This vegan orange chicken recipe is heavenly. Tofu in a sticky orange Chinese sauce plays the starring role here. Sweet and tart with a hint of earthy sesame, this dish really ticks all the flavor boxes. And, the best part is that it only takes 30 minutes to cook!
This vegan orange chicken recipe is simple, but with ingredients that play off of each other to create the perfect balance of flavors. Thanks to freshly squeezed orange juice and sesame oil, the orange Asian sauce in this recipe is fresh and zesty, but with a hint of earthiness.
Don't you love having a midweek meal recipe in your back pocket that's easy to make and requires minimal ingredients? That's orange tofu!
I always keep tofu on hand for a quick vegan dinner, and having a great sauce up your sleeve is key to turning tofu into a delicious vegan dinner. If you have an orange and few basic pantry staples, you're set to make a Chinese orange sauce. I guarantee you'll this sauce over and over again.
This recipe is far healthier than the typical orange sauce that comes with the ubiquitous Panda Express orange chicken. Because it's free from refined sugar, you won't be consuming empty, processed calories. The tofu in this recipe is baked, not fried, making this dish lighter and healthier.
- Tofu: Choose a firm variety. The less water the tofu has, the easier it is to produce crispy baked tofu.
- Orange: We'll be using the juice and zest of one large orange.
- Sesame Oil: Sesame oil adds a nice background note of earthiness that balances out the tangy, fruity flavors of the vegan chicken orange sauce.
- Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is the best choice here, but if you don't have any you can substitute apple cider vinegar.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is gluten free and readily available, and I think you'll get the crispiest tofu by using it, but you can substitute twice the amount of arrowroot if you prefer.
- Ginger: Warm, peppery ginger is what gives this orange tofu recipe it's "bite."
- Oil: Use a neutral flavored cooking oil like vegetable oil or canola oil for the best results.
- Tamari: Tamari is a great gluten free choice, but if you can't find it, soy sauce works equally well.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup adds just the right touch of sweetness. You could also use agave nectar.
- Spring Onions/Scallions: Fresh and pungent, they provide a nice foil to the sweet citrus orange sauce.
- Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds have so many nutritional benefits. They contain protein, fiber calcium and magnesium. They also add a lovely nutty flavor.
How Do You Make Vegan Orange Chicken With Tofu?
- Firstly, get out your firm tofu and press it in a tofu press, or simply wrap it in two paper towels and put something heavy on top (like a cast iron pan) for 30 minutes. This article by Running on Real Food is a great tutorial on how to press your tofu.
- Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Next, cut your tofu into bite sized pieces. Put the tofu into a bowl and add your neutral oil. Gently turn everything over with a spoon to ensure the oil is covering all the tofu. Now sprinkle the cornstarch (or arrowroot) over the top, and using your hands, turn the tofu pieces over gently. Make sure that each piece of tofu is coated evenly in cornstarch.
- Transfer your tofu to the baking sheet, leaving an equal amount of space between each piece. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn everything over with a spatula and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the tofu is browned and crispy.
- While the tofu is baking, start to prepare your Chinese orange sauce. Add all the ingredients except the cornstarch slurry to a medium sized pan and simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally. Mix together the cornstarch slurry and add it to the sauce, stirring until the sauce has thickened.
- Finally, add your sticky orange sauce to your crispy baked tofu. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. You've made a delicious homemade vegan orange chicken! Tuck in and enjoy!
Yes, you can. You'll need to double the amount called for in the recipe.
Yes, tofu is free from gluten, just make sure that the rest of the ingredients in the recipe are. For instance, make sure you use tamari instead of soy sauce, which typically includes gluten.
To store, put your leftover orange tofu in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
You can press the tofu and chop it and store in an airtight container. You could also make the sauce ahead and reheat it over low heat.
Unless you're specifically buying an orange sauce that is marked as vegan, you'll need to check the label for butter or any other non vegan ingredients. Obviously if you're buying pre-made Trader Joe's or Gardein's wildly popular vegan chicken, you can be certain it's vegan!
There are 552 calories in each serving of this recipe.
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Easy Vegan Orange Chicken
For The Vegan Orange Chicken Tofu
- 14 ounces tofu
- 1½ tablespoon neutral oil
- 4 tablespoon cornflour
For The Vegan Chinese Orange Sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 navel orange zest and juice
- 3 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
- 3 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon corn starch *mixed with 2 tablespoon of water
For The Garnish
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
To Make The Crispy Tofu
- Press the tofu and cut it into bite sized pieces. *see note 1
- Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Put the tofu in a bowl and add the olive oil and cornflour. Turn everything over gently with your hands to ensure that each piece is evenly coated.
- Transfer the tofu to the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning everything over halfway through
To Make The Sticky Orange Sauce
- Put all of the orange sauce ingredients except the cornflour into a medium sized saucepan. Simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Mix the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds.
- To press tofu, wrap it in a clean tea towel and put it on a plate. Put something heavy on top, like a fry pan filled with cans. Leave it for 30 minutes. It should end up about ⅔s its' original size.