This Tofu Paprikash recipe is rich, creamy and vegan! Seared tofu and mushrooms are bathed in a decadent Hungarian paprika sauce. Serve over pasta, rice, potatoes, or roasted cauliflower for a quick, delicious vegan dinner in just 40 minutes.

vegetarian paprikash simmering in skillet with tofu, red bell peppers, and fresh parsley.

A couple of years ago, while in Budapest, we enjoyed the most delicious Paprikash! A traditional Hungarian dish, it is rich, robust, creamy, and, well, basically, all the things I love! As I was eating each delicious bite, I kept thinking how easily this could be made vegan.

Here, we serve it with tofu, but with most recipes on the blog, know that it is adaptable; you can also make this with white fish, shrimp, or traditional chicken. The base of the sauce is coconut milk, rather than sour cream, with a few drops of vinegar to give it that signature tangy finish. But we offer other options too! Read the recipe notes.

vegetarian paprikash in a bowl with tofu.

Why This Recipe Works

  1. Plant-based, yet adaptable! The sauce is dairy-free and vegan, but can be made with white fish, shrimp, or chicken.
  2. So many ways to enjoy. Serve with pasta, rice, or roasted cauliflower.
  3. Comforting and flavorful. Rich, robust, creamy, and tangy!

What is Paprikash?

Paprikash, also known as Chicken Paprikash or “Paprikás Csirke” is a traditional Hungarian stew characterized by its rich use of sweet paprika, which gives the dish its distinctive red-orange hue and deep rich flavor.

Traditional Paprikash uses sour cream to achieve its signature creamy consistency. In our vegan version, coconut milk is used to mimic the creaminess without the use of dairy. Of course, you can use sour cream or even vegan sour cream if you wish.

Ingredients

ingredients for vegan paprikash - tofu, sliced mushrooms, red bell pepper, red onion, garlic, tomato, coconut milk, salt.
  • Tofu: Use organic, non-GMO firm or extra firm tofu. Sub with white fish, shrimp, or chicken. 
  • Olive oil: Crisps the tofu and sautés the veggies.
  • Onion: Use red or yellow onion.
  • Garlic cloves: Roughly chopped.
  • Mushrooms: Use cremini, button, or shiitake. Can sub for more bell peppers or other veggies.
  • Red bell pepper: Thinly sliced or diced.
  • Large tomato: Diced with juices, or use 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices, or crushed tomatoes.
  • Sweet paprika: Or use regular paprika. Do not use smoked paprika.
  • Cayenne: Just a pinch, optional.
  • Coconut milk: Not tradional in Paprikash, but delicious! Feel free to sub with 1 cup sour cream (or vegan sour cream) and skip the vinegar. Or make a plant-based bechamel sauce. See notes.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Gives that signature tangy finish.
  • Fresh Italian parsley: Chopped, used in the recipe and as garnish.
  • Serve over Trumpet Pasta or other noodles, rice or pasta, or roasted cauliflower.
sliced red bell pepper, diced red onion, diced tomato and sliced mushrooms on wood cutting board with sharp knife.

How to Make Paprikash

Step 1: Start cooking pasta if you are using it.

Step 2: Place the tofu on paper towels and lightly blot all sides; there is no need to press. Cut into ¾ inch slices, then bite-sized pieces.

Step 3: In an extra-large skillet or braiser, heat the oil over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and fresh pepper on the oil itself and swirl. Carefully add the tofu. Season the top of the tofu with a generous pinch of salt. Let it get golden without moving it (it will naturally release itself from the pan as it forms a crust). Once golden, flip, and sear the other side, letting it get deeply golden. Move the tofu over to a plate.

Step 4: To the same pan, add a little more oil if needed. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper and saute until fragrant, about 6 minutes, lowering heat if need be.

Step 5: Add the tomatoes and their juices, cook 3-4 minutes. Pour in the water, season with salt, black pepper,  paprika and cayenne, give a stir, cover, and simmer on low for 5 minutes; check, adding more water if it seems dry.

Step 6:Once the tomatoes have broken down and the peppers are tender, add the coconut milk, stirring to incorporate. Add the vinegar and stir.

Taste. It should be slightly salty (pasta will soak up this salt) and slightly tangy. Adjust salt and vinegar. If you like spice, add more cayenne to the pot to taste. The flavor should be nice and bold.

Step 7:Fold the tofu into the paprikash mixture and half of the fresh parsley (stems removed).

Serve this over pasta, rice, or even roasted cauliflower! I like to top my pasta with a handful of baby spinach, then spoon the creamy tofu paprikash over it. Serve with additional fresh parsley. If you want a little spice, garnish with red pepper flakes.

paprikash with tofu served over plate of pasta, garnished with parsley.

