Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce

This was inspired by a recipe for “Chicken with Thai Peanut Sauce” that I saw in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper a few years ago. Everything about the recipe was vegan except the chicken so it was very easy to veganize it by substituting tofu instead. While the sauce and tofu are easy to prepare, you will end-up using 3-4 pots by the time you’ve prepared veggies and/or rice as well. But I think that the effort is well worth it and I love being able to make this Thai-style dish fresh from my kitchen.

Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Notes

  • I like to serve this with colorful veggies, and sometimes rice too. For the veggies, I just quickly saute them in a wok with a bit of water.
  • I find that the sauce is very well balanced, and isn’t overly coconut, peanut or red curry tasting. It’s just a nice combination of all those great flavors. I once forgot to use the red curry paste and still thought this tasted great, so I’ve marked it as optional below. Also, the original recipe called for chunky peanut butter, but I’ve used smooth at times and it works just as well. If you really like a strong peanut flavor and a bit of crunch to your meal, feel free to serve it with ground peanuts on the side.
  • I forgot to sprinkle fresh coriander (cilantro) on my plate before snapping the pictures, and while it’s not entirely necessary, it’s great on this dish if you’re a fan of cilantro.

Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Love Thai food? Then this recipe is for you! Simply add your favorite vegetables and an optional rice/quinoa base, and you can enjoy this restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own home (possibly in the less time than you’d be waiting for a bland take-away)! Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Thai, Asian
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2-4 servings of rice/quinoa (optional)
  • 2-4 cups chopped mixed vegetables (optional)
  • 1 block firm tofu (350g or so)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil (or peanut/canola oil), divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped/grated
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (or ¼ small onion)
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili pepper
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter (or almond/cashew butter)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1+1/2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp red Thai curry paste (optional – make sure it’s vegan)
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • Chopped ground peanuts (optional – for serving)
Instructions
  1. If you plan on serving with rice/quinoa, start cooking it as per package instructions.
  2. To make tofu marinade: In a flat dish, mix the ¼ cup of oil, garlic, cumin, and pepper.
  3. Press the tofu between paper towels to dry it as much as possible. Cut it into 1 inch rectangles or triangles and gently toss it into the marinade to evenly coat the tofu. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the ginger, shallot and crushed red chili pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Add peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, tamari, and red Thai curry paste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a couple tablespoons of water.
  5. If you’re serving this with vegetables, begin sautéing them in a separate pan at this point.
  6. Place the tofu mixture in a frying pan and sauté over medium-low heat until browned on both sides.
  7. Divide the rice/quinoa, vegetables and tofu into plates/bowls and drizzle with peanut sauce. Top with fresh coriander and ground peanuts.

Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Tofu with Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce - Vegan and Gluten-Free

35 Comments

  1. Angela says:

    This looks delicious. I need to start cooking Thai food on my own – I’ve only done a few dishes. I always go out to eat Thai, but this seems easy enough. I guess I have no excuse now. Great pictures!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Angela, Thanks for the kind words. Let me know if you make this & what you think! :)

      Reply
  2. I just recently started cooking Thai again – years ago my friend and I made several dishes from a cookbook she had – it was so much fun! I’m currently cooking with green curries – it’s been really fun to come up with flavors that compliment each other – we LOVE Thai at our house!!

    this looks delicious, and the photos are stunning!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kristina – thanks for your comment! I agree, Thai food s so yummy. The flavor combinations are so awesome and I’m a sucker for anything containing coconut milk and/or peanuts and/or fresh herbs. Green curry is great but I think red is my favorite :)

      Reply
  3. Tanya H. says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Delicious!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Tanya – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Glad to hear you liked it. I’ve got leftovers for lunch today myself ;)

      Reply
  4. Looks awesome! I love tofu and love curry!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Jessica – I love them too! :)

      Reply
  5. DNMP says:

    Oh my goodness! I made this tonight and this was sooooooooo good. I want to eat more even though I am full. It has just enough spice for taste and spark. Wow, this turned out so well. I just cooked it with broccoli and baby carrots. I will add some red pepper for color though.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe is definitely going into my rotation. I felt like I was eating at a thai restaurant :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much for the for your comments and for taking the time to provide feedback. I’m so happy to hear that you liked this dish and that it will be part of your rotation :)

      Reply
  6. Kristine says:

    I made this last night and OH MY GOSH! It is amazing. I just devoured the leftovers for lunch and shared the recipe with a bunch of friends. This is without a doubt the best tofu recipe I’ve ever eaten and probably one of my favorite dishes that I’ve ever cooked, even in my pre vegan days. Please keep posting. I get 90% of my meal ideas from you and I generally follow them to a T. I’m not creative in the kitchen and your blog has made going vegan easy and delicious! Sooo glad I stumbled across it many months ago!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kristine – I’m so glad that you liked this dish. I was really happy with it when I first made it as well. Thanks for the feedback and kind words about my site. I try and share my favorite recipes and I love having them here as it keeps things simple for days when I don’t feel creative enough to wing it :)

      Reply
  7. YogaKooK says:

    Hi Angela! I made this tonight and it earned a thumbs up from my hubby. I added in some seasoned rice vinegar in the peanut dressing when it cooked down and got a little thick, which worked great b/c it gave it a little more sweetness (my peanut butter didn’t have any sugar in it) and tang. I also baked the tofu, b/c I find it a lot less messy for the same results as pan frying. I am very much looking forward to the leftovers!!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      So glad you and the hubby liked it. I like your addition of rice vinegar – will try to remember that next time I make it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  8. sheree says:

    this is my go to recipe, everyone in the family loves it, its quick and easy and so yummy. and an extra bonus is that my house smells devine whilst its cooking.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Agreed – it smells so delicious. I really need to make this again soon. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  9. Malte says:

    Just made this in our little student kitchen. It was a huge effort, because naturally we don’t have a lot of space, and only 3 of the 4 spots on our stove work, but in the end i managed to make a super delicious meal!
    For students: do this, but only if you bring a lot of time and space and can concentrate on what you’re doing.
    Oh, and i used a little too much peanut butter, so the sauce is quite “heavy”. It should also work fine with less! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the tips. I agree that it’s a bit of work and involves a few pans, but I think the the results are worth it ;)

      Reply
  10. Tyler says:

    I cooked tofu for the first time today for this meal and it was DELICIOUS.

    I’ve recently tried to reduce the number of meat dishes that I’m eating, so this will be a fantastic alternative. I have a few vegan co-workers and I know they will love this too.

    Thanks! It is certainly going into the rotation. I don’t like cooking much (and don’t do it often), but I found this easy and straight forward directions.

    I put the meal over quinois and I steamed broccoli and kale because it was what I had in the fridge and it was super with this!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, I’m honored that you chose this as your first tofu recipe. You’ve reminded me to make this again, it’s been too long :)

      Reply
  11. Carlie says:

    I’ve made this a few times now for my non vegan friends and family and it’s been a hit every time. My sister said it’s the best food she’s ever had. Such a good recipe. I sometimes add some lemongrass to the sauce and fry the tofu so it’s nice and crunchy.

    I’m making it for friends tonight and serving it with rice noodles and veges. Can’t wait!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that. Love the addition of lemongrass – must remember that next time I make it :)

      Reply
  12. May says:

    I want to thank you, it was sooo delicious. I made a similar recipe without the coconut but now can never go back ^_^

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      HA HA! Once you go coconut… He he :)

      Reply
  13. Indu says:

    Hi!

    I tried making this Tofu Coconut with Peanut sauce dish and turned out great except I feel it had no taste of salt. Can we add salt or add Soya sauce or something else to make it a better taste. Please suggest. If I want to add chicken then marinate and cook it in the same way as you cook tofu. Please suggest. Thank you.

    Indu

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      It already has tamari/soy sauce, but as with all recipes, feel free to add more salt to taste. I can’t comment on the chicken though!

      Reply
  14. Lee says:

    I am vegetarian trying to make the change to vegan. Dishes like this makes things a little easier

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s so kind of you to say. I’m honored! Congrats on deciding to go vegan. It gets easier, I promise :)

      Reply
  15. Peter says:

    Hi Angela

    Long time reader but brand new vegan, finally made the jump! You’re site was the first place I went to :)

    Just one question, would you be able to sub out the coconut milk with another plant based milk and maybe add some dried coconut so not to lose the flavour? Coconut milk can be quie expensive in the UK and I always have soya milk and dried coconut on hand in my pantry.

    Thanks for the great resource

    Peter

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Congrats on going vegan! I’m so honored that my recipes will be helping you embark upon this journey :)

      Great question about the coconut milk. Because there are so many other flavors going on here, I think it would be fine to use almond or soy milk instead of the coconut milk. If you can, use coconut oil for the marinade and the frying. I think some shredded coconut (toasted?) would be great sprinkled onto the dish before serving!

      Reply
  16. Rin says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for this amazing recipe. I am newly vegan and I made this for myself and my other half and we both loved it! I’m pretty sure it’s our new favourite meal and I will be making it again on Valentines Day.

    Reply
    • Yay! I’m so honored that my humble little recipe will be featured in your Valentine’s menu. Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
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