adapted from World Vegetarian

You can also substitute one tablespoon of the tamari with fish sauce if you'd like.


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 package (about 14-16 ounces) firm tofu
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (or broccoli, kale, or any other veggie you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
  • red pepper flakes, for topping
  • toasted sesame seeds, for topping
  • 2 scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for topping
  • rice or noodles, cooked (we usually use brown rice or soba noodles)


  1. Remove excess water from the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels or pressing it between two plates for a few minutes (or do both!). Cut it into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Put the oil in a large, preferably nonstick, frying pan and set over high heat. When hot, add the tofu. Brown on one side for about 5 minutes and flip using chopsticks, tongs, or whatever works for you and brown for an additional 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper or whatever veggie you're using and stir fry until cooked, but still crisp, about 2 minutes (if using broccoli, you'll want to cook a little longer). Add the garlic and ginger powder and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  3. Turn down the heat slightly and add the tamari, lime juice, and brown sugar if using. Turn the heat to low, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top. Stir to mix and turn off the heat. Serve over rice or noodles and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.


13 Responses to “ginger-garlic tofu”

  • A Plum By Any Other Name Says:

    This sounds great! I have spinach on hand and all of the rest of the ingredients (minus the nutritional yeast) are in my fridge as I type this. I know what somebody is having for dinner tonight …

  • Fran Says:

    I don’t normally cook tofu. Any tips (other than pressing out the water) I should know about?

    • Kristen Says:

      The number one thing with cooking tofu is don’t be afraid of it! It’s actually incredibly easy to cook and its flavor is so neutral that it works in an endless number of seasonings.

      When you’re cooking tofu, you generally want firm or extra firm tofu so that it doesn’t fall apart when you’re mixing it in with other ingredients. It comes packed in water so you want to get excess moisture before cooking it. People do this different ways, but I put it on a plate and put a plate on top and weigh that down with a can of beans or tomatoes or something. Let it sit for a little bit, periodically draining the water that collects on the bottom plate. Joseph likes wrapping it in a paper towel and letting it sit for a little bit. That’s pretty much all you need to know. It’s easy to cut and once you throw it in the pan, you just need to remember to be a little more gentle with it so it doesn’t crumble. Of course, sometimes you may want to scramble it, for example, if you’re making a tofu scramble (instead of eggs).

      Hope that helps!

  • Alison S Says:

    This is absolutely delicious and I’m sure it will be eaten about once a week. I made it with broccoli and red pepper.

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story Says:

    My husband and I are tofu eating fiends these day – love this recipe and am going to try it soon!

  • Bridget Says:

    I made this dish last night. I had the tofu over brown rice. It was AMAZING. I really loved it. I am really happy to find a dish I can make without relying on fresh ingredients. My 4 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old and meat eating husband also lved this. I am now following your blog! I also live in the Boston area.

  • Leslie Says:

    I tried this last night and it was delicious!! I also wanted to share that I made a sauce to go with it because the other adult in the household has something against rice without sauce on it and I just knew that she wouldn’t be happy if I just put the vegetables on plain. So I modeled the sauce after the seasonings on the vegetables–I combined 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/2 C veggie broth, 1 T lime, 1/2 t ginger, 3 T corn starch. Then I just started adding more soy sauce and veggie broth until it tasted right. This was a huge hit. My favorite part about this recipe, aside from being so dang good, was that this took me about a half an hour to prepare. I can’t wait to try it again!!

  • Ellen Bernstein Says:

    Hi, I really liked this recipe except did not like the nutritional yeast. What happens if I go without the NY next time? Will it be OK? is there a substitute?

    • Kristen Says:

      You could just use more sesame seeds, or substitute nutritional yeast with some wheat germ or even shredded parmesan cheese. Hope you like that better!

  • Ellen Says:

    thank you, thought I would have to add more of something but didn’t know what. Will do the sesame seeds.

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