How to Serve Paprikash

  • Over cooked noodles or pasta
  • On steamed rice or other grains
  • With roasted cauliflower florets or potatoes
  • With a handful of baby spinach

Storage

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the pan with a little oil. A little water or broth can help return the sauce to its creamy texture.

FAQs

What type of paprika should I use?

Use Hungarian sweet paprika or sweet paprika. Regular paprika can also be used, however smoked paprika will not work in this recipe.

Can I use broth instead of water?

Yes! A 1/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth both work great.

What does paprikash taste like?

The sweet paprika gives this dish a mild, sweet, and earthy flavor. The dish is robust and rich.

ceramic plate with pasta and paprikash made with tofu served over top.

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vegetarian paprikash in a bowl with tofu.

Tofu Paprikash Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 26 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner recipe, vegan dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Hungarian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Creamy, rich and delicious, Tofu Paprikash is a flavorful vegan dinner recipe that can be made in 40 minutes.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 812 ounces pasta- ( or see notes of other options) I used this Trumpet Pasta
  • 1416 ounce block tofu ( see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive, more as needed
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns

Paprikash Sauce:

  • one onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced ( cremini, button, shiitake, etc.) If you are not a mushroom fan, feel free to leave these out. You can add more bell peppers or other veggies.
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced with juices (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices, or crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/41 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika (or regular paprika, not smoked)
  • pinch cayenne, optional
  • 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (see notes for other options)
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, more to taste!
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided

Serve with your choice of cooked noodles, pasta (or rice, or roasted cauliflower florets) with an optional handful of baby spinach.


Instructions

  1. Start pasta cooking if using.
  2. Place the tofu on paper towels and lightly blot all sides-no need to press. Cut into ¾ inch slices, then bite-sized pieces.
  3. In an extra-large skillet or braiser, heat the oil over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and fresh pepper on the oil itself and swirl. Carefully add the tofu. Season the top of the tofu with a generous pinch of salt. Let it get golden without moving it (it will naturally release itself from the pan as it forms a crust). Once golden, flip, and sear the other side, letting it get deeply golden. Move the tofu over to a plate.
  4. To the same pan, add a little more oil if needed. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper and saute until fragrant, about 6 minutes, lowering heat if need be.
  5. Add the tomatoes and their juices, cook 3-4 minutes.  Pour in the water, season with salt, black pepper,  paprika and cayenne, give a stir, cover, and simmer on low for 5 minutes; check, adding more water if it seems dry.
  6. Once the tomatoes have broken down and the peppers are tender, add the coconut milk, stirring to incorporate. Add the vinegar and stir.
  7. Taste. It should be slightly salty (pasta will soak up this salt) and slightly tangy. Adjust salt and vinegar to taste.  The coconut milk will make it sweet, so counter this with the vinegar. If you like spice, add more cayenne to taste.  The flavor should be nice and bold.
  8. Fold in the tofu and half of the parsley.
  9. Serve this over pasta, rice, or even roasted cauliflower!  I like to top my pasta with a handful of baby spinach, then spoon the creamy tofu paprikash over it.

Notes

Protein: Instead of tofu, sub shrimp, white fish (wild cod, halibut, sea bass, etc), or chicken. Season and brown in the skillet and set aside. If using bone-in, skin-on chicken, after seasoning and browning, nestle it in the simmering stew in step 5 , allowing it to cook all the way through, adding more water as needed. Of course, you can use chicken broth instead of water.

Tofu Paprikash will keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

This amount will cover 8-12 ounces of dry pasta. If going low-carb, this is tasty over roasted cauliflower. 

Milk: Instead of coconut milk, you can use 1 cup of sour cream (traditional) or try a vegan sour cream and either skip the vinegar or add a few drops to taste.  You may need to thin it with a little more water. Cashew cream will probably work fine here, but I haven’t personally tested this. For a lower-fat version, you could make a plant-based bechamel sauce  (right after step 5). 

Bechamel Sauce : Sprinkle the cooked veggies with 3 tablespoons flour, cook the flour for 1-2 minutes, and add 1 cup plant-based milk, stirring until thickened; add more milk to desired consistency.  Season well (acid, salt, and cayenne).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ⅓ cup without pasta
  • Calories: 318
  • Sugar: 4.8 g
  • Sodium: 604.2 mg
  • Fat: 24.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.3 g
  • Fiber: 4.2 g
  • Protein: 13.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. We are vegans from Hungarian origin and tried this recipe. We cooked two batches. Unfortunately it was very sweet and we couldn’t eat it. We had to throw away two batches 🙁 We followed the recipe exactly. We think the biggest issue is the sweetness of the coconut milk. Probably with other plant based dairy it wouldn’t turn out so terribly sweet.






    1. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this- yes, it is different from the traditional with the addition of coconut milk. To counter the sweetness, add more vinegar! This will give it the tanginess you are looking for. You could also use another plant based milk and make a roux (with the addition of flour).

