This recipe for Orange Peel Tofu is a healthy take on the Asian take-out classic with tofu served in a sweet and sour orange sauce. It’s an easy vegan gluten-free recipe that you can make at home and know that it’s filled with lots of veggies and it’s so yummy!
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I first published this recipe in 2013, but I was recently reminded of it when I went hiking with a friend. She was talking about how after a year of being at home and cooking 3 meals a day, she had gotten tired. Not feeling creative or inspired anymore by home cooking, she longed to take her kids to a Chinese take-out place, but still didn’t feel comfortable. She proceeded to tell me that Orange Chicken is her daughter’s favorite meal.
Well, that reminded me that I had this Orange Tofu recipe on the blog. I had actually long forgotten about it.
Originally, I made this recipe, which was super spicy, because a neighbor had given me tons of oranges from her tree. And this is a creative way to use your citrus and an easy meal to whip up quickly.
Well, I’ve reworked the recipe so it isn’t so spicy, and it’s really well balanced now. Lightly sweet, a little spicy, little hints of bitter orange peel, lots of veggies, and crispy tofu that’s really easy to make in the air fryer!
Besides being super tasty, the colors of this dish are gorgeous! Eat the rainbow! And this dish helps you do just that!
Orange peel cleaner
Back when I originally shared this recipe, I shared a super cool tip, which I’m going to keep in this post. It’s just so helpful and I still love it!
My neighbor gave me a whole bag full of beautiful oranges from her tree. So, I’ve been figuring out what to do with them all. I mean besides simply drinking gallons of OJ.
What do you do when life hands you a bunch of oranges? Well, you can make orange vinegar.
It’s really easy to make: you just take the orange peels, place them in a jar, cover them with white vinegar, and wait 2 weeks for it to seep. Strain out the peels and you have a nice smelling cleaning solution.
Orange Peel Vinegar works on all kinds of messes around the kitchen and the bathroom. The orange and vinegar will help get rid of hard water deposits.
Want to read more on making and using citrus vinegar cleaners, hop over and take a look at all the details in my Lemon Vinegar Cleaner.
Orange peel sauce
The tangy sweet and sour orange sauce can be made on its own and used as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers or veggies. This is a great snack for game day or Super Bowl parties. Take a look at my Game Day recipes for more ideas.
How to make orange tofu
Crispy Honey Orange Tofu is a restaurant-worthy meal, that can be made at home in less than 30 minutes!
You make orange tofu by frying extra-firm tofu until crispy. I love the air fryer for this. You don’t have to press the tofu to get all the water out anymore. Simply toss all cubed tofu in the air fryer with a little oil.
This dish is so versatile and so easy to make. Use your favorite veggies, sauté them briefly, then toss in the orange sauce made with fresh orange juice and the cooked tofu. That’s it!
At the bottom of the post I left one of the old pictures with some of the chopped veggies for more inspiration.
Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the tofu and veggies.
Is this dish gluten free?
You can easily make sure it’s gluten-free by using Tamari instead of soy sauce or a soy sauce that’s certified gluten-free.
Is tofu healthy?
I believe that, like most things, tofu can be enjoyed and be a healthy part of your diet.
Tofu is curdled soybeans that are pressed into blocks, kind of like making cheese.
It’s a great low-calorie and low-carb source of plant-based protein, that’s packed with calcium, selenium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It’s low in saturated fat and is a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Now, you may have heard that soy contains phytoestrogens, which are the plant form of estrogen. This is the controversial part of soy, because some people believe these phytoestrogens can negatively impact hormone function and may increase risk for certain types of cancer. The jury is still out on whether this is true or not, because many studies show the opposite to be true. And, many other studies show that consuming soy and tofu can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer. Soy may also alleviate symptoms of menopause and help lower cholesterol levels.
So, I take the moderation approach, to tofu for myself. I enjoy it occasionally, and I feel that its benefits outweigh the possible side effects.
Air fryer tofu
I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to get great crispy tofu from the air fryer, and this is now my preferred method for cooking tofu. No more pressing tofu with paper towels and heavy objects for a long time. No more tofu stuck to the pan, or burned edges. It’s so easy to get great tofu from the air fryer!
Here’s how to make crispy air fryer tofu! And this takes just 15 minutes of cooking time.
Preheat the air fryer. Place the cubed tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook at 400° F for 15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. You’ll get golden brown tofu, with nice crispy edges that’s perfect for tossing in all kinds of dishes, especially this Honey Orange Tofu.
Ah, and if you don’t have an air fryer, no need to worry, you can still cook the tofu in the skillet or wok. Just heat the oil, toss in the cubed tofu, and cook until golden brown.
Changes to the recipe
I love these kinds of recipes that are super easy to customize for your family.
Add in whatever veggies your family likes! Some great vegetables are purple cabbage, green or napa cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, celery, snap peas, zucchini, water chestnuts, or bok choy to name a few. Or, toss in last night’s leftover veggies.
Toss some toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onion over the top of the dish when serving.
Serve it over steamed rice, brown rice, or noodles.
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Orange Peel Tofu Recipe
Orange Peel Tofu
- 1 orange zested and juiced
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon Sriracha
- a few drops sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided use
- 16 ounces extra firm tofu cut into 1″ cubes
- 4 cups assorted chopped vegetables
- ¼ cup frozen peas optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange zest, juice, broth, marmalade, chili-garlic paste, soy sauce, Sriracha , and sesame oil.
- In a small bowl, using a fork, whisk cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add cornstarch mixture to the orange sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 400° F.
- In a medium bowl, gently toss cubed tofu with 1/2 tablespoon oil.
- Once air fryer is hot, place the cubed tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook at 400° F for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.
- If you don’t have an air fryer, no need to worry, you can still cook the tofu in the skillet or wok. Just heat the 1/2 tablespoon oil, toss in the cubed tofu, and cook until golden brown.
- Set the cooked tofu aside while you cook the veggies.
Prepare veggies, and finish cooking
- Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot add the chopped vegetables and cook until bright and crisp-tender, just a few minutes depending on what vegetables you use. Toss in the cooked tofu, pour orange sauce over vegetables and tofu, stir in frozen peas (if using), and bring to a boil for a minute or two until thickened.
- Serve over rice, if desired. Enjoy!
I left a couple of the old pictures (which I think are pretty bad!), but in case you followed a link with one of these images, now you know you’re in the right place. And, you can get some veggie inspiration from them!