My favorite vegan & gluten-free recipe for Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans is officially here! This green bean tofu stir fry recipe contains only 9 ingredients that can easily be found at most grocery stores. I can solidly say this easy 5-ingredient black pepper sauce makes this the most delicious vegan weeknight dinner!
*Recipe shared January 2020 and updated January 2022*
Can I just say that I NEVER thought making an Asian tofu stir fry sauce at home could be this easy and taste this good? Black Pepper Tofu is one of my favorite recipes to eat as takeout, but I always believed it was too complicated to make at home.
Previously, I've tried other recipes for homemade black pepper tofu that were delicious but contained way too many complicated grocery items.
In contrast, this black pepper tofu recipe contains 9 ingredients that can ALL be easily found at most grocery stores and can be whipped up in just 40 minutes!
- Tofu: For this recipe, you'll need to use firm or extra-firm tofu. Soft/silken tofu will not work as it will fall apart when stir-frying.
- Cornstarch: This is the secret ingredient for crispy tofu! I don't recommend substituting it for anything, but you can stir-fry the tofu without it if necessary.
- Tamari: Tamari is essentially gluten-free soy sauce. You can substitute regular soy-sauce in this recipe or even replace half the tamari/soy-sauce with veggie broth for a less salty sauce.
- Peppercorn: Freshly ground is a MUST for this recipe.
- Not pictured: Water or vegetable broth which we are using in the black pepper sauce.
How to make black pepper tofu
Make the crispy tofu
The first step to making this tofu green bean stir fry is cooking the tofu to crispy perfection. In particular, these tips & tricks are sure to give you crispy tofu every time!
One: Make sure the Tofu is Extra Firm & DRY: To do this, slice the tofu in half and press it between two towels or paper towels. Then, let the tofu sit like this for about 10 minutes.
Two: Use the right oil to stir fry. For this recipe, I used sesame oil. It has a higher smoke point meaning it can withstand being cooked at high heat without burning. Besides the desirable smoke point, sesame oil also adds great flavor to this stir fry. In case you can't find sesame oil, other oils that could work for the recipe include canola, grapeseed, soybean, avocado, or peanut oil.
Three: Cornstarch for Crispiness! Did you know cornstarch makes the best coating to make tofu crispy and brown? For this recipe, I don't recommend replacing the cornstarch with alternatives like tapioca starch or arrowroot as the tofu won't get as crispy.
Four: Use a Wok to Stir Fry. My wok is truly my most BELOVED kitchen appliance. In fact, I use it to cook many other dishes on SGTO like my favorite Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry. Using a wok helps to distribute heat more evenly while cooking and allows me to use less oil. Win, win!
To sum it up, once the tofu is coated with the cornstarch, add 1 Tbsp sesame oil to a wok. Once the oil is hot, add in the tofu and stir fry for 10-15 minutes until brown and crisp. Then, set the tofu aside for later.
P.S- If you'd like to make this tofu green bean stir fry oil-free you can also bake the tofu! Simply follow the instructions in my Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce to read how.
Make the black pepper sauce
This homemade black pepper sauce can be made in one bowl & contains only 5 ingredients.
All you need to do is whisk together the tamari (or soy sauce), water (or vegetable broth for more flavor), sugar, ground ginger, and black pepper together in a small bowl. After that, your sauce is ready to be added to the wok!
In order to keep this recipe gluten-free, I choose Tamari over traditional soy sauce which tends to have wheat added in. I like saltier food, but if you do not, you can also use a low-sodium soy sauce. You can also replace some of the soy sauce with additional vegetable broth or water for a less salty sauce.
Also, I recommend usually a high-quality black pepper and grinding it fresh for this recipe. Specifically, I used a Rainbow Peppercorn Blend and love the flavor this black pepper mix brings to this tofu stir fry.
If you are trying to stay away from refined sugar, coconut sugar can be used as a 1:1 substitution for brown sugar in this recipe.
Also, while I choose ground dried ginger for this black pepper tofu recipe, grating in fresh ginger would give this stir fry even more flavor.
Stir fry the green beans & shallots
The vegetables I used in this dish are shallots and of course...beloved green beans!
For the best texture, I like to cut the ends off my green beans (the stringy part) and then chop each green bean into halves or thirds. When cutting the shallots, I like to finely dice them so they blend into the sauce.
After you have stir-fried the tofu and made the sauce, add more sesame oil to the hot wok. Once the oil is hot, add in the vegetables and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Pro-Tip: A few people have tested this recipe with sliced mushrooms and sliced red peppers and recommended that as well! Whatever veggies you add, I bet they will taste great in this tofu green bean stir fry.
