Air Fryer Tofu with Broccoli and Carrot

Chinese take-out is easy and healthy with an air fryer. The crispy tofu is tossed with plenty of vegetables in an orange sauce.  It’s quick to make and contains less oil. {Vegan, Gluten-Free adaptable}

Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot served in big plate with white rice spread close up

I have been hearing good things about air fryers for a long time. A couple weeks ago, I finally made the decision to buy one. I do not regret the investment.

Background

The air fryer really got my attention when I was reading my friend’s latest cookbook – Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer by Kathy Hester. Kathy is a long-time cookbook author who has written several bestselling cookbooks such as The Vegan Slow Cooker and The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot. In her latest air fryer cookbook, she shares some intriguing recipes such as Crunchy Cajun Chickpeas, Samosa, and tofu nuggets, all using next to zero oil. Does that sound too good to be true?

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Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot served in big plate, small serving bowl on the side

Despite the fact that I LOVE deep fried food, I hate making it at home. Plus, it’s not something I want to serve every day due to health factors. Kathy’s recipes were too interesting to resist, so I ended up purchasing an air fryer to experiment with.

What is an air fryer?

Basically, it’s a mini convection oven that heats up super fast. The machine takes up as much counter space as a 4-quart dutch oven, and is only slightly taller. It has a drawer where you cook the food. When you heat it up, the machine blows hot air from the top to heat up the food from all directions, mimicking the process of deep frying.

Before and after picture of tofu made in the air fryer

Why an air fryer?

(1) The biggest merit is that it uses less oil to create a texture similar to deep-fried food.

Throughout my experiments, I found that the texture of the food turned out just like I expected – crispier than oven-baked food, though not as crispy as deep fried. But with the super simple cooking process and the health benefits, I think the results were quite satisfying.

(2) The short cooking time.

An air fryer only takes about 2 minutes to preheat, and it has reduced my prep time substantially. Lately, I’ve been roasting all my vegetables in the air fryer because it takes less time and results in a crispy texture. I’ve also roasted salmon in it. The salmon was ready in less than 8 minutes, with crispy skin and perfect texture.

(3) Less greasy food.

We’ve also tried frying frozen spring rolls and dumplings in the air fryer. We love the fact that the dough became super crispy but was less greasy than the deep fried type.

Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot served in big plate with white rice spread

Crispy tofu made with air fryer

After talking so much about the air fryer, I want to introduce you the dish I learned from Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer. It is a crispy tofu stir fried with plenty of vegetables and served with an orange sauce. Note that the entire recipe contains just 1 tablespoon of oil. But the results were amazing. The tofu cubes turned out crunchy and crispy, and worked beautifully with the vegetables and the sauce. My husband and I devoured the whole plate in a couple of minutes and he demanded more!

Lately, we’ve stocked a lot of tofu in the fridge, because the air fryer provides such a fast and healthy way to prepare protein for dinner. I’ve tried the same method with chicken breast and it turned out just as well.

I’ll stop here, before I start to sound like an air fryer salesperson!

Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot served in big plate close up

Delicious tofu recipes

If you own an air fryer or plan to purchase one soon, leave a comment to let me know. I’d love to develop more recipes to share with you guys 🙂

Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot squared picture

Air Fryer Tofu with Broccoli and Carrot

The recipe was adapted from one in Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer by Kathy Hester. I followed the section on how to make tofu in the air fryer but used my own orange sauce recipe. I hope you enjoy! Replace soy sauce with tamari and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine to make a gluten-free dish.
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Calories: 298kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 1 block (14oz /400 g) extra-firm tofu , pressed and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (or tapioca starch)

Sauce (*Footnote 1)

  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry, or chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced

Stir fry

  • 2 carrots , sliced
  • 1 head broccoli , chopped to bite size

Instructions

Tofu

  • Toss the pressed tofu with the sesame oil and soy sauce to mix well. Sprinkle half the cornstarch over the tofu and toss. Repeat and make sure the tofu is coated evenly.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F (199 C), unless your model doesn’t require it. Once it’s hot, add the coated tofu to your air fryer basket. Set the cooking time to 5 minutes. When the time is up, shake or stir the tofu. Cook again, for an additional 5 minutes.

Stir fry

  • Mix all the stir fry sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • When the tofu is almost ready, heat 1/4 cup water in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the carrots and broccoli. Cover and cook until the veggies turn tender, 1 to 2 minutes. If there is any water left in the pan, cook and stir the veggies without the cover to let the water fully evaporate.
  • Mix the sauce again to fully dissolve the cornstarch, and pour it into the skillet. Quickly stir a few times until the sauce thickens. Add the tofu. Stir a few more times to mix everything together. Immediately transfer to a plate.
  • Serve hot as a main over steamed rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of the 3 servings | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.4g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 12.6g | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 609mg | Fiber: 3.8g | Sugar: 15.3g | Calcium: 22% | Iron: 21%
Air Fryer Tofu with broccoli and carrot collage

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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2 thoughts on “Air Fryer Tofu with Broccoli and Carrot

  1. Monica

    I just made tofu in my air fryer, to test it out, it was awesome. And now, thanks to you, I can add this delicious sauce combination. I can’t wait to try it with the sauce now! Fabulous idea, thank you!!

    Reply
  2. Danielle

    I am totally sold on this air fryer! I have been pondering whether or not to get one, because I hate frying in the house, but sometimes baking just doesn’t provide the results I’m looking for.

    Oh yeah, awesome recipe as usual. I love the use of orange zest!

    Reply