Looking for ways to make your favorite vegan takeout foods at home? Then look no further! My Cast Iron Tofu Fried Rice turns a bit of basic tofu and some leftover rice into an umami bomb of flavor that can be customized to utilize whatever you have in your fridge. Air-Fried Coconut Tofu is a great way to get the crunch and sweet-savory flavor of your favorite coconut-breaded fried foods without the splattery mess. Finally, my Sweet-Spicy Eggplant and Broccoli Rabe turns humble vegetables into a saucy and savory dish that’s perfect to satisfy all of your delivery desires.

When we can, we should all be supporting our favorite local restaurants so that they’re able to endure difficult time. But there is also something to be said about embracing our time at home, and using this time as a gift to try out new things in the kitchen, and most importantly, to master dishes that we we could only get from from a paper box.

When I do go out to restaurants or order takeout, there is a 75% chance that it will be from an Asian restaurant. I love Thai food and Korean food, and Chinese food and Sushi, and I could definitely eat all of these cuisines on a daily basis. And I pretty much do… So of course those are the types of foods that I try to cook at home. 

As if I don’t already live in the kitchen, I’ve been spending a lot more time in there just playing and testing out new recipes. These three dishes came out of me chasing cravings, not wanting to leave the house to get specific ingredients, and using what I have on hand to make the foods that I love.  

Just a note on all of these dishes: I’m obsessed with cooking with sesame and chili oil. Pretty much any time I cook an Asian inspired dish, I use one or both of them. They add a tremendous amount of flavor to the dish, but if you don’t have them on hand, then go ahead and just use canola or a neutral oil. 

But if you do want to make your own chili oil, I’ll link my recipe HERE

Check out this video to see how I whipped up these three dishes in under 30 minutes, and then scroll down for a simple list of ingredients and directions so that you can make these dishes for yourself in the comfort of your own home.

These dishes aren’t about recipes, as much as they are about ratios and scale, and using what you have on hand to deliver a takeout experience. Once you understand the techniques, then you can sub in your favorite vegetables or whatever ingredients you have on hand. 

Cast Iron Tofu Fried Rice

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10”-12” inch nonstick or cast iron skillet
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil: sesame, chili, canola, or a combination thereof
  • ¼ block of firm tofu, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • ½ cup onion: red, white, yellow, the white part of green, leeks…
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked and cooled rice (preferably refrigerated overnight)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Frozen peas and/or shelled edamame and/or diced carrots
  • Salt to taste
  • Green onion and cilantro for garnish. 

Begin by heating up your skilled to medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of oil to the pan. Add the tofu and pan-fry until golden and crispy. Add your onions and saute until softened and translucent. Break up the chilled rice with your hands, and distribute it evenly across the pan. Add soy sauce and garlic. Turn the heat up to high, and “fry”, stirring and tossing constantly, until the rice is just starting to get some color. Taste for seasoning, and add a pinch of salt, sugar, or a bit more soy sauce if the flavor is flat. Add frozen peas/edamame, and toss for another minute before turning off the heat. Top with thinly sliced green onions and chopped cilantro. 

Variations:

Don’t have tofu? Just add more veggies. Tempeh would be great as well and could be treated in the same way as the tofu. Vegan meats are also an option, just cook them at the beginning, give them a bit of color, and then proceed with the recipe. 

If you wanted to add fresh vegetables, I would recommend sauteing them in the pan with a bit of oil first, seasoning them with a bit of salt, and just cooking them until they are to your liking. Remove them from the pan, proceed with cooking the rest of the dish, and then add the perfectly cooked vegetable back in at the end. 

If you wanted to add more or larger frozen veggies than peas or shelled edamame, thaw those and try to get as much water out before adding them to the pan at the end. Frozen veggies don’t need to be cooked, but the could benefit from a bit of color. If they are added in when still frozen, they will spit out a bunch of water and ruin the rice. 

Sweet-Spicy Eggplant and Broccoli Rabe

Sweet Spicy Vegan Eggplant and Broccoli Rabe

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 10’ to 12” skillet
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil: sesame, chili, canola, or a combination thereof
  • ½ cup onion: red, white, yellow, the white part of green, leeks…
  • 1 or 2 Chinese or Japanese eggplants (or zucchini, or combination)
  • ½ bunch broccoli rabe or greens of choice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared teriyaki sauce (or equal parts soy sauce and agave or maple syrup or brown sugar)
  • Sriracha or sambal to taste
  • Green onion
  • Cilantro 
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste

Begin by heating up your skillet to medium-high heat. Chop your eggplant into ½ to ¾ inch pieces. Add a bit of oil to the pan, and add your eggplant (or zucchini) so that one of their cut sides is touching the pan. Cook until golden, and then flip them over. Cook the other side until golden, and then taste for doneness. They should be softened yet still “al dente”. Remove them from the pan and set aside. 

Add a bit more oil to the pan and add in your onions and saute until softened. Cut your broccoli rabe into 1 inch segments, and add them to the pan. Cook until the leaves are wilted, and the stems are “al dente”. Return the eggplant (or zucchini) to the pan. Add teriyaki and hot sauce, and toss to coat. Top with thinly sliced green onion, chopped cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds. 

Variations:

You can use any greens you want. Depending on the greens, they will have different cooking times. Spinach will take about thirty seconds, while collards and kale will take a few minutes. Just saute, and taste as you go. When you want to eat more, they’re done. 

You could add tofu to this dish. Just drain and cut your tofu into 1 inch cubes or triangles. Cook the tofu just like the eggplant, allowing them to brown on each side until golden and crispy. Remove them from the pan, and proceed with the rest of the instruction. 

Air-Fried Coconut Tofu

Vegan Air Fried Coconut Tofu
Vegan Air Fried Coconut Tofu

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ block firm or extra firm tofu
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • ¼ cup prepared teriyaki sauce (or equal parts soy sauce and agave or maple syrup or brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame oil

Begin by cutting your tofu into triangles, or whatever shape you would like. Sandwich your cut tofu between two towels, and allow to dry out a bit while you prepare the other ingredients. In a bowl, combine the chickpea flour, teriyaki sauce, and water. On a plate, or in a shallow baking dish, combine panko, coconut flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of sesame oil for flavor and to help the coating brown. 

Working a couple at a time, coat your tofu in the chickpea batter, and then with the panko/coconut crumbs. Place the breaded tofu into your airfryer, being careful not to crowd it, and then cook at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. When they’re golden brown and crispy, they’re done. 

Serve hot with sweet chili sauce or prepared teriyaki sauce.

Variations:

If you do not have an air-fryer, you can bake the tofu at 400 degrees F., on a metal rack, 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Flip halfway through so that they brown evenly, 

You could use the same breading technique to make coconut cauliflower or pretty much any vegetable. Depending on the size or shape of the vegetable, the cooking times will vary. Check out my Vegan Air Fryer 101 video HERE to see how to adapt this recipe.