Mix together & serve over rice
As a final step, add the crispy tofu to the wok with the stir-fried veggies and black pepper sauce and mix them together.
The cornstarch from the tofu will help to thicken the sauce a bit, but you'll also have plenty of sauce leftover to pour on top of the rice.
Lastly, top off the vegan black pepper tofu bowls with fresh Thai basil! I also love serving this recipe over white rice or pairing it with my FAVORITE Vegan Fried Rice.
This Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans recipe is simple, quick to whip up as a weeknight dinner, and absolutely delicious.
Personally, I love that it is a healthy dish AND comfort food at the same time. Pair it with a big bowl of white rice and dig in for the best vegan tofu recipe you've ever had!
More vegan tofu recipes you will love:
If you loved this recipe, please leave a 5-star review on the recipe card. I always appreciate your feedback and support! You can also follow along on my Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest, or sign up for our newsletter!
Black Pepper Tofu & Green Beans
- 14 oz firm tofu must be firm or extra firm, not soft
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 ½ cup chopped green beans
- 2 shallots about ½ cup finely chopped
- 6 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons water or vegetable broth Can sub with extra tamari for a saltier dish.
- 2 ½ Tablespoons organic sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper reduce to ½ Tablespoon for a less spicy dish
- Fresh Thai Basil optional, as garnish
- To begin, slice the block of tofu in half and press it between two towels or two paper towels. Let the tofu sit for 10 minutes to soak up any excess moisture.
- While the tofu is being pressed, chop up the green beans and shallots and make the black pepper sauce. To make the black pepper sauce, simply whisk together the soy sauce/tamari, water/vegetable broth, sugar, ground ginger, and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
- Once the ingredients are prepped, cut the pressed tofu into 1 inch cubes and add to a large bowl. Add the cornstarch to the bowl and use your hands to evenly coat the tofu in cornstarch.
- Next, add 1 Tbsp of sesame oil to the work and turn on the heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the tofu and stir fry for 10-15 minutes until the tofu is browned and crispy on the outside. Remove the tofu from the wok and set aside in a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of sesame oil to the wok followed by the chopped shallots and green beans. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Then, add in the black pepper sauce and tofu. Cook all the ingredients for an additional 3-5 minutes to help thicken the sauce.
- Remove the wok from the heat and serve the black pepper tofu and green beans on top of white rice. Garnish with the Thai basil if desired. Enjoy!
- Stir fry can be stored in a closed container and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- The original sauce recipe called for 10 Tablespoons of tamari but has now been changed to 6 Tablespoons tamari and 3 Tablespoons of water or vegetable broth based on feedback and retesting. If you prefer the original recipe, please adjustb= back to 10 Tablesoons tamari. Thank you for your feedback so I could make this recipe even better!
- For an even less salty sauce, use low-sodium soy sauce or replace an additional 2 Tbsp of the tamari with vegetable broth or water.
- If you would like a less spicy dish, simply reduce the black pepper to ½ Tbsp (3 grams). It still will taste delicious!
- This recipe is adapted from Dishing out the Health Black Pepper Tofu recipe but is less spicy & contains more veggie goodness!
This was delish! Made tonight and doubled the green beans, halved the pepper (per other comments), and added matchstick carrots. Served over mixture of brown and cauliflower rice. Will definitely keep on the dinner rotation. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing what you added- sounds so good and glad you liked it! 🙂
margaret kryda says
I used about 2 tsp fresh ginger instead of dried, added 3 cloves of Minced garlic, stir fried a sliced king oyster mushroom and then added a finely minced Serrano pepper in with the shallot/onion. (we like heat) and a little extra tamari. Eating it right now! It is delicious!
So glad you liked it 🙂
My FIL who said he didn't like tofu DEVOURED his portion. Spicer than expected, but that's what we all get for underestimating peppercorns. 10/10 will make again.
Love hearing that!! You can also cut the pepper in half next time it will still have tons of flavor if you like less spicy dishes :).
I made this recipe but with a couple of tweaks. I used monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar, and used half water and half soy sauce because I don't like very salty food. I also added a splash of black vinegar. The pepper was a bit too much for me, but the overall flavor was really good, and I would definitely make this again but just use less pepper to suit my personal preference.
So happy you made it work for you :). You can definitely cut the pepper in half to 1/2 Tablespoon and still get good flavor from it. That's what I do when I make it for friends who don't love spicy food as much!
Laura B says
Simple and tasty recipe!
