Sweet and Spicy Crispy Tofu with Zucchini Noodles

This simple stir-fry is like a vegan version of orange chicken served over a delicious bed of zoodles. This delicious zucchini noodles recipe is wholesome, faster than takeout! Recipe reprinted with permission from Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook by Maria Lichty (Grand Central Publishing, 2019).
Plate of zucchini noodles (zoodles) topped with sweet and spicy crispy tofu, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.
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5 from 4 votes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 248kcal
Author Liren Baker



  • 1 16-ounce package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 medium orange (grated zest and juice) always zest before juicing
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil plus more if needed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Zucchini Noodles

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 small zucchini spiralized, or 4 cups store-bought zucchini noodles
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts) thinly sliced, for garnish
  • sesame seeds for garnish


Make the Tofu

  • To get your tofu nice and crispy, drain it first: wrap the tofu block in paper towels and set on a plate. Place a heavy object on top of the tofu to press it down (for example, a large skillet with a few cans or books on top). Let the tofu sit for 15-20 minutes so the excess water can drain. Unwrap the paper towels and cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  • Transfer the tofu cubes to a large bowl or zip-top bag. Add the soy sauce and gently mix until the tofu is well coated. Add the cornstarch and gently toss to coat the tofu. It will get pasty, and that is okay. Set aside.

Make the Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.

Make the Stir-Fry

  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches so you don't crowd the pan, add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until browned and crispy. Transfer the cooked tofu to a plate or bowl. If you need to add more oil in between batches, you can.
  • When all the tofu has been cooked, add the garlic, ginger, orange zest, and pepper flakes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Return all of the tofu to the pan and slowly pour in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat.

Make the Noodles

  • In a second large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 1 minute, tossing with tongs so all of the zucchini noodles soften slightly. Don't overcook them; they'll get mushy.
  • Divide the zucchini noodles among four plates and top with the tofu, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds.


Recipe reprinted with permission from Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook by Maria Lichty (Grand Central Publishing, 2019).




Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1057mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 527IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
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