Featuring colorful veggies and crispy tofu cooked in a thick, rich savory sauce, this vegan tofu chop suey will please even non-vegans! This one-pan meal is incredibly easy to make, and is ready in 30 minutes. A great quick meal to add to your weekly meal rotation that is hearty and satisfying!
This American-Chinese version of vegan chop suey is my current favorite meal that I have to share! This dish is definitely a fridge cleanout kind of meal, and is great for using up that random few mushrooms or that forgotten carrot half. 😆
💚Why you will love this recipe
- A quick and easy one-pan meal - This tofu chop suey is super quick and easy to fix, foolproof, and beginner-friendly! Ready in no time and everything can be cooked in a pan, which means less dishes to clean.
- Wholesome and nourishing - This dish is packed full of fiber-rich colorful vegetables, and tofu provides a substantial amount of protein to keep you full and satisfy.
- Customizable and versatile - As mentioned above, you can virtually use any veggies that you have on hand or are in season to make this vegan chop suey! You can even use other plant based protein in place of tofu if you are not a fan of it.
- Stores well, great for meal prep and freezable - This amazing meal will stay well in the fridge for a solid few days, and can even be frozen for later.
🤔What is chop suey
Chop suey is an American-Chinese dish that consist of tons of veggies and some sort of meat cooked in a thick, savory and rich sauce. (And there is lots of it!) It can also be describe as the western version of the classic Chinese stir-fry.
Chop suey is usually served with some freshly steamed rice that will soak up the delicious sauce readily.
To veganize this dish, we will be using tofu in place of meat.
🍄What you will need
- Bok choy - You can use any other Chinese vegetables in place. Choy sum, napa cabbage and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) are some of my go-to. Make sure the stem and leaves are separated as we will be adding them in at different times.
- Shaoxing wine - Also sometimes known as Chinese cooking wine. The best substitute for it is mirin.
- Cornstarch - You can use arrowroot, potato starch or tapioca starch in place.
- Oil-free - Pan-fry tofu without oil on a good non-stick wok or pan and saute vegetables using ¼ cup of water or broth in place of oil. Also, omit sesame oil in the sauce and top it with toasted sesame seeds instead.
🔪How to make
Combine together cornstarch and salt. In a zip-top bag, place in tofu cubes along with the cornstarch mixture. Toss bag until tofu are well-coated.
Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick pan or wok on medium high heat. Place tofu in one layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each sides, until most sides are golden brown. Set aside.
While cooking tofu, make stir-fry sauce by combining everything needed.
Add about ½ tablespoon of oil back to the same pan. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent, before adding in garlic. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Now, add in carrot and stems of bok choy and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add in mushroom, leaves of bok choy and bean sprouts. Cook until veggies have soften, about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add in stir fry sauce and water. Cook until sauce has thicken, then toss in pan-fried tofu.
Give it a taste and add more soy sauce, if needed. Serve vegan chop suey with some rice and enjoy it while warm!
- Press tofu beforehand - This step is essential in creating crispy tofu. Do so using a tofu press or by stacking something heavy on top. You can check out this post on how to press tofu for a more detailed instruction.
- Do not skip the cornstarch - It helps tofu develops a crispy outer crust.
- Separate the stems and leaves of bok choy - Stems will need to be cooked longer when compared to the leaves. Hence, we will be adding in the stems first.
- Use a big enough pan or wok - Always choose an "oversized" one than a pan that is too small. As we will be tossing around the ingredients a lot, this will prevent ingredients from leaping out from the pan and creating a mess.
- Prep ingredients ahead on time and keep them close to you - Making vegan chop suey is a pretty quick process, and requires constant stirring. Therefore, it is best that everything you need is prepped and ready to go.
- Switch up the veggies - You can use almost any vegetables that you have on hand or are seasonal for this tofu chop suey. For a quicker version, you can even use 2-3 cups of frozen mix vegetables instead!
- Replace tofu with other plant based protein - Not a fan of tofu? No problem as you can use any other plant protein in place! Things like seitan, tempeh and rehydrated soy curls will work well.
- Add in some chili flakes or sriracha - Gives vegan chop suey a nice kick, especially if you love spicy foods!
- Toss in some cooked noodles - To make this a heartier dish, toss in some cooked soba, ramen or rice noodles. I recommend doubling the sauce portion.
🍚How to serve
The classic (and best way) to serve your tofu chop suey is with some fluffy white or brown rice. The rice will soak up the flavorful sauce readily! For a lower carb version, you can opt for broccoli rice or cauliflower rice instead.
If you are planning to host a Chinese-inspired dinner, pair vegan chop suey together with vegan egg fried rice, orange tofu and/or kung pao chickpeas. For appetizers, you can make this Asian rice salad or some tofu rice paper rolls.
❔Commonly asked questions
Although both dishes are Chinese inspired and is made from similar ingredients, they have a few key difference between them.
First of all, boiled noodles are oftentimes stirred into the stir-fry vegetables before serving in chow mein, while chop suey are usually serve over steamed rice or fried noodles without mixing. Other than that, chop suey has a decent amount of thick sauce, while chow mein is dry with little to no sauce.
This vegan chop suey is not spicy, making it kid-friendly. However, you can add in a pinch of chili flakes or drizzle of sriracha if you like yours spicy.
Refrigerate leftover vegan chop suey in a sealed container for 2-3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Take note that the texture of tofu will change slightly and becomes chewier after freezing. It is normal and will still taste good regardless!
To reheat from frozen, let tofu chop suey thaw overnight in the fridge or on countertop for a few hours. You can reheat it in the microwave or on stove, adding some water if the mixture is getting too thick.
🍽More Asian inspired dinners
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Vegan Tofu Chop Suey
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato / arrowroot / tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 14 oz block extra firm tofu drained, pressed and cubed
- ½ medium yellow onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium carrot sliced
- 2 stalk bok choy (about 7 oz)
- 1 cup beansprouts
- 10-12 brown button mushrooms sliced (about 3.5 oz)
- Preparing bok choy : Separate your bok choy into individual stems. Trim off ends and cut them into 2" (10 cm) slices. Separate stalk from leaves.2 stalk bok choy
- Combine together cornstarch and salt. In a zip-top bag, place in tofu cubes along with the cornstarch mixture. Toss bag until tofu are well-coated.1 tablespoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick pan or wok on medium high heat. Place tofu in one layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each sides, until most sides are golden brown. Set aside.
- While cooking tofu, make stir-fry sauce by combining everything needed.¼ cup soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine / Chinese cooking wine, ½ tablespoon maple syrup, ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- Add about ½ tablespoon of oil back to the same pan. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent, before adding in garlic. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.½ medium yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Now, add in carrot and stems of bok choy and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add in leaves of bok choy, bean sprouts, and mushroom. Cook until veggies have soften, about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.1 medium carrot, 2 stalk bok choy, 1 cup beansprouts, 10-12 brown button mushrooms
- Add in stir fry sauce and water. Cook until sauce has thicken, then toss in pan-fried tofu.
- Give it a taste and add more soy sauce, if needed. Serve vegan chop suey with some rice and enjoy while warm!
Reheating - To reheat from frozen, let tofu chop suey thaw overnight in the fridge or on countertop for a few hours. You can reheat it in the microwave or on stove, adding some water if the mixture is getting too thick.