Love the Panda Express Tofu Eggplant Recipe? Me too, and this is a delicious copycat version to make at home!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’ve never tried the eggplant tofu at Panda Express, it’s very, very good, one of their best menu items.
It’s a sizzling hot, sweet & sour creamy crispy eggplant tofu dish with bell peppers that’s easy to make at home. Next time, skip the take-out chow mein and make this easy stir fry, and serve it with rice or on it’s own – sesame seeds and fortune cookies optional!
Here’s a few good reasons to give this tofu recipe a try:
- This copycat recipe makes a great meatless option, which always seems to be appreciated 🙂
- While this is not the exact recipe as Panda Express, it’s close and very, very tasty.
- Fabulous with hot buttered white or brown rice or riced cauliflower.
- Easy and quick to make at home.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the full recipe and list of ingredients, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Eggplant: Medium size Japanese eggplant works great in this recipe, but any variety will do. Slice eggplant into 2 inch chunks.
- Peppers: Use a large red bell pepper or several small multi-colored peppers, cut into small chunks.
- Shallot: For it’s wonderful, mild flavor.
- Tofu: Superfirm is the best for this recipe as it doesn’t need pressing to release excess moisture.
- Soy Sauce: Low sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.
- Olive Oil: For the skillet.
- Garlic: Minced! For lots of extra flavor.
Step-By Step Instructions
- Cook the red peppers and shallots in a large skillet over medium-high heat until soft, transfer to a medium bowl.
- Make crispy tofu by searing it on all sides to light golden brown, set aside.
- Stir fry eggplant until soft and crispy brown on the edges.
- Add everything back together in the skillet on medium-low heat, then and add a homemade, rich savory sauce…with red pepper flakes if you like it spicy!
- Toss together and serve!
Tips and Possible Variations
- Japanese eggplant works best in this recipe, but any variety will do.
- Superfirm tofu doesn’t need to be pressed, but if using “firm” or “extra firm tofu” you’ll need to press the moisture out of it for 30 minutes. Do this by “sandwiching” the tofu block in between several layers of paper towels, then place a weight on top, like a can of beans or soup. This will force the moisture to soak into the paper towels, an essential step as this tofu is pan-fried.
- Use Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids instead of soy sauce if you’d like.
- Use green onions or white onion instead of shallot if you prefer.
- Add some red pepper flakes or a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce to the stove top liquid mixture if you like a spicy sauce.
- This eggplant tofu recipe is very good with hot, buttered rice or riced cauliflower.
- Round out this recipe with some nibbles to start, like these fantastic Avocado Sushi Rolls (with almond butter dipping sauce) and these addicting Sweet and Spicy Almonds.
- Serve these extra-tasty Teriyaki Chicken on a Stick (everyone loves them) or some juicy brown sugar pork chops to go alongside for a full dinner. Grab some frozen eggrolls at the grocery store too!
- At this point, you must have a salad, and I’d highly recommend a simple, incredible celery salad for it’s great flavors and crisp, fresh texture. This fantastic carrot salad would be very good too. Have both!
- Dessert is mandatory at my house 🙂 and this chocolaty, brownie-batter-like hummus with store-bought cookies is fun, casual and soooo good. Or whip up these easy, fabulous cheesecake bars. You won’t be sorry!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Use a low-sodium variety if you can find it and start slow, like a quarter of a cup. Better to add less than more.
Yes! Skip them if you want, or substitute a cup of your favorite vegetable instead. Try fresh zucchini or asparagus.
An airtight container works best, kept refrigerated for 1-2 days.
More Recipes to Try
- Mini Eggplant Recipe: A flavorful, fresh side dish
- Simple Chickpea Salad: An easy, delicious little salad
- Easy Sweet Recipes at Home: A list of some easy, great desserts
- Rice Pudding with Rhubarb: A favorite, homey recipe
- Want to know more about Studio Delicious? Come over here!
- Grilled Peppers and Onions Recipe: A fantastic side that goes with everything
- Shredded Chicken Burrito Bowl: A fantastic one-bowl meal
If you’ve tried this Panda Express Tofu Eggplant Recipe, or any other recipe on Studio Delicious, please rate the recipe 5 stars and tell me how you liked it in comments below!
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Panda Express Tofu Eggplant Recipe
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil Plus an extra tablespoon or two if needed
- 1 cup Red Bell Pepper or mini colored bell peppers, seeds removed and sliced 1 large red bell pepper or approximately 6 minis
- 1 Shallot, sliced thinly
- 1½ pounds Eggplant, cut into 2" pieces, unpeeled See note
- 1 pound Superfirm tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes See note
- FOR THE SAUCE
- ½ cup Water
- ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce See note
- 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Honey
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- 2 cloves Garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
- 2 teaspoons Grated Ginger Or ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Water
- In a large non-stick skillet, add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the peppers and shallots and a pinch of salt, cook on medium-high heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a medium bowl.
- To the same skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil and the cubed tofu, searing it over medium-high heat on all (or most) of the sides. Transfer the tofu to the bowl with the peppers and shallots.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and let it heat for about 30 seconds, then add the eggplant and cook undisturbed on medium-high heat for 1 ½ – 2 minutes. Toss to cook the other side, adding another tablespoon of olive oil if it seems a little dry. Cook a few minutes longer until the eggplant softens and is light golden brown.
- Now add the peppers, shallots and tofu back into the skillet, as well as half of the sauce. Toss to combine, and let it cook together for a minute or two to heat through. Serve with rice if you'd like and the remaining sauce on the side.
- FOR THE SAUCEIn a medium saucepan, add the ½ cup water, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil and ginger. Whisk together and let this simmer together on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and the water together, then slowly add this to the saucepan while continuing to whisk. Let this simmer for 2 minutes or so on medium heat, whisking occasionally. The sauce should be slightly thickened with a syrupy consistency.
- Japanese eggplant work well in this recipe, but any variety will do.
- Superfirm tofu doesn’t need to be pressed, but if using “firm” or “extra firm” you’ll need to press the moisture out of it for 30 minutes. Do this by “sandwiching” the tofu block in between several layers of paper towels, then place a weight on top, like a can of beans or soup. This will force the moisture out to soak into the paper towels, an essential step as the tofu is pan fried.
- Use Braggs Liquid Amino Acids instead of soy sauce if you’d like.
- If you want to use store bought teriyaki sauce instead of making a homemade sauce, you can. Just start slow..better to use less than more.
- Super important to read the whole recipe before you begin
- Pay attention to the ingredient list and photos for the recipe
- If possible, prep your ingredients a little before you start
- Always use a sharp knife for safety
- Use the size of pan called for in the recipe
- For savory recipes, taste and season as you go
- Buy fresh, organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible