This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more.

Napa cabbage stir fry with salt and pepper tofu, mushrooms, and bell pepper makes a light but satisfying, umami-filled weeknight dinner. Serve it alone or over rice.

napa cabbage stir fry with salt and pepper tofu, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in a bowl with chopsticks
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Why we love this recipe

This quick, easy, nutritionally unimpeachable meal is packed with flavor. It’s:

  • Bursting with crisp-tender veggies
  • A great excuse to eat everyone’s favorite salt and pepper tofu
  • Ready in about 30 minutes
  • Easy to make in a nonstick skillet or a wok

I first published this recipe here back in 2017. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Extra-firm tofu stays tender on the inside while crisping up nicely on the outside. I sometimes decide to make a double-batch of tofu and would welcome you to do the same if you’d like a bigger serving of protein.
  • Cornstarch is gluten-free and kinda magical at making things crispy.
  • Napa cabbage is a variety of Chinese cabbage (and sometimes sold in the U.S. by that name) with tender, light-green leaves and crisp white ribs. It stir-fries beautifully.
  • Cremini mushrooms are also called baby bellas. They have a mild flavor and meaty texture that’s perfect for this dish. They brown nicely because they don’t release nearly as much moisture as their white cousins (which, fun fact, are just a less mature version of the same cultivar).
  • I like to use safflower oil, but any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point is fine. Other good choices include canola, peanut, and vegetable oil blend.
  • Seasoned rice vinegar includes a bit of salt and sugar. You can substitute unseasoned rice vinegar along with a pinch of sugar if that’s what you’ve got.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make Napa cabbage stir fry with salt and pepper tofu. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll dry the tofu well, dice it, toss with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, and cook until crisp outside. Set it aside.
  2. In the same pan (or wok, if you’ve got one), sauté the mushrooms and peppers.
  3. Add the cabbage and cook until tender and reduced in volume by about half. Stir in the soy sauce and vinegar.
  4. Add the tofu back to the pan, along with the scallion or cilantro, and serve alone or over rice.

Expert tips and FAQs

What should I serve it with?

For a low-carb, one-pot meal, you can serve this dish all by itself. I usually prefer to bulk it up with some brown basmati rice or quinoa.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

The tofu is at its best shortly after cooking, so I don’t recommend going out of your way to make this recipe in advance. That said, leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be reheated with a quick spin in the microwave.

More favorite things to do with salt & pepper tofu

napa cabbage stir fry with salt and pepper tofu, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in a bowl with chopsticks

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

napa cabbage stir fry with salt and pepper tofu, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in a bowl with chopsticks
4.44 from 57 votes

Napa Cabbage Stir Fry with Salt and Pepper Tofu

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Napa cabbage stir fry with crisp tofu, mushrooms, and bell pepper makes a light but satisfying, umami-filled weeknight dinner. I sometimes decide to make a double-batch of tofu for a bigger serving of protein — it's great either way.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients 

  • 1 14- ounce 397-gram package extra-firm tofu
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) safflower oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small head napa cabbage, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon 15 mlseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro or scallions
  • Hot chili toasted sesame oil or sriracha, optional

Instructions 

  • Dry tofu well between several layers of paper towels. Cut into approximate 1/2-inch cubes and dry again.
  • Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch, salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat evenly.
  • Warm two tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or wok. Add tofu in a single layer and cook until golden brown on the bottom, then stir once in a while and continue cooking until most sides are golden. This will take about 10 minutes total. Slide tofu out onto a plate.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon oil.
  • Add bell pepper and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, stirring only occasionally, until mushrooms have browned in spots and peppers are slightly tender, and any liquid released has cooked off.
  • Raise heat to high. Add cabbage, and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender and reduced in volume by about half, which will take only a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in soy sauce and vinegar.
  • Stir in reserved tofu and cilantro or scallions.
  • Serve with chili sesame oil or sriracha if you like.

Notes

  1. I like to use safflower oil, but any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point is fine. Other good choices include canola, peanut, and vegetable oil blend.
  2. Seasoned rice vinegar includes a bit of salt and sugar. You can substitute unseasoned rice vinegar along with a pinch of sugar if that's what you've got.
  3. For a low-carb, one-pot meal, you can serve this dish all by itself. I usually prefer to bulk it up with some brown basmati rice or quinoa.
  4. Depending on the liquid content of your cabbage, there may be some tasty liquid at the bottom of the pan. If this happens, you can remove the vegetables from the skillet with tongs or a strainer to avoid the liquid, go with the flow and serve it as-is, or remove the vegetables and then simmer the liquid down into a thicker sauce. (The cornstarch from the tofu will aid this process.)
  5. The tofu is at its best shortly after cooking, so I don't recommend going out of your way to make this recipe in advance. That said, leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and can be reheated with a quick spin in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal, Carbohydrates: 16.9g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 16.3g, Fiber: 2.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Beans + Lentils
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

More Recipes

Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.44 from 57 votes (57 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating