This vegan teriyaki stir-fry has tender-crisp “grilled” vegetables and golden tofu topped with a sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce and served on a bed of steamed rice.
Customize your bowl based on your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand. You can make it as healthy, simple, or as deluxe as you like! Swap the fried tofu for shelled edamame, use any stir-fry type vegetables you happen to have in the fridge, and serve it on top of steamed rice or noodles.
This vegan teriyaki recipe is inspired by Edo Japan, a Canadian teppanyaki-style fast food chain, famous for its super-secret, mild-yet-delicious teriyaki sauce. It’s a great meal to suit a variety of tastes. Garnish your vegan teriyaki bowl with some toasted sesame seeds or add a squirt of sriracha or a spoonful of sambal oelek to kick it up a notch.
Easy Teriyaki-Style Sauce
To make the vegan teriyaki sauce, you’ll need soy sauce, brown sugar (or your favourite unrefined sweetener), water, minced garlic, a knob of ginger, and cornstarch.
Edo’s teriyaki sauce is sweet, mild, and light. This sauce is very similar, with the addition of garlic and a touch of ginger for a little extra oomph.
“Grilled” Vegetables (Without a Teppan Grill)
Edo grills their vegetables on a flat teppan grill and then covers them, steaming them until they’re just cooked. Your average home kitchen probably isn’t equipped with a teppan but you can prepare “grilled-ish” vegetables by searing and steaming them. Heat a very small amount of oil in a pan over high heat. Add the vegetables and sear them to brown the edges before tossing them. Cover your pan and let the vegetables steam (stirring and adjusting the heat as needed) until they’re tender-crisp.
For Edo’s style of “grilled” vegetable teriyaki, I start with broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and shaved cabbage. For convenience, you can avoid shaving the cabbage and use a bag of coleslaw instead.
Stir-fries are a great place to use up whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. Swap in your favourite veggies or whatever you need to use up before your next grocery shop. Snow peas, bok choy, bell peppers, asparagus, and celery are great additions to this vegetable teriyaki.
Pan-Frying Medium (Traditional) Tofu
Most of our tofu recipes recommend choosing firm or extra-firm tofu for stir-fries because it’s sturdy and easy to cook with. You can get away with stir-frying firm tofu and vegetables at the same time without the tofu breaking apart.
Medium (or “traditional”) tofu is a lot more delicate than firm tofu, but it’s incredible when it’s fried. Fried medium tofu is light and airy, crispy on the outside, and soft and silky on the inside. The airy texture creates lots of nooks and crannies to pick up sauces and marinades. It’s a great choice for saucy stir-fries, red and green Thai curries, or as a vegan “egg” (scrambled or in a patty for vegan breakfast sandwiches).
Don’t press the tofu or you’ll lose the light, airy texture. Instead of pressing it, use a clean kitchen towel to pat away any excess moisture. Medium tofu holds a lot of water so it’ll spit and sizzle when you first add it to the pan.
What to do when tofu sticks to the pan:
Sometimes tofu sticks to the pan, even if you’re pan-frying and using plenty of oil. If you try to flip it with force it’ll tear and break apart.
Patience is all you need to manage stuck tofu. Once the tofu has developed a crisp edge, it will release from the pan easily. If your tofu is sticking, it hasn’t developed a crisp crust and it’s not ready to be flipped. If you give the tofu a firm nudge and it doesn’t move, stop and try again in another minute or so.
You can help prevent tofu from sticking by ensuring that you’re cooking over high enough heat, and by patting the tofu dry before frying it.
More ways to prepare tofu for this dish:
Fried crispy coated firm tofu, (like the kind in our Garlicky Cashew Broccoli & Tofu Stir-fry), is chewy and crisp, and the coating picks up plenty of sauce.
Baked tofu, (like our Baked Sriracha and Soy Sauce Tofu), is chewy,flavourful, and easy to prepare.
Store-bought marinated tofu doesn’t need much preparation at all. It’s flavourful and deeply golden-brown around the edges, with a firm, smooth, slightly chewy texture. Chop it up and microwave it or add it to the pan with the vegetables to heat it before serving.
Other vegan protein options:
Fried or baked tempeh, seitan, and store-bought vegan “meats” (like chick’n strips or tenders) are great alternatives to tofu in this recipe. For a lighter and easier meal, use shelled edamame.
Vegan Teriyaki Serving Suggestions
Serve the tender-crisp vegetables and tofu on a bed of steamed jasmine rice or noodles. Ramen noodles or rice noodles are both quick and easy options. Top with as many spoonfuls of teriyaki sauce as you like and add your choice of garnishes.
- toasted sesame seeds
- sambal oelek
- crushed chili flakes
- sliced green onion
- 1 ½ cups (270 grams) jasmine rice, uncooked
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- 350 grams medium/traditional tofu, (cut into ¾” thick triangles)
- Canola oil, for frying
- Optional toppings: toasted sesame seeds, sriracha, sambal oelek, and/or crushed red chili flakes
- 1 ¼ cups (315 ml) water, divided
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) soy sauce
- 3 tbsp (35 grams) brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼” (¾ cm) slice of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch
- ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) canola oil
- 2 cups (200 grams) broccoli florets
- 1 cup (135 grams) sliced carrot (approx. 2 medium carrots)
- ½ cup (60 grams) sliced celery (approx. 1 stalk)
- 1 ½ cups (130 grams) thick-sliced cremini mushrooms (approx. 5 large)
- 1 ½ cups (110 grams) coleslaw/shaved cabbage
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
- Rinse rice thoroughly. Combine rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Stir, cover, and turn heat down to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- In a small dish, stir together ¼ cup (60 ml) water and cornstarch to make a slurry.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (250 ml) water, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and sliced ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch slurry and turn heat down to a simmer. Cook, whisking as needed, until the teriyaki sauce is translucent and reaches your desired consistency. Remove ginger slice, taste, and adjust seasoning to taste with soy sauce or water. If necessary, cook longer to further adjust consistency. Set teriyaki sauce aside until ready to serve.
- Pat tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- In a large skillet/frying pan, add enough canola oil to pan-fry the tofu (about 1/4 “ or 1 cm). Heat oil over medium/medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the tofu and cook until golden brown. Flip tofu with tongs and cook the other side. Drain tofu on a cooling rack or paper towel. Safely discard frying oil.
- Heat canola oil over high heat.
- Add the broccoli florets and cook without stirring until lightly seared with brown bits around the edges. Stir, cooking for approximately 2 minutes total. Add carrot and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes. Add coleslaw, stir, and cover. Steam vegetables until they’re tender-crisp, approximately 2 minutes. (Adjust cooking times based on the size of the vegetable.)
- Serve tofu and vegetables on a bed of rice. Spoon teriyaki sauce over the tofu and vegetables, to taste. Optional: Top with toasted sesame seeds, sriracha, sambal oelek, or crushed red chili flakes.