Tofu Fried Cauliflower Rice is a healthy and super flavorful weeknight dinner that comes together in 30 minutes or less. It’s made with frozen vegetables and extra firm tofu that’s marinaded and air fried or baked to crispy perfection.
If you’re looking to step up your meatless dinner game AND like to eat low-carb, this dish should enter your weekly meal rotation. It is super easy to make and truly only takes 30 minutes, especially if you prep your tofu ahead of time.
It’s also a fabulous meal to make when your fridge is essentially empty but you have a well-stocked freezer. Last year we invested in a deep chest freezer and it is overflowing with frozen meat, giant bags of frozen cauliflower rice and various frozen vegetable and fruit blends (thank you, coronavirus!). I love having all these options when there is no time to go to the grocery store and I need to fix dinner after a long day.
One thing I always have in my fridge deli drawer is a block of extra firm tofu because it lasts for a long time and is a good fall back protein option if you forget to take out meat or fish to thaw and it’s one hour countdown to dinner. If you have an air fryer, I highly recommend making your tofu in it because it comes out super crispy in no time. You will never go back to making tofu in a skillet or in the oven, once you try it!
WHY EAT CAULIFLOWER RICE?
Or should we ask, why NOT eat cauliflower rice? Unless you really don’t like the taste of cauliflower, it is the best low-carb rice replacer that I know. It’s essentially 100% raw cauliflower that’s chopped up in the food processor until it resembles the grains of rice. No grains, no carbs, no sugars involved but it very much acts like rice by staying neutral in flavor and soaking up all the deliciousness it's cooked in.
Try it instead of white rice in your favorite comfort foods, such as stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls, in this Thai-inspired Creamy Coconut Shrimp with Lime Cilantro Cauliflower Rice, in this insanely good keto Chicken and Mushroom Cauliflower Rice Casserole, or in one of my most popular recipes: Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl with cauliflower rice and ground chicken.
I typically use frozen cauliflower rice in most dishes because it’s easy but if you have fresh cauliflower rice on hand, or if you have a head of cauliflower and a food processor at home, feel free to rice it yourself and use it in this recipe. It will be perfect either way!
Note: if you buy already riced fresh cauliflower at the store, make sure to pay attention to expiration date and just look at the color and texture. Bagged cauliflower rice does not have a long shelf life. If it’s firm and bright white, it should be fresh and will store in the fridge for a couple days. If, however, you see that it’s turning gray, soft and watery, don’t buy because it’s pretty much on its way out. This happened to me way too many times, so now I tend to stick to frozen.
Now let’s make Tofu Fried Cauliflower Rice!
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Extra Firm Tofu: an inexpensive plant-based protein made with soy beans with a relatively long shelf life. You can find it refrigerated in most grocery stores. Make sure it’s extra firm or you won’t be able to get it truly crispy.
- Cauliflower Rice: a low-carb rice alternative which is essentially finely chopped up raw cauliflower. Use fresh or frozen cauliflower rice in this recipe.
- Frozen Vegetable Mix: the one I use has peas, carrots, corn and green beans in it but you can use a different kind, if you prefer. Peas and carrots or even just peas and corn will also work.
- Eggs: scrambled into the stir fry for a true “fried rice” experience. If you’re vegan, you can omit them.
- Onion: white or yellow onion will work for this recipe.
- Garlic & Ginger: use fresh aromatics, if possible. I usually store fresh ginger in my freezer and use it as needed. It’s super easy to grate when frozen.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: its nutty flavor adds a wonderful aroma to the dish. If you don’t have any, use avocado or vegetable oil instead.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: used in the tofu marinade and then again to flavor the cauliflower rice. For a gluten-free option, use tamari or coconut aminos. If you’re using aminos, you may need to add a little more because its flavor is less intense than soy sauce and tamari.
- Chili Garlic Paste: this is optional and adds a bit of heat to the tofu marinade.
HOW TO MAKE CRISPY TOFU IN AN AIR FRYER OR IN THE OVEN?
In a medium bowl prepare tofu marinade by whisking together 2 tablespoons soy sauce (tamari or coconut aminos), 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon garlic-chili paste, if using.
Add tofu blocks and stir carefully not to break the tofu too much with a silicone spatula to coat. If you have time or are prepping ahead of time, let the tofu marinade in the fridge for 15 minutes to a couple hours.
If you have an air fryer, preheat it to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the bottom of the basket with non-stick spray and add tofu cubes or rectangles in a single layer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to promote even cooking.
If baking in the oven, place the tofu on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or coated with non-stick spray and bake in 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, flipping tofu pieces once after 15 minutes. If it’s not crispy enough for your liking, you can bake it 5-10 minutes little longer.
Whatever method you choose, your cooked tofu should be crispy on the outside and soft and spongy inside.
HOW TO MAKE FRIED CAULIFLOWER RICE?
Start by heating up some sesame oil in a large skillet and cooking onion until softened. Add ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant but not browned. Then dump in frozen veggies and cauliflower rice. Stir fry until soft.
Make a well in your mixture, pour in the eggs and cook stirring until soft scramble forms. Then mix in with the veggies, add the soy sauce, cook a little more. Taste, season with salt and pepper and more soy sauce, if needed.
Serve with crispy tofu and your favorite toppings. Here’s what would taste great on top of Tofu Fried Cauliflower Rice:
- toasted sesame seeds
- crushed roasted peanuts
- chopped cilantro
- chopped chives
- Sriracha sauce or your favorite hot sauce
STORAGE & MEAL PREP TIPS
If you make it ahead of time, for best results I recommend storing cauliflower fried rice in one airtight container and the crispy tofu in another. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Once ready to serve, heat up the cauli rice on the stove or in the microwave and throw the already cooked tofu in the air fryer for 2 minutes or in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or until hot. Serve with your favorite toppings.
If you like meal prepping, this dish is perfect for bringing to work or school. Just divide the fried cauliflower rice with veggies between 4 airtight containers, add crispy tofu blocks and top with Sriracha, sesame seeds and chopped cilantro. Cover with lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy cold or heat up in the microwave.
MORE MEATLESS DINNER IDEAS
If you tried making this Tofu Fried Cauliflower Rice, let me know if you liked it in a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
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Crispy Tofu Fried Cauliflower Rice is a healthy and super flavorful weeknight dinner that comes together in 30 minutes or less. It’s made with frozen vegetables and extra firm tofu that’s marinaded and air fried or baked to crispy perfection.
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 block of extra firm tofu
12 oz frozen or fresh cauliflower rice
1 lb frozen vegetable mix (carrots, peas, corn & green peas)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic-chili paste (optional)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos, divided
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced or crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Press the tofu. Take the tofu out of its packaging, drain, wrap in a clean cotton cloth or paper towels, place on a plate and place something heavy on top of it (I usually use a cast iron skillet). If you have a tofu press, use that instead. Keep it pressed for at least 15 minutes to get rid of most of the moisture.
- Place the now dry tofu on a cutting board and cut into cubes or rectangles. I like to cut mu tofu into 2-inch rectangles but it’s up to you.
- In a medium bowl prepare tofu marinade by whisking together 2 tablespoons soy sauce (tamari or coconut aminos), 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon garlic-chili paste, if using. Add tofu blocks and stir carefully not to break the tofu too much with a silicone spatula to coat. If you have time or are prepping ahead of time, let the tofu marinade in the fridge for 15 minutes to a couple hours. If you’re short on time though, you can skip this step and cook the tofu right away.
- Bake or air fry tofu. If baking in the oven, place the tofu on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or coated with non-stick spray and bake in 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, flipping tofu pieces once after 15 minutes. If you have an air fryer, preheat it to 375 degrees F. Spray the bottom of the basket with non-stick spray and add tofu blocks in a single layer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to promote even cooking. It should be crispy on the outside.
- While the tofu is baking or air frying, make the fried cauliflower rice. Heat up the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet, add the onion and stir fry for a minute or two until softened. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry more for another minute until fragrant. Add frozen vegetables mix and frozen cauliflower rice and cook on medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes or more. If using fresh cauliflower rice, add it a couple minutes after the frozen vegetable mix and combine. Fresh cauliflower rice will take less time to cook.
- Make a well in the middle of your vegetable mixture, turn the heat to medium-high, pour the lightly beaten eggs into the well and cook scrambling with the spatula until eggs are no longer liquid. Stir into the cauliflower-veggie mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, stir and give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper and more soy sauce (tamari or coconut aminos) if needed.
- Place the stir fry in bowls and top with crispy tofu.
- Optional recommended toppings include chopped up cilantro or spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of Sriracha.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: dinner, vegetarian
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: air fryer tofu, fried cauliflower rice, tofu fried rice