Vegan Orange Chicken

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure and privacy policy.

Vegan Orange Chicken is a vegetarian spin on the take-out favorite! Crispy tofu is tossed in a flavorful orange sauce, with extra veggies. It tastes like it came from a restaurant, but it’s super-easy to make at home.

vegan orange chicken in a skillet with spoon.

Why You’ll Love It

It’s flavorful. All you need is a few simple ingredients to prepare this vegan orange tofu recipe. It’s slightly sweet, tangy, and spicy, with a kick of ginger and garlic. If you like things extra-saucy, feel free to double the sauce ingredients.

It’s easy. The sauce and veggies cook together all in one pan, while the tofu becomes crispy in the oven. All together, it’s ready in about 40 minutes, but you can cut the cooking time in half if you plan on cooking the tofu ahead of time.

It’s a good source of protein. Tofu (also known as bean curd) contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, with roughly 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Serve it over cooked quinoa for a protein-packed bowl!

It makes eating vegetables delicious. The veggies soak up this sauce better than any protein on its own, so each bite is packed with flavor! I highly recommend adding in cauliflower or broccoli, along with the bell pepper and onion. They blend right in with the sauce, and add more nutrition to the overall dish.

Ingredients You’ll Need

vegan orange tofu ingredients in bowls.

What’s in vegan orange chicken? 

• Orange zest. This adds an intense orange flavor to the sauce, that you can’t get from orange juice alone. I recommend using 1 large fresh orange for this recipe, so you can juice it and zest it.

• Orange juice. This adds a sweet & tart flavor to the sauce. Since you need the zest from a fresh orange anyway, you can juice the fresh orange, too. (I usually get about a 1/3 cup of juice from a large orange. If you get a little more or a little less, that’s okay, too.)

• Ginger. Freshly minced ginger makes this sauce taste irresistible. Don’t skip it!

• Garlic. A must for practically any stir-fry recipe, but it’s not as important as the ginger is, in my opinion.

• Soy sauce or Tamari. Soy sauce adds a salty, umami flavor to this sauce. Use tamari to keep this recipe gluten-free. (I always use the full-sodium version, but if you use a lower-sodium soy sauce, you may want to season with extra salt later.)

• Vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar to add a tangy flavor to the sauce. Rice vinegar or white vinegar should also work, or you can use lemon juice for a swap.

• Maple syrup. This is my sweetener of choice, because it’s in liquid form (which is good for mixing into a sauce) and vegan-friendly. Agave could also be used as a vegan swap, but you might not need to use as much in that case.

You can use any protein or vegetables you like in this easy sauce. I love tossing it with crispy baked tofu, and sautéed veggies, but I imagine it would work with practically any combination of protein and vegetables.

You’ll also need arrowroot or cornstarch, to make an easy batter for the crispy tofu.

How to Make Vegan Orange Chicken

1. Prepare the tofu. 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Drain a package of extra-firm tofu, and slice it in half lengthwise. Place the two halves on a towel to allow excess water to drain while you gather the spices.

Note: You can press the tofu in a towel under something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, if you have the time. This can help the tofu crisp-up even more, but I rarely have the patience for this step when I want a fast weeknight-dinner. It turns out tasty, either way. For step-by-step photos, refer to my Baked Tofu post.

tofu ripped into pieces in mixing bowl.

Rip the tofu into roughly 1-inch pieces, for more of a “chicken” texture, then add them to a large bowl. Toss them with toasted sesame oil, garlic powder, and salt. Stir well, to make sure it’s well coated.

Add in a tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch, and toss again, until you no longer see any white powder. Arrange the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time for even browning.

Want it to cook even faster? Try Air Fryer Tofu, which is done in just 15 minutes!

baked tofu on lined baking sheet.

2. Prepare the sauce. 

While the tofu is cooking, add the orange juice, zest, tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, ginger, salt, and red pepper flakes to a small bowl and stir well.

For a spicy sauce, use a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or you can cut that down to a 1/4 teaspoon for a more mild flavor. (Or omit all together if you’d like to skip the spice.)

This is also a good time to cook any grain you plan on serving with your dinner. I usually pop some rice into the Instant Pot, for a hands-off side dish.

Check out my Instant Pot White Rice, Instant Pot Brown Rice, or Instant Pot Quinoa tutorials, if you need guidance.

sauteed peppers and onions next to bowl of sauce.

3. Sauté the veggies. 

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onion and bell pepper until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add in the orange sauce and cauliflower florets, and stir well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover the pot and let the cauliflower cook until it’s tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, or so.

cauliflower cooked in pan with slurry added in.

