This tofu stir fry veggies recipe made with tofu, lots of veggies, basmati rice, and arame, a tasty sea vegetable, makes an easy weeknight dinner or meal prep meal. Learn more about cooking with sea vegetables and how to make a tasty vegetable stir fry!
Updated: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated with new photos and additional content.
Are you looking for something to make with tofu? You have to try this Asian-inspired tofu vegetables stir fry. It is effortless to make.
What makes this vegetable tofu stir fry unique is the addition of a Japanese sea vegetable called arame. If you haven't heard of sea vegetables before, read on. This tasty recipe is a great way to start cooking with sea vegetables!
💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- It's quick and easy to make!
- Packed with healthy vegetables and plant-based protein.
- Perfect to prep ahead to make weeknight dinners a breeze.
- Delicious combination of ingredients creates a vegan dinner the whole family will love.
Don't be scared off by the list of ingredients. I know it looks lengthy but this dish really goes together quickly. Everything is easy to find in your grocery store, and some of them you may already have on hand.
- Basmati Rice: I used brown basmati rice, which is a whole-grain rice with more fiber and other nutrients than regular basmati rice.
- Tofu: Be sure to use extra-firm tofu, as it will hold up better when stir-frying.
- Arame: Look for arame in your health food store (I bought mine at Whole Foods) or an Asian market. If you can't find it, it's also easily accessible to buy online.
- Aromatics: Shallot, ginger, and green onions add flavor.
- Mushrooms: I used shiitake mushrooms. But you can also use cremini mushrooms, beech mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, or other varieties.
- Baby bok choy: These cook up quickly and are easy to prep for stir-fries.
- Shoyu: Also called soy sauce, it's added for its umami flavor. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos as a gluten-free option if needed.
- Mirin rice cooking wine: This is a traditional Japanese ingredient used to give flavor to dishes. It is slightly sweet and works to balance the saltiness of the other ingredients in the dish.
- Vegetable broth: Gives the stir fry sauce a more flavorful profile than water.
- White miso paste: Also called shiro miso, it has a mellow flavor compared to other types of miso.
- Red pepper chili flakes: Totally optional, but they add a bit of heat to the stir fry.
- Cilantro: To garnish the tofu, stir-fry veggies before serving.
What are Sea Vegetables?
Sea vegetables are simply plants such as algae and seaweed (brown, red, green) that grow in the ocean. The most commonly known variety of sea vegetables is nori, the common wrapper to make sushi.
Arame is just one of the many species of seaweed. It comes packaged, dried, in long brown strands.
It needs to be reconstituted before adding it to dishes. To reconstitute it, all you do is add water and within minutes, it's ready to use.
Don't be discouraged by their weird look! Arame is great for its sweet and mild flavor. Once you get used to the taste, you can use it in many recipes. It is very adaptable for multiple uses and can be added to salads, sautés, soups, and even baked goods.
For additional recipes using sea vegetables, try Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic Hummus.
✅ How to Make Stir Fry with Tofu and Veggies
Are you ready to get cooking? If so, here's an overview of the steps involved, but be sure to check the detailed instructions in the recipe cards for actually preparing the recipe.
- Cook the brown basmati rice in the Instant pot. Give it a good rinse, and then add it to the pot along with water and salt. Cook for 15 minutes under high pressure. Release the steam naturally for 10 minutes, and then uncover the rice. Fluff it with a fork and keep warm and covered until the stir fry is ready.
- Press the excess water from the tofu. Use a strainer with a weighted bowl or a tofu press.
- Place the arame in a bowl and cover with water.
- Prep all the ingredients. Chop the shallot, dice the red pepper, slice the carrot diagonally, trim the ends of the mushrooms and cut them into bite-size pieces, slice the bok choy and cut crosswise, and slice the green onions.
PRO TIP: It's important to prep all your ingredients BEFORE starting to cook. Once you start cooking, things move fast and you won't have time to stop and do some chopping. I place each ingredient in small dishes so they can easily be placed close to my stove while I'm cooking.
- Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan (or a wok). Cook the shallots for 2 minutes. Then add the red pepper and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, bok choy, and green onions and cook an additional 7 - 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a covered bowl to keep warm. At this point, strain and rinse the arame well.
- Heat more olive oil In the same pan and sear the tofu on all sides. Add the shoyu, mirin, ginger, and vegetable broth to the skillet and cook until heated all the way through.
- Remove two tablespoons of broth from the pan. Stir into a measuring cup with the miso until it dissolves.
- Add the vegetables you set aside and the strained arame to the skillet.
- Add the miso and broth mixture to the pan and stir thoroughly. Add chili pepper flakes to taste.
- Plate the rice and tofu veggie stir fry side by side in a bowl. Sprinkle the top with chopped cilantro and serve.
❄️ How to Store and Use Leftovers
I find tofu vegetable stir fry is really best the first time around. But if you do happen to have leftovers pack them up in a container to carry for a quick meal on the go. I find the leftovers taste great either heated or cold.
Leftover stir-fry veggies make a great addition to a bowl made with roasted tempeh.
🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
Here are some of my favorite tools that I use for preparing vegetable stir fry.
- Tofu press: It's not necessary, but it really makes life easier. I am a huge fan of this one made from bamboo, making it more sustainable than the plastic options.
- Sharp knife: Having a quality sharp knife is a game changer! Not only does it make the chopping easier, but when it's properly sharpened, the knife is actually much safer too.
- Cutting board: I love this one!
- Large skillet or wok! Stir-frying traditionally takes place in a wok. The design of the wok keeps the veggies from overcooking. If you don't have one, that's ok; just use a large skillet.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Prep all the veggies ahead of time! You won't have time once you start cooking.
- Don't skip pressing the tofu. It contains a lot of water and will taste better when you remove some of it prior to cooking.
- Taste before seasoning. Lots of the ingredients in this dish have salt (soy sauce, miso, arame), so make sure to give it a taste before adding any additional.
- Feel free to change up the veggies to use others you have on hand if desired!
Arame is super healthy! Asian countries have touted the many holistic health benefits of sea vegetables. Arame contains vitamins and minerals and is incredibly high in iodine, iron, vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium, as well as lots of phytonutrients and antioxidants!
No, I don't recommend cooking it in advance. It really tastes best served fresh. What you can do is press the tofu, soak the arame, and prep all the veggies ahead of time. That way, all you need to do is cook the dish, which will take around 15 minutes in total.
🌎 Sustainability Suggestions
When it comes to choosing sea vegetables, I recommend Eden brand because they are one of the highest quality brands in the world.
These sea vegetables are hand-harvested in pristine, environmentally protected seas. All Eden Sea Vegetables, except Eden Organic Dulse, come from Japan, continuously fed and cleansed by Arctic Currents.
Eden has 14 different types of sea vegetables which are worth giving a try:
- Agar Agar Flakes
- Kombu (also known as kelp)
- Dulse Flakes and Whole Leaf Dulse
- Wakame and Wakame Flakes
- Untoasted Nori, Toasted Sushi Nori, and Toasted Nori Krinkles
- Seaweed Gomasio
➕ More Tempeh and Tofu Recipes
If you made this recipe, please leave a star 🌟 rating on the recipe card right below! You can also drop a review in the comment section. Your feedback is appreciated! And don’t forget to tag @themindfulfork so we can see your creations.
Tofu Stir Fry Veggies with Arame
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- ¼ cup arame
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 1 red pepper
- 2 large carrots
- 3.5 ounce package mushrooms shiitake (or white beech)
- 2 bunches baby bok choy about 3 cups
- 3 green onions
- 2 tablespoons shoyu
- 2 tablespoon Mirin rice cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- Start by preparing the rice in an Instant Pot (or see package for cooktop directions). Rinse the rice. Place the rice, water and salt in the Instant Pot. Press the pressure cook button on the panel for Rice, and cook for 15 minutes. Release the steam naturally for 10 minutes. Uncoverer and fluff with a fork. Keep warm and covered until stir-fry is done.
- Place tofu in a strainer with a weighted bowl (or tofu press) to release some liquid from the tofu. Place the arame in a measure cup and cover with 1 cup water.
- Prep the ingredients: chop shallot, dice red pepper, slice carrot diagonally, trim ends of mushroom and cut into bite-size pieces, slice bok choy crosswise, and slice green onions.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan (or wok). Cook the shallots for 2 minutes: add the red pepper and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, bok choy and green onions and cook an additional 7 - 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a covered bowl to keep warm.
- Strain and rinse arame well.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil In the same pan, and sear the tofu on all sides. Add the shoyu, mirin, ginger, and vegetable broth. Heat thru.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of broth from the pan. Stir into a measuring cup with miso to dissolve. Add the vegetables that were set aside and the strained arame. Add miso and broth mixture to the pan and stir thoroughly. Add chili pepper flakes to taste.
- Plate side by side in a bowl with rice (or on top). Top with chopped cilantro and serve.