For an even quicker preparation, I did the tofu in the air-fryer for extra crispiness, then added to the green beans as the recipe says.
Contemplating adding some mushrooms or red pepper to the green beans next time for some variety!
Mushrooms & peppers would be awesome in this- I've added them before and it's always delicious 🙂
Michelle W says
This is by far one of the best tofu recipes I have ever tried! The bite of the pepper and tang from the tamari is beyond yummy. I legit eat this almost every week!
Thank you so much for the amazing review 🙂
Sarah W says
I’ve made this a few times now, sometimes with tofu, sometimes with chicken. I add some mirin wine for a bit more sweetness and cut back on the sugar, sometimes add honey. I also add sliced red bell pepper and sweet onion. Yum! Thank you for the recipe!
Sounds delicious- and thanks for sharing your substitutions!
Oh wow! This is good. I LOVE black pepper, but I was a little skeptical about a whole tablespoon so I did cheat that down just a bit. I also replaced a couple tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce with water. What a great treatment for tofu which is, let’s face it, kinda boring. I will definitely make this again, and I can totally see using broccoli instead of the green beans if that’s what I had on hand
So glad you enjoyed it and it's definitely great with broccoli too :).
Ann Smajstrla says
Hi Megan - Thank you SO much for this delicious recipe!
Back in March I unfortunately came down with c. Thankfully I never had any breathing issues, but my taste completely disappeared, and only partially returned. As a result I can’t fully taste a lot of the food I used to enjoy.
I made this recipe for the first time last week. This is the first meal I’ve had since c that tasted so FLAVORFUL!
I just made it again and gave some to my boyfriend. He loved it too!
Thanks again. So far I’ve made this dish + the matcha sugar cookies (also top-notch and boyfriend approved, btw). I look forward to trying more of your recipes 😊
You're so welcome- I'm so glad it was flavorful enough for you to taste and that you liked the cookies too! 🙂
I love the short ingredient list and how quick this recipe was to put together! I made a batch at the start of the week and it kept very well in the fridge for fast dinners all week.
When I’ve made stir-fries with green beans in the past the beans were a little too crunchy for my taste, so I gave them a quick blanch before using them in this recipe. I also replaced half the soy sauce with water (I try to avoid too much salt). Otherwise made it as written and I know I will be making it many times again! So so so tasty, a perfect balance of flavours. 🙂
Made this but with a twist. Didn't want rice and had a few potatoes that needed used before they started growing new potatoes. Also, I was feeling lazy on this cold winter day and wanted warm comfort food. Threw everything in the crock pot and let it do the work. It is fan-freaking-tastic!
Megan Horowitch says
Sounds so good! Thanks for sharing your twist:)
I followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect! Wouldn’t change a thing!
I only used half the sauce, and it was plenty for me.
Leigh Evans says
Loved this recipe with a few adjustments! Halved the pepper, and also halved the tamari and replaced the other 5 tbsp with water (there's a lot of sodium in 10 tbsp of tamari!). Turned out great, but even with the pepper halved it was almost too hot for my low spiciness threshold. My partner absolutely loved it and says it was one of the best things I've ever made! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Megan Horowitch says
So glad you liked it! Water is a great idea to make it lower in sodium 🙂
Made this to go with some stir-fried noodles. So, so easy and delicious! Came together really quickly and the flavors are addictive!
The one change I made was to sub in fresh grated ginger since I didn’t have any ginger powder. My husband said this was better than any restaurant! Thanks so much for this recipe - definitely going to make it again!
This was my first time cooking tofu and it turned out great! I made half of the sauce and used broccoli instead of green beans. There was plenty of sauce and the tofu was crispy and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!
Megan Horowitch says
So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback!
Best Tofu recipe I’ve ever made!
LOVED this dish! I’m a huge fan of pepper and this definitely hit the spot. I should also mention I am NOT very good at cooking at all and this recipe was easy for me to understand and follow. Next time I make it, I might use just a little bit less sauce in the pan so it will thicken quicker. Definitely recommend this dish, especially if you love pepper!
Megan Horowitch says
So so glad you loved it!
Mayra Munoz says
This came out perfect. The flavours were so amazing that even my picky hubby enjoyed it and finished my leftovers I had for lunch the next day.
Made this for dinner tonight. My husband and I LOVED it. We will definitely be adding this to our rotation! We’re trying to introduce more plant based recipes into our weekly meals and this blog is everything!
Megan Horowitch says
Yay I love hearing that and thank you! Can't wait to see what else you make. If you have time to leave a star rating too that would mean SO much 🙂