Basic (in a Good Way!) Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry
5 from 1 vote

This vegan broccoli tofu stir fry is basic in the best way possible! It’s made with simple ingredients and doesn’t require a cornstarch coating for the tofu. Miso, ginger, and garlic are the predominant flavor notes in this simple, adaptable, and nutritious weeknight recipe.

An overhead image of a broccoli tofu stir fry, which has been served over a bed of brown rice.

There are some recipes that I made every single week when I was first teaching myself to cook. Broccoli tofu stir fry was one of them.

This meal was easy and nutritious. The leftovers kept well, so it fed me for a few nights, and it was easy to pair the recipe with different types of grains: rice, barley, quinoa, or soba noodles.

As my cooking repertoire expanded, I moved further and further away from some of those simple meals that had essentially sustained me in my first year or two as a vegan.

I welcomed more complex vegan main dishes into my life. I found ways to uplevel the simple foods that I was accustomed to.

As a result, my modest stir fry dinners morphed into more elaborate skillet dinners and one-pot recipes.

A couple weeks ago, when I was feeling a little burnt out, I decided to revisit the broccoli tofu stir fry that I used to cook all the time.

It was as basic as ever, and I mean that as a compliment!

Basic how?

In the context of recipes, basic is often a very good thing.

All home cooks need some “basics” that they can depend on. My vegan basics include unfussy vegetable side dishes, good sauces, and simple plant proteins.

In addition, we all need basic recipes. No matter how much one loves to cook, there will always be nights when a recipe with a short ingredient list and an uncomplicated method is called for.

“Basic” certainly doesn’t mean lacking in flavor. The broccoli tofu stir fry that I’m writing about today is quite boldly flavored, thanks to strategic use of garlic and a savory sauce.

Likewise, basic recipes can still be mightily nutritious, and this dish is a shining example. It’s packed with plant protein, thanks to mighty bean curd.

Broccoli, meanwhile, provides a little bit of calcium and iron, along with a good amount of Vitamin B6 and a whole lot of Vitamin C.

Simple components, ample nutrient density.

The last thing I’ll say about basic recipes is that they cut down on fuss.

For example, I know a lot of people love to drudge tofu in cornstarch for crispy texture. The resulting crispy edges are great in the moment, but if you ask me, cornstarch-coated tofu becomes kind of gloopy on the following day.

That, plus the added step, makes the addition of cornstarch not worthwhile in my book.

What makes this broccoli tofu stir fry basic-in-a-good-way is that it comes together in a streamlined series of steps.

You’ll crisp up some tofu cubes, then pan-steam broccoli florets to bright green, crisp-tender perfection.

Whisk together an umami-rich sauce, add it to the skillet, add some white miso, and heat everything through. Dinner is served.

How to make an easy broccoli tofu stir fry

Step 1: Gather and prep your ingredients

You can use either extra firm or super firm tofu for this recipe.

Super firm tofu is also sometimes labeled as “high protein” tofu. Essentially, it’s a type of tofu that’s been pressed so thoroughly that it takes on an extra dense texture.

Along the way, all of the tofu’s nutrition, including its protein content, becomes concentrated.

Super firm tofu has become my tofu of choice for many types of recipes, including my baked smoky tofu and lemon-marinated, baked tofu slices. I love how firm it is, without any need for pressing.

If you can’t find super firm tofu, though, it’s no big deal. I can vouch for the fact that extra firm tofu will work perfectly well in the stir fry!

Once you have your tofu at the ready, cut it into 3/4-inch / 2cm cubes. You ought to get about 32 cubes in total.

Similarly, cut the broccoli—about 2 crowns, or 12 ounces / 340g—into bite-sized florets and pieces.

Step 2: Whisk the sauce

Next, you’ll whisk together the main sauce that brings this recipe together. It’s a simple mix of soy sauce, vinegar, syrup, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes.

You can adjust these elements a bit in order to suit your tastes.

Step 3: Brown the tofu

It’s time to put a little color and crispiness onto your tofu!

Brown the tofu with some sesame oil, sautéing and flipping it around so that the cubes have a chance to cook on all sides. When this process is finished—4-5 minutes—you can transfer the tofu to a plate for holding.

An image of a bowl with lightly browned, golden tofu cubes.
Pan sautéing the cubes of tofu on their own, without the broccoli, ensures that they crisp up without a crowded pan.

Step 4: Steam sauté the broccoli

If you cook the tofu and broccoli simultaneously, even in a roomy sauté pan, the cooking surface will get crowded. This can affect the finished texture of both ingredients, so it’s wise to cook them one-by-one.

Broccoli comes next. You’ll add your cut florets and pieces to the (lidded) skillet, then steam cook them with the lid on for about two minutes. This tenderizes the broccoli.

Next, uncover the broccoli and cook it without the lid for another minute or two.

Broccoli florets are being cooked in a cast iron skillet.
Once they’ve been steam-sautéed, the broccoli florets will be tender yet retain their firmness. They will be bright green in color.

The florets should be crisp-tender when finished.

Step 5: Add the tofu and sauce to the skillet

Now, it’s time to add the cooked tofu and prepared sauce to the skillet. Stir everything well, and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two, or until warmed through.

