Crispy salt and pepper tofu pieces, tender cooked brown rice, fresh, crunchy vegetables and a delicious Asian style orange sauce make up these flavoursome Crispy Tofu Bowls. These healthful bowls are a quick and easy to make, making them the perfect weeknight dinner or to meal prep ahead for lunches.
The crunchy golden brown tofu pieces are made from cubed tofu tossed in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and tapioca starch and air fried to perfection. They add a delicious flavour and crunch factor to these bowls! Drizzled in a delicious sauce made from orange juice, tamari, garlic and ginger, these rice bowls are absolutely packed with flavour and crunch factor.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- instructions included for air fried tofu or pan-fried crispy tofu.
- this crispy tofu rice bowl is quick and easy to make, made in 40 minutes.
- there is 22 grams of plant based protein per serve.
- this recipe is filled with complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals and is gluten and dairy free.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
There are so many different options for ingredients for this delicious tofu bowl that you're sure to create a version that suits your own personal preference. See a list of ingredients notes and any possible substitutions below. The full recipe including ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- extra-firm tofu - many recipes call for excess liquid to be removed from the tofu using a tofu press or by placing a heavy object on top. My recipe doesn't require this extra step as the moisture in the tofu helps to create the crisp outer coating when tossed in the flour mixture.
- tapioca starch - you can also use potato starch, corn starch or arrowroot powder in place of tapioca.
- salt and pepper - I feel that there is the perfect amount of salt for the amount of tofu, however if you wish to increase or decrease the amount of pepper depending on your taste preference that's totally fine.
- garlic powder & onion powder - if you are wanting a lower FODMAP option then you can leave out the garlic and onion powders.
- olive oil cooking spray - spraying the tofu pieces once in the air fryer produces the perfect golden and crispy tofu pieces. You can also use avocado oil in place of extra virgin olive oil. Both avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil are fantastic sources of healthy fats!
- orange juice - I prefer to use strained, fresh juice, however you can use bottled orange juice without the pulp.
- orange zest
- tamari - tamari is like a gluten free soy sauce. If you are not gluten intolerant you can use soy sauce in place of tamari.
- rice vinegar - can be swapped for lime juice or apple cider vinegar.
- garlic - use half a clove of minced fresh garlic or jarred minced garlic. Garlic can be left out if on a low FODMAP diet.
- fresh ginger - you can also use store-bought, ginger paste.
- tapioca - again, you can also use corn starch, potato starch or arrowroot flour in place of tapioca.
- brown rice - it is completely fine if you use white rice, black rice or no rice + extra veggies if you are wanting a lower carb option.
- red cabbage - I love the red cabbage very finely sliced. You can also use wombok or white cabbage if preferred. Or swap for a green leafy vegetable like kale or baby spinach. Or lightly steamed bok choy would be delicious as well!
- snow peas - swap for any other preferred crispy vegetables like thin carrot sticks (julienned), bean sprouts, thinly sliced capsicum, radishes etc.
- sesame seeds - I've used black sesame seeds but you can also use white sesame seeds.
- green onions - I love topping with thinly sliced green onions for a flavour boost. You could also top with cilantro (coriander) or thinly sliced red onion. Or top with crunchy fried garlic or fried spring onions (these can be found in the international aisle at the grocery store).
How to Make Crispy Tofu Bowls
These yummy Crispy Tofu Bowls are so easy to make. I definitely find them quicker to make if using the air fryer to make the tofu, however I will provide instructions for making pan-fried crispy tofu as well.
First, add the water and rice to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until most of the water has been absorbed. Place the lid on and turn off the heat, allowing the rice to steam.
Next, prepare the tofu by slicing the block of tofu into smaller cubes. In a large mixing bowl add the tapioca, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the tofu cubes to the bowl and toss to coat evenly. You might want to get in here with your hands to really thoroughly coat the tofu.
Place the coated tofu cubes into the air fryer basket in a single layer and spray liberally with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes (temperatures are provided in the recipe card).
While the tofu is cooking, make the Asian Orange Sauce by adding the orange juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger and tamari to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine and bring to a low heat. Once warm, remove some of the liquid in a small bowl, add the tapioca starch and make a slurry. Return the slurry to the juice mixture and whisk to combine. Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and glossy. Remove from the heat.
To serve, divide the rice between four large, shallow bowls. Top with thinly sliced red cabbage, sliced snow peas, crispy tofu, sesame seeds, green onions and sauce.
How to Make Pan-Fried Crispy Tofu
Just be aware that this method will take a little longer and requires a lot more baby-sitting than the air fried tofu so it will add to cooking times.
Add olive oil or avocado oil to a large frypan so that it is ½ centimetre deep (approximately ¼ inch deep). Once the oil is heated (you can tell because it will start to ripple slightly and becomes a lot thinner than when cold), add the coated tofu pieces with a few centimetres in between each piece. Fry until golden on each side, using tongs to turn the tofu pieces over throughout cooking. Transfer the golden fried tofu pieces onto a paper towel lined plate. Follow this same method until all of the tofu pieces have been fried.
- chili garlic sauce - add ¼ teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes to the sauce while cooking.
- Thai sweet chili sauce - save even more time and instead of making the orange sauce, serve with Thai sweet chili sauce, tamari and mayo.
- tofu noodle bowls - serve crispy tofu over your favourite noodles instead of rice for delicious noodle bowls.
If meal prepping this recipe, divide the cooked rice, veggies, crispy tofu and sauce between containers, top with green onions and sesame seeds. Place the lids on and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat before eating.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Crispy tofu can be stored in a seperate airtight container and reheated in the air fryer to return it to it's crispy, just cooked self before serving.
- Chopping Board
- Large saucepan & Steamer
- Small saucepan
- Air Fryer
- 500 g firm tofu organic non GMO
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil spray
Orange Tamari Dressing
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- orange zest from half orange
- 100 millilitres orange juice no pulp
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ clove garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons tapioca starch
- 2 cups Brown rice
- 4 cups water
- 150 grams snow peas topped & tailed
- ½ red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 stem spring onion finely sliced
- 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
Cook the rice
- Add brown rice to a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and until most of the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and place the lid on, allowing the rice to steam.
Make the Crispy Tofu
- Next, add the tapioca, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to a large glass mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cubed tofu to the bowl and toss to coat the tofu evenly with the flour mixture.
- Place each piece of tofu in a single layer, into the basket of the air fryer. You may need to cook in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
- Shut the lid of the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (356 F). Once cooked, transfer to a plate and cook remaining tofu cubes.
- While the rice and tofu is cooking, add the tamari, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, ginger and rice vinegar to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine and bring to a low heat. Once the liquid is warm, scoop out about ¼ cup of liquid. Add the tapioca starch to the removed liquid and whisk to create a slurry. Return the slurry back to the saucepan and whisk until thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Divide the brown rice between four bowls. Top with thinly sliced red cabbage and snow peas, sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions, crispy tofu and sauce. Serve warm.
StorageStore leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To keep tofu crispy, store leftover tofu separately and reheat in the air fryer to return to just cooked crispiness. To meal prep, divide the brown rice between four airtight containers and top with crispy tofu, red cabbage, snow peas, green onions, sesame seeds and sauce. Place the lids on and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
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