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Kung Pao Tofu (Vegan)

When you think of Chinese food, I would bet one of the last ingredients you would ever think of would be mayonnaise. I know that’s true for me. But that’s exactly the ingredient that is in this recipe for Kung Pao Tofu.

This recipe is adapted from Chef Mariano Gascon who attends the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. Obviously, you can use whatever veggies are your favorites or whatever you have in the fridge. I’m pretty sure I could have made a peanut sauce without the mayonnaise but it seemed like something I just had to try. Hats off to Chef Gascon!

Kung Pao Tofu (Vegan)

This Recipe is :

Dairy FreeVegan


For the tofu

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 3 Tbs. gluten-free tamari
  • 1 Tbs. agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. oil for pan frying (I prefer safflower)

For the vegetables

  • 1 tsp. safflower oil
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 small purple cabbage, shredded
  • 3 Tbs. tamari
  • 2 Tbs. vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • 2 Tbs. brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted


  1. Cut the tofu into cubes. In a bowl, add the tamari, agave, toasted sesame oil and cornstarch. Whisk until mixed. Add the tofu to the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the tofu is chilling in the marinade, make the sauce for the dish.  In a bowl, combine the tamari, mayonnaise, peanut butter, agave, brown rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, garlic, pepper and hot sauce (optional). Whisk together until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick, just slowly add water until it is at the consistency you desire. Set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, add the peanuts and toast them over a low flame. Be careful not to let them burn. Shake the skillet every now and then to turn the peanuts. You know they are ready when you can smell them.
  4. n a deep skillet (or wok), add the oil over high heat. Drain the tofu from the marinade and place the tofu in the hot skillet. Let cook, turning the pieces often, until the cubes are browned on all sides. This will probably take about 15 minutes. While the tofu is cooking, chop up the veggies you are using.
  5. When the tofu is browned, remove from the skillet and set aside. Don’t forget to check on the peanuts. If they are done, turn the heat off. Add the remaining oil to the hot skillet and add the veggies, one by one, stirring often, until they are just tender. It’s good to let the veggies keep their crunch, especially since a sauce is going on top. The vegetables looked so colorful and beautiful, I almost hated to put a brown sauce on top of them.
  6. When the veggies are to your liking, add the peanut butter and mayo sauce on top and mix through until the sauce is heated through. Add the tofu back to the skillet and garnish with the toasted peanuts.






When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word blog which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Because if you can have the foods you love, the foods you crave, the foods you grew up with, all in a compassionate, cruelty-free way, why wouldn't you?  Rhea is also a college professor specializing in child and forensic psychology. She shares her life with a rescued Westie mix named Benoni and a rescued husband named Tom. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word and compassion to improve the world.



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19 comments on “Kung Pao Tofu (Vegan)”

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Clark Bennett
1 Years Ago

What's with the mayonnaise?

Nick Duke
1 Years Ago

No sorry Melanie Eager that doesn't do it for me.

Melanie Eager
1 Years Ago

Nick- another idea for you !

Gary Saber
1 Years Ago

Mayonnaise is over 80 % soy. Most soy is GMO and contains Round up (glyphosate) Why would anyone put that on their food...WAKE UP !

Mike Saas
1 Years Ago

Omg yummy so many I want to try out on my belly

Missy Tocci
1 Years Ago

I love kund poa tofu!!!!

Terri Mousel
1 Years Ago

you had me until I saw tofu!

Mary Ciulla
1 Years Ago

That's a good idea Rick.

Krista Lynn Samek
1 Years Ago

yum! I love Tofu ( organic non gmo) but Tempeh would be nice too! definately going to try this one! :)

Avi Weiss
1 Years Ago

jessica, you can use anything you like: seitan, tempeh (fermented soy, which tastes and feels different than tofu which is curdled soy), eggplant...it likely will not affect taste or consistency


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