An overhead image of a black cast-iron skillet, filled with tofu cubes and broccoli florets.
Simmering the tofu and broccoli together, in your simple sauce, will allow the ingredients to get hot and flavors to meld.

Step 6: Add the miso

Finally, you’ll add some white miso to the skillet. This imparts savory flavor and gives the broccoli tofu stir fry a little richness.

To add miso, you’ll create a slurry: this is as simple as whisking white miso paste with two tablespoons of water.

An overhead image of a miso slurry, which has been whisked together in a small ceramic bowl.
Adding miso to the stir fry on its own will make it difficult to disperse into the ingredients, but creating a simple slurry with water makes it easy to distribute.

Pour the slurry over your warm broccoli and tofu, then stir everything together gently. Simmer over low heat for another couple minutes, to let the sauce thicken.

Taste the tofu stir fry, adjust red pepper flakes as needed, and serve.

How to serve broccoli tofu stir fry

Speaking of serving, I nearly always serve my stir fry over a bed of cooked rice.

A broccoli tofu stir fry has been plated and served over cooked rice.
Brown rice is a perfect vehicle for serving the broccoli tofu stir fry, but noodles and other cooked grains will also work well.

The rice will soak up some of your sauce and add satiating, energizing complex carbohydrates to the meal.

If you don’t have rice, you could serve the stir fry over cooked barley, quinoa, or millet instead. I also like to serve it with or on top of a bed of noodles.

What about toppings? Crunch, etc.?

I nearly always top my portion of stir fry with a healthy amount of toasted sesame seeds, vegan furikake, or roasted, salted, and chopped peanuts.

Chopped green onion tops make a great finishing touch as well. For those who love a bit of heat, a generous squeeze of sriracha or gochujang sauce might be nice, or else just add an extra pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

The Vegan Week

Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.

Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.

Storing and freezing broccoli tofu stir fry

Once made the broccoli tofu stir fry can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

And yes, it can be frozen, too! I don’t love the texture of frozen and defrosted tofu, but that doesn’t mean I let stored portions go to waste.

Freeze the stir fry leftovers for up eight weeks, then defrost them overnight in the fridge and reheat as you’re ready.

More basic recipes for busy days and nights

If you’re looking to get back to basics (in a good way) in your kitchen lately, this recipe is a nice starting point.

But I have a few others that might give you that magical formula of big payoff with low effort. Here they are:

For now, here’s a stir fry recipe to tuck into your proverbial back pocket.

An overhead image of a broccoli tofu stir fry, which has been served over a bed of brown rice.
Simmering the tofu and broccoli together, in your simple sauce, will allow the ingredients to get hot and flavors to meld.
An overhead image of a broccoli tofu stir fry, which has been served over a bed of brown rice.
5 from 1 vote

Basic (in a Good Way!) Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 14-16 ounces super firm or extra firm tofu (400-450g)
  • 3 tablespoons regular or low sodium soy sauce* (45ml)
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (30ml)
  • 1 tablespoon maple or agave syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced or grated
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking)
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided (substitute avocado oil)
  • 2 crowns broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets and pieces (about 12 ounces / 340g after preparation)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons white miso
  • cooked rice, noodles, or another grain, for serving (optional)
  • toasted sesame seeds or furikake, for serving (optional)


  • If you're using extra firm tofu, press the block of tofu between two layers of tea towels or paper towels firmly, helping it to release any excess moisture. Pat it as dry as you can, then cut the tofu into 3/4-inch / 2cm cubes (you should have about 32 cubes). If you're using super firm tofu, simply pat the tofu nicely dry and cube it.
  • In a liquid measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, syrup, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Set this mixture aside. 
  • Heat two teaspoons of the sesame oil in a large, deep, lidded skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the tofu for 4-5 minutes, taking care to move the cubes around so that they brown evenly on all sides. When the cubes are uniformly golden, remove the tofu from the skillet. Transfer it to a plate for holding. 
  • Add the remaining two teaspoons of sesame oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli florets to the skillet, along with a tablespoon of water, then cover the skillet. Allow the florets to steam cook with the lid on for two minutes, then remove the lid and continue cooking for another 2 minutes, or until the florets are tender, yet firm. Add the tofu back to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. 
  • Pour the prepared sauce to the skillet and fold it together with the tofu and broccoli. Allow the tofu and broccoli to simmer, uncovered, for two minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, whisk the water and the white miso together in a small mixing bowl or cup, until you have a smooth slurry. Add this miso mixture to the skillet and gently stir everything to incorporate it. Continue cooking the tofu and broccoli over medium low heat for another 1-2 minutes, or until their sauce has thickened a little. Taste the stir fry and add additional crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
  • Divide the stir fry into portions and serve over cooked rice or noodles. Spoon any remaining sauce in the skillet over the four plated servings. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or furikake, if desired, and enjoy.


*Substitute tamari for a gluten-free alternative.

Hope this recipe will bring good nutrition to your table, pleasure to your taste buds, and ease to your dinner routine some night soon.



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Categories: Main Dishes, Vegan Basics
Method: One Skillet, Stovetop
Ingredients: Broccoli, Rice, Tofu
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less

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    • Oh, hooray! You may be my first reader to make it 🙂 Glad that you enjoyed, Keren.