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Delicious Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy – a simple vegan tofu stir-fry that can be made in 20 minutes flat! Serve this over noodles or rice for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Video.
Looking for more? Check out our 50+ Amazing Tofu Recipes!
Laugh because that is the purest sound. – Hafez
This Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes. It’s loaded up with healthy bok choy and can be served on its own, jasmine rice, black rice or rice noodles.
And even though this tofu stir fry is easiest made in a wok, don’t let this stop you if you don’t happen to have one.
Half the time I make this in my cast iron skillet. Either way, it’s a super tasty way to serve up tofu and the vibrant baby bok choy!
Black Pepper Tofu | 30-second video
Stir Fry Tips
- As with most stir-fry recipes, my best advice is to make sure to prep all the ingredients beforehand. The cooking part goes very quickly and it’s all too easy to burn things when you are not prepped and ready.
- Place ingredients close to the stove, ready to go.
- Stir stir stir! This prevents burning when using high heat!
- Use high heat oil– peanut oil has the BEST flavor.
- Don’t overcrowd!
This recipe for Black Pepper Tofu is perfect for two.
Brian and I normally eat this without rice or noodles, for a lower carb dinner, but feel free to add if you like.
Although it has a fair amount of crushed black peppercorns, the Black Pepper Sauce is not overwhelming. It perfectly accentuates the tofu and the bok choy, and the dish feels balanced.
And keep in mind, I’ve simplified this recipe quite a bit to prevent you from having to make an extra trip to the Asian Market for specialty items.
The baby bok choy turns a vibrant green in the wok and gets just slightly wilty.
And even though the dish tastes flavorful and saucy, it also tastes very clean. Which I love…
I’m not sure if it is just my imagination, but the natural water element of the bok choy feels very healing and restorative to the body.
A simple easy recipe to whip up when days are full and time is short. Give this Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy, a try this coming week and let me know what you think!
Have a great holiday weekend.
More recipes you may like:
- 50+ Amazing Tofu Recipes
- Baked Tofu (with 3 Marinades)
- Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Sauce
- Broccoli Stir Fry
- Szechuan Tofu and Veggies
- Sesame Brussels Sprouts Tofu Bowl
- Miso Tofu Bowl with Veggies!
- Tofu Stir-Fry with Broccolini and Mushrooms
Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Vegan, Gluten Free, Main
- Method: Stir fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Diet: Vegan
A simple delicious recipe for Black Pepper Tofu with Bok Choy – a tasty vegan meal that can be made in under 30 minutes!
- 12 ounces firm tofu, patted dry, cut into 1-inch cubes (do not use silken tofu ) or sub chicken or shrimp, see notes
- corn starch for dredging (optional)
- 2 tablespoons wok oil (high-heat oil like avocado oil, or coconut oil )
- 5-finger pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 fat shallot, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 6 ounces baby bok choy (about 4) quartered lengthwise (or if very thick, in half again) see notes.
Black Pepper Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce ( or Gluten-free Liquid Aminos)
- 2 tablespoons Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaoxing Rice Wine) or sub-dry white wine, pale cooking sherry, or rice wine ( not vinegar!)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1–2 teaspoons brown sugar (or sub palm sugar, coconut sugar or agave)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon chili paste (optional)
Serve with rice, or on its own.
- Cut tofu into cubes and blot dry with paper towels, pressing down gently.
- Make the stir-fry sauce, stirring ingredients together in a small until most of the sugar dissolves. Place it by the stove.
- Prep the shallots, garlic and bok choy.
- Dredge the tofu in a light coating of cornstarch (cornstarch is optional, but provides a crispier texture).
- Heat oil in a wok or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the salt and crushed peppercorns to the oil, swirling it around until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add the tofu to the seasoned oil, and sear on all sides until golden and crispy, turning the heat down if need be. Be patient and take your time, it will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Set the crispy tofu aside on a paper towel-lined plate, and wipe the pan out.
- Heat another teaspoon or two of oil over medium heat, and add shallots, garlic and bok choy. Stir continuously until bok choy begins to wilt and shallots become golden, about 3-4 minutes. It will smell amazing. Add the wok sauce to the pan, careful to get all the sugar that may have settled in the bowl.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes, or until bok choy is just tender.
- At the very very end, toss the tofu back into the pan with the bok choy and sauce ( just long enough to coat, only 5-10 seconds!) Cooking any longer will remove the amazing crispiness! Taste for salt and heat, adjusting to your preference.
- Serve immediately, diving between two bowls.
- Feel free to substitute chicken breast for the tofu, cut into cubes, and prepared the same way.
- Feel free to crisp the tofu in the wok, without using cornstarch. Just make sure to pat dry the tofu with paper towels and season the oil in the pan with salt and pepper. Don’t move the tofu around too much in the pan. The tofu will naturally release from the pan when it develops a “crust”. So just turn and flop every so often, letting it get crispy.
- If your bok choy is longer than 4 inches, chop up the white root end into smaller pieces, and stir-fry them first for 1-2 minutes before adding the green parts.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 364
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 1115.3 mg
- Fat: 24.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 18.4 g
- Fiber: 6.4 g
- Protein: 24.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: tofu stir fry, tofu stir fry recipe, vegan stir fry, black pepper tofu, black pepper tofu recipe, black pepper beef, seared tofu with bok choy, tofu in black pepper sauce
We make this at least once a month. A family favorite. Any suggestions to make it low carb? 37grams is high for me, borderline diabetes.
Hi Antoinette- maybe leave out the cornstarch? That will help a tiny bit, also there was an error in the nutritional calculator- so it is fixed now. 🙂
This is one of my favorite tofu recipes. So simple and delicious.
Ours too! So glad you enjoyed!
So I am the worst cook. When you say 5-finger pinch of salt I’m super literal and it was *way too salty* which was my bad I think. Also, by the time the bok choy stems cooked through the leaves were super droopy. I also cut off the root end to wash and they separated which was fine – but when they got that bright green color they still had to cook more. Next time – less salt and just the leaves but the sauce was bueno!!
No-you are not the worst cook Melissa! I will make the recipe more clear and add a couple of notes. 🙂
Hi, thank you. We are wondering why you should not use silken tofu?
Love your site. Use it very often.
It tends to fall apart when stir-fried. Feel free to try it, using extra-firm silken tofu and a delicate hand. 🙂
This is a weeknight staple for me. I do the tofu in the oven as I like it extra crispy, but I LOVE the sauce and the flexibility of the recipe. Tonight it’s broccoli and peppers as that’s all I have in my fridge! So east after a busy day.
I was looking for really light but delicious recipes and came across this and the garlic chili tofu with broccolini. We made this one tonight and it didn’t not disappoint!
Looking forward to trying out the next recipe and discovering many more from your blog. Thank you!!!
Awesome Julia! Thanks so much!
Have made this a few times and didn’t change a thing. Thanks!
Awesome Murray! Glad you liked this!
I usually disapprove of recipe reviews that contain a million substitutions but I had no choice but to make some. We are in a very isolated location so heading to the grocery store wasn’t an option.
I followed the technique, but had to substitute red onion for shallot, red cabbage for bok choy, and ground pepper for crushed. Turned out great!
I’ve not been a big fan of tofu (recently started a mostly vegan diet) but this method of cooking tofu worked for me. I will definitely try it again as written but the few alterations worked well so I think it is a pretty flexible recipe depending on the veggies you have on hand.
BTW, love this blog. Great job!!!
Thanks, Laurie- glad you were able to make this work and gave it a go!
Go-to favorite for about two years… thought it was time to let you know!
Aww…we love hearing that you enjoy this one!
This recipe is absolutely GLORIOUS!!! It is everything I had hoped for and more. Perfect in every way!! I have made it so many times already (to the delight and requests of my family), and thanks to you, I am a tofu hero. I couldn’t thank you enough!! Xoxo
Thanks Sienna! Love that you have mastered tofu!
This was very yummy! It hit the spot! Totally worth it to coat the tofu in corn starch. Makes a huge difference. I added chopped ginger to the garlic for an extra kick. I also added one dried Thai chili pepper (I like spicy).
Perfect Sally, so glad you enjoyed!
This recipe is outstanding and has been in a normal rotation for a couple of years now. That said, I have made some changes over time to suit us. Instead of baby bok choy, I use two heads (leftovers!) of regular bok choy, sliced. I also add four drops of black pepper essential oil to the sauce to add a deeper pepper flavor that we love. I serve it over white or brown rice.
Ooooooo love it!
This is my favorite recipe I’ve had on this site so far. A masterpiece! Learning from Sylvia & Co. how to make crispy tofu has broadened my world and my dinner table — and the black pepper sauce on this dish is out of this world.
Yay! Great to hear.
This dish is simply delicious and super easy to make it. Next time I might just add some seasoning to the cornstarch and then add the tofu. Other than that, this recipe was a huge success at my place.
Great to hear!
Diving between two bowls 😁
We really enjoyed this but I definitely over salted. Next time, I’ll make sure my soy sauce is low sodium or I’ll put less than a five finger pinch in the pan. I used Morton Kosher and wondered what type of salt you used? Tofu was delicious and crispy. Think I’ll add more bok choy next time because we loved it!
Hi Gina- I tend to like things on the salty side- so feel free to adjust recipes to your taste! I use a variety of different salts- pink salt, sea salt, kosher salt, etc…
When the recipe calls for “fresh cracked peppercorns”, are you referring to peppercorns that you grind fresh in your pepper grinder? Or peppercorns that you have crushed with your cast iron skillet but left mostly whole? I’m thinking that “cracking” and “grinding” mean two different things in this case…correct?
Hi Diann, I use them interchangeably. Basically ground fresh.:)