  2. Wonderful recipe. Especially loved the prep of the tofu – with the salt and pepper in the pan prior to cooking. SO good. The only problem is that I had to “taste” the tofu a few times before adding it to the sauce. (!) The recipe as a whole is delicious. used a couple different varieties of mushrooms and loved it all. Will double the recipe next time for meal prepping lunches. Thanks Sylvia!






  3. Another excellent recipe Sylvia! i made as instructed but for some reason my sauce was very runny-like soup after adding the Trader Joe’s coconut milk. Do you recommend a thickening agent to make it creamy once all the ingredients are in the pan?






    1. I am glad you enjoyed the recipe….to thicken, I wonder if you cooked it down a bit? Did you use light milk by chance?

  4. This was GREAT! Hadn’t done a paprikash in ages. I was surprised how well the tofu stood up! Salting and peppering the oil was a great trick. Why should I be surprised? Haven’t had anything but great dishes from Feasting (literally) At Home!






  5. I so appreciate the many vegan recipes here. I usually try to keep oil and fat limited, but this is a case where full fat coconut milk would have been better than light. I also wanted to thicken the sauce. I might even blend soaked cashews with the coconut milk another time. I’d also use more paprika. I added lacinato kale too, as some others did. This is a tasty recipe & nice to have a variation in our diet from pasta sauce or curry sauces.

    1. Thanks Jan, yes, this sauce is best with full fat coconut milk unless you create a roux.

  6. Turned out really well! I reconstituted the shiitake mushrooms in red wine and then used the wine as my liquid. I served it over chickpea pasta. This will be great for company. Loaded with protein!

  7. OMGOODNESS, I have just prepared this fabulous meal for my lunch. Thank you so very much Sylvia for sharing this recipe and all you do so we can be blown away. I honestly did not think this would turn out the way it did. So so yummy. Hugs from Australia.






  8. I made this the other night and it was excellent. Didn’t have mushrooms so used more peppers, added chopped lanciato kale at the end and no vinegar because I didn’t want the kale to go brown. (We sprinkled on a bit of vinegar at the table). My only challenge was getting a bold flavour. Ended up using double the paprika plus some smoked paprika and many pinches of cayenne. My paprika was fresh (Dion brand Hungarian from Whole Foods) so not terrible quality, but maybe an upgrade here would do the trick? Regardless, this is going into regular rotation. Delicious, healthy and easy.






  9. Hello,
    It sounds really good and tasty.
    However, me as a Hungarian never add to it spinach in the end or use coconut milk, as it has a taste what reminds me the curry. If you want to taste the real paprikas, rather use ay other subtle taste milk as oat or soy.
    You can use smoked paprika instead of normal sweet paprika as it gives a twist to it – it’s will taste as you cooked in the cauldron.
    Otherwise it is really great, thank you for this lovely revamped dish! ❤️🙏

    1. Hi Rozsa, as I have stated it is not a traditional recipe. Just a way to make it rich and vegan with added nutrients. Feel free to make it your way. 🙂

  10. I tried this tonight and liked it. It was more liquid than I expected even though I did not add the water. I needed a spoon to finish. I loved adding the spinach. I will serve leftovers with potatoes, might soak liquid better!

    1. Hi Valerie, yes, it is a very saucy dish, designed to coat a bowl of pasta, so maybe that is it?

  11. Delicious! I used Earth’s Own dairy-free sour cream and used cauliflower instead of mushrooms. We will definitely make this again.
    Thank you!






  12. Another fabulous recipe. I will add more mushrooms next time–they shrank a lot. And there will be lots of “next times.” Thanks Sylvia!






  13. This was fantastic! I used things I had on hand, in addition to the recipe, i used sweet peppers instead of bell, chicken instead of tofu, added carrots and spinach. I only had smoked paprika on hand. I will definitely make it again, it was so delicious!






  14. This was incredible!! Bursting with flavour. Versatile (we added brocolli) and wonderfully plant-based/dairy-free/gluten-free. We served it over buckwheat. Can’t wait to make it again! 🙏🏻






  15. wow this is so good I added chicken and tofu I followed the instructions as is. So easy to make and very delicious. My family loves it. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Monique

  16. I can’t do tofu so would you maybe suggest cauliflower or maybe just more mushrooms/other veggies as an alternate plant based option? I’d like to not miss out on this yummy sounding sauce!

    1. Hi Nancy- yes, you could use more mushrooms, and add roasted cauliflower, or other veggies. 🙂

    2. Dear Nancy,
      You can make your own red lentils tofu, it is much better as you can make your own tofu at home, very easy, and you even can add a bit of salt or any other spice what you like to it and not will be blant in the middle the tofu.
      You can just Google it or if you like I can send you a link to it, let me know.
      Regards,
      Rózsa x

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