4. Finish it off!

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water. (It must be cold or tap water– not hot!) This is called a “slurry.” Add the slurry to the pan of veggies, and stir well. It should thicken up slightly, so the sauce sticks to the veggies.

Remove the tofu from the oven and toss it with the veggies and sauce. Adjust any seasoning to taste. You can add more maple syrup for a sweeter flavor, or a splash of vinegar for a tangy flavor. Or you can add more salt, to boost the overall flavor.

vegan orange chicken served over cooked rice.

Serve warm, over cooked rice with some sliced green onions on top. You can also garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro and sesame seeds, if you like. It tastes like takeout!

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat it in a skillet, along with any cooked rice or noodles you have on hand, for a quick stir fry.

vegan orange chicken served over cooked rice.
Add to Collection
Print Pin
5 from 6 votes

Vegan Orange Chicken

Vegan Orange Chicken is a vegetarian spin on a takeout favorite! Crispy tofu is tossed in a flavorful orange sauce, along with a hefty serving of veggies in each bite.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword vegan orange chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 230kcal

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)

Orange Sauce

  • 1/3 cup orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (for gluten-free; or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger , minced
  • 1 garlic clove , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)

Stir-Fry Veggies

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper , sliced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • cooked rice or quinoa , for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Drain a package of extra-firm tofu, and slice it in half lengthwise. Place the two halves on a towel to allow excess water to drain while you gather the spices. 
    Rip the tofu into roughly 1-inch pieces, for more of a "chicken" texture, then add them to a large bowl. Toss them with toasted sesame oil, garlic powder, and salt. Stir well, to make sure it's well coated. 
    Add in a tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch, and toss again, until you no longer see any white powder. Arrange the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time for even browning. 
  • While the tofu is cooking, add the orange juice, zest, tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes to a small bowl and stir well. For a spicier sauce, you can use a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. (Or omit them all together if you'd like to skip the spice.) Set it aside.
    Note: This is a good time to cook any grain you plan on serving with this dish. See the full post for tips on making Instant Pot Rice or Quinoa.
  • To cook the veggies, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onion and bell pepper until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. 
    Add in the orange sauce and cauliflower florets, and stir well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover the pot and let the cauliflower cook until it's tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • To finish the sauce, stir together 1 tablespoon of arrowroot and 2 tablespoons of cold water. (It must be cold or tap water-- not hot!) Add the mixture to the pan of veggies, and stir well. The sauce should thicken up slightly, as it heats up.
    Remove the tofu from the oven and transfer it to the skillet. Toss with the veggies and sauce, then adjust any seasoning to taste. You can add more maple syrup for a sweeter flavor, or a splash of vinegar for a more tangy flavor. Or you can add more salt, to boost the overall flavor. 
    Serve warm, over cooked rice with some sliced green onions on top. You can also garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro and sesame seeds, if you like.
    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Nutrition information is for a 1/4 of this recipe, not including the rice or quinoa that you plan on serving it with. Keep in mind that the sodium content with vary based on the type of soy sauce you use, so use a low-sodium version if you need to. This information is just an estimate, and not a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1166mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 973IU | Vitamin C: 74mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

If you try this vegan orange chicken recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.

Get more recipes + meal plans in my books:

detox book and meal plan

Get Started Today!

Get a free 7-Day Kick Start when you sign up for my email newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Karen Standish

Amazing! We tried the vegan orange tofu for dinner tonight. Very yummy and filling!!! We will keep this dinner in our rotation 🙂

Jenny

Just made this dish and it did not disappoint! Very easy and super delicious. I cut the maple syrup down to just 1 tablespoon and I was glad I did – it was plenty sweet, and i think next time I’ll just omit entirely. We also substituted broccoli for cauliflower. Thanks for another winner!

Nichole

Would this be a dish chicken lovers won’t know the difference? 😂 Trying to sneak in meatless meals for teen brothers for dinner.

    Megan Gilmore

    My husband said he couldn’t tell the difference, but I feel like I can tell that the texture isn’t exactly chicken. But it’s totally worth a shot! I’d love to hear how it goes for you. 🙂

NicholE

Made this half vegan and half with chicken for my meat eater fam. I’m not fully vegan but I do enjoy meatless and dairy free options mostly! This was SO good!! I used coconut aminos instead and on orange with pineapple juice! I used all organic ingredients and local honey instead of maple syrup! It was so amazing!!

Anne

Delicious! I’ll be making this again and using the Crispy Tofu process in other recipes. Thanks!

Kelly

This was amazing! The rest of my family doesn’t typically like tofu, but everyone loved this!

Get Started Today!

Get a free 7-Day Kick Start when you sign up for my email newsletter