Tofu Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Sesame-Soy Glaze

Tofu stir fry in a bowl with chopsticks

I am a total fan of stir fries. I love that you can pretty much put anything into them, add a tasty, customized sauce, and you’ve got a satisfying, healthy and delicious dinner (plus leftovers)! I’ve made a lot of stir fries in my day, but this tofu stir fry with mushrooms, asparagus, and savory sesame-soy glaze is easily my favorite.

We start with crispy fried tofu, then add in crunchy fresh asparagus and umami-rich shiitake mushrooms. Then, we top all that off with a savory and slightly sweet sesame-soy glaze. The resulting meal is light but still wholesome, hearty, and bursting with all kinds of fabulous flavors. Did I also mention that it’s easy? All of it comes together in one pan (minus the rice, if you plan on serving that with it), and just takes a few simple ingredients that pack a huge punch. Please note, we do use fish sauce in this recipe. I think it adds nice umami to the dish, but you can easily remove it or use vegetarian oyster sauce, and this recipe will be totally vegan.

Why this tofu stir fry works:

A steaming bowl of stir fry in a black bowl.

There are about a million different stir fry recipes out there. There are light ones. There are heavy ones. There are vegetarian and meat-packed ones. There are complex and simple ones! The options are endless, and that’s what makes stir fry such fun to play around with. As long as you add the right sauce, you’ve got multiple opportunities for culinary greatness.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep at the front of your mind when creating a stir fry ingredient lineup is undoubtedly texture. You want layers of textures that absorb the stir fry sauce in different ways. This then creates layers of flavor. Let’s go into a bit more detail about that.

Layer #1: Crispy Fried Tofu

For this stir fry recipe, we start with my crispy fried tofu. If you’re new to Savor + Harvest, you can find my easy guide making perfectly crispy fried tofu here. Fried tofu is one of the most valuable recipes I have in my arsenal. You can use it in a variety of dishes, or even by itself. It’s a textural marvel. Soft on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside, it’s become something that I crave and cook often. And, it was one of the biggest reasons I fell in love with vegan food in the first place. I’m begging you, here — don’t skip out on the fried tofu for this tofu stir fry recipe. It perfectly absorbs the stir fry sauce, and truly makes the dish.

Tofu mushroom stir fry topped with scallions and sesame seeds.
Layer #2: Asparagus

I don’t know about you, but I think asparagus is pretty unique and awesome. It’s high in good things like folic acid and fiber, and it tastes fabulous both in veggie medleys like this dish, or by itself. We flash cook the asparagus to ensure that it doesn’t get too soft (otherwise that defeats the purpose of layering textures). It absorbs just the light essence of the sauce flavor, which helps balance out some of its saltiness. Plus, quick cooking retains the crunchy texture of the asparagus.

Layer #3: Shiitake Mushrooms

I am undeniably obsessed with mushrooms. If I could add them to every meal, I probably would. We use shiitake mushrooms for this stir fry. They have a more concentrated umami flavor than portabellos or white mushrooms, they’re easier to caramelize in a stir fry, and they have satisfying overall texture when cooked. If you can’t find shiitakes at your local market, you can use any mushrooms. However, I highly recommend shiitakes if you can find them.

We cook these mushrooms longer than any other main ingredient in this vegan stir fry. We start them with a little bit of oil over low heat, letting them release their liquid. It’s very important that you let this liquid fully evaporate from your sauté pan before adding the mushrooms to the stir fry. Otherwise, your mushrooms will be very mushy (no one likes mushy ‘shrooms). Then, add some soy sauce and watch the magic happen. The results? Tender/crisp, super-flavorful mushrooms that serve as the perfect base note to this delectable veggie stir fry.

Tofu stir fry with sriracha sauce.
Layer #4: Sesame Soy Glaze and Garnishes

And, finally we come to the really snazzy stuff. The sauce is simple: soy sauce, mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine), fish sauce, sesame oil, and miso. If you don’t know what miso is, it’s pretty straightforward. Basically, it’s just soybeans that have been crushed and fermented into a paste that looks a little bit like mashed garlic. The flavor is a bit salty, nutty, and has just a hint of sweetness. Miso is an incredibly versatile tool that you can use in a plethora of dishes. It’s great in noodle recipes, soups, marinades, and, of course, stir fries. Plus, it’s probiotic, so it’s great for helping with your nutrient uptake and digestion!

The combination of all these super-savory ingredients creates a sauce that is overflowing with rich, bright flavors.

Last but not least, we garnish this delicious tofu stir fry with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds. You can improvise however you’d like, though. This dish tastes great with sriracha, chili garlic oil, kimchi, or whatever else sounds good. You can even pop a fried egg on top for some extra protein. I strongly advocate for popping an egg on veggie stir fry medleys, by the way.

And there you have it! Quick, simple, and utterly taste! Enjoy!

For more healthy, veggie-packed, flavorful recipes, click here.

Tofu Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Sesame-Soy Glaze

This rich, savory, tofu stir fry is packed with crunchy, nutritious asparagus, umami-rich mushrooms, and crispy fried tofu. Plus, it's totally gluten-free, can easily be modified for vegans, and only takes 30 minutes to put together!

For the stir fry protein and vegetables:

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup avocado or other neutral tasting oil
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus (roughly chopped into half-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (sliced)

For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (*use GF if needed)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (*we prefer Eden Foods brand as it has no additives)
  • 1 tbsp. miso paste
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce) (*omit or use vegetarian oyster sauce if vegan)

For the garnishes:

  • 1/2 cup scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

For the stir fry sauce:

  1. Combine all stir fry sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

For the fried tofu:

  1. Wrap tofu block in paper towels and press for 30 minutes underneath a heavy cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Then, unwrap and cut tofu into even, 1-inch blocks.

  2. Place oil in a large, heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat.

  3. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add tofu and salt. You may need to wear oven mits to prevent oil splashing. Toss immediately to prevent sticking.

  4. Fry tofu for about 3 minutes per side until evenly golden brown. Remove the tofu from the pan to a clean plate, and pour off about 3/4 of the remaining oil.

For the stir fry veggies:

  1. Place the skillet back over medium-high heat and add mushrooms. Toss to prevent sticking. Let the mushrooms sauté for 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally until mushrooms are beginning to brown and caramelize and their liquid is released and evaporates.

  2. Add the asparagus and toss to combine with the mushrooms. Continue sautéing for about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus shoots, just until they begin to soften slightly. Be sure not to overcook the asparagus as it is much better when left slightly crunchy.

  3. Add the tofu back to the pan and toss to combine it with the veggies.

  4. Add stir fry sauce and toss to coat.

To serve:

  1. Remove stir fry from pan. Divide into bowls and top with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Serve over cooked brown rice.

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