Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with Chicken or Tofu (One Dish, Two Ways!)

Rarely – okay, never – do all three human members of our family eat the same food for any one meal. Our daughter, for one, is super selective (and yes, contrary to popular advice, some picky-eating kids actually WILL starve if you insist on only feeding them what you’re having). And then we have the “I eat everything except olives” easy-going husband and then myself, a vegetarian by choice and a dairy-freer by necessity. 

When I first started this blog, things were simpler. I was a vegetarian who could eat dairy. My husband was the same as he is now – he’d eat anything. And our daughter wasn’t around yet. It was easier to create one-dish-two-meals recipes then than it is now, but honestly, I’ve never found those types of recipes easy. In application, they’re usually not all that much extra work, but the one-dish-two-ways recipes take awhile to develop and refine and get just right and then to write the recipe in a way that’s not overly complex is yet another challenge that I haven’t quite nailed yet. But I’m going to keep trying!

Anyway, this one-dish-two-ways meal has been happening around here for a few months now and I think I’ve got it down pat. Though I cook it up in two separate pans at one time and that 10 minutes or so of dual cooking time can get a little frantic, in the end it comes together quickly and relatively easily. 

One Dish Two Ways: Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with tofu or chicken. Crisp veggies, crunchy cashews, and tofu for the vegans and chicken for the meat-eaters - all in a savory-sweet, slightly spicy sauce. This recipe cooks up in two pans at the same time, so the process can be a bit hectic. But it's well worth the effort!

If you think I’m going to say even our picky daughter eats this Cashew Veggie Stir Fry, well, nope. I get my tofu version, my guy gets his meaty version, and our daughter gets her chicken nuggets or grilled cheese or mini corn dogs (a recent addition to her protein rotation that we celebrated – pretty much gotta have a picky eater of your own to understand. 🙂 )

I will say I think our kiddo is missing out, though! I love this dinner recipe, and though we’re a little burnt out after I’ve tested it time and time again (hazard of being a food blogger), after we take a bit of a break I can confidently say this one will for sure be in weekday dinner rotation. The tofu in one pan, chicken in the other stir-fry formula might actually be one I carry forward into new recipes, too. I’m thinking something peanut-based. Yes?

One Dish Two Ways: Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with tofu or chicken. Crisp veggies, crunchy cashews, and tofu for the vegans and chicken for the meat-eaters - all in a savory-sweet, slightly spicy sauce. This recipe cooks up in two pans at the same time, so the process can be a bit hectic. But it's well worth the effort!

This recipe is adapted from this Cashew Chicken recipe from Averie Cooks. If you’re looking at making an all-chicken version, stop reading right here and just head on over to Averie Cooks. She’s got the perfect super-delicious situation for meat-eaters over there. 

I started with her recipe, but divided it into two pans – chicken in one, tofu in the other. I found that when you divide the sauce between two pans, there’s not quite enough, so I doubled the sauce recipe (plus, it’s really really tasty, and the more the better as far as I’m concerned!) I also added rice to the equation, because to me, the added carb quotient helps it feel like a complete meal. 

One Dish Two Ways: Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with tofu or chicken. Crisp veggies, crunchy cashews, and tofu for the vegans and chicken for the meat-eaters - all in a savory-sweet, slightly spicy sauce. This recipe cooks up in two pans at the same time, so the process can be a bit hectic. But it's well worth the effort!

I love the crunch of cashews, the little-bit-crispy tofu, the tender veggies, and the salty-sweetness of the sauce. Obviously I haven’t tried the chicken side of things but suffice it to say my guy is all over it. 

One Dish Two Ways: Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with tofu or chicken. Crisp veggies, crunchy cashews, and tofu for the vegans and chicken for the meat-eaters - all in a savory-sweet, slightly spicy sauce. This recipe cooks up in two pans at the same time, so the process can be a bit hectic. But it's well worth the effort!

This recipe makes the perfect amount for us – half for dinner, the other half for lunch the next day. Though it’s best fresh out of the pan, the leftovers are still totally delicious. 

If you want to make an all-tofu version of this glorious Cashew Veggie Stir Fry, just double the tofu portion along with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, then cook it all up in a large pan. You may want to start with adding about 1/2 the sauce and then go from there until it’s just the way you like it. 

Maybe one day I’ll be able to come up with a One Dish Three Ways version of this recipe so there’s a version our daughter loves too. Until then, thank goodness for mini corn dogs. 

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Cashew Veggie Stir Fry with Chicken or Tofu

Crisp veggies. Crunchy cashews. And tofu for the vegans or chicken for the meat-eaters. All in a savory-sweet, slightly spicy sauce. This recipe cooks up in two pans at the same time, so the process can be a bit hectic. But it’s well worth the effort!

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 1 cup white basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce (to taste – I find 1 teaspoon has just the right amount of heat for us)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the tofu:

  • 1/2 of a (14-ounce) block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the stir fry:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 heaping cups broccoli florets, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup), divided
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame, divided (I have also used frozen green chickpeas – also great!)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted whole cashews (roasted or raw; your preference), divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced into rounds (about 1 cup), divided

Directions:

  1. Press your tofu. Set a layer of 5-6 paper towels on a plate. Add tofu and top with more paper towels. Place three or four more plates on top and let sit for 20-30 minutes. This will press the excess water out of the tofu. But watch your plates! You don’t want them to topple and break (some use books to avoid this but I’m a plate girl myself).
  2. Cook the rice according to package directions. You’ll want to start the rice first because it may take the longest to cook.
  3. Prep (IMPORTANT!) Cut all of your veggies ahead of time! This is key with stir fries, which cook superfast once you get them going. And it’s especially important with this recipe because you’ll have two pans going at once.
  4. Make the sauce. To a small bowl, add the tamari or soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, and ginger. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  5. Coat the tofu/chicken. Add the tofu to one gallon-size ziplock bag and the chicken to another. Add the 2 tablespoons corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to each bag. Seal and gently shake each bag to coat all of the pieces of tofu/meat with cornstarch.
  6. Cook the tofu and chicken. You’ll want to start the tofu about 3 minutes before you start the chicken because the tofu takes a bit longer to cook. Set a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. Cook, stirring occasionally. After 3 minutes, set another large non-stick skillet on another burner over medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook both the tofu and chicken, stirring/flipping occasionally, about 4-5 more minutes, until the tofu is browned and the chicken is just about cooked through. (I use a designated spoon for each one so there’s no cross-contamination).
  7. Add the veggies. Divide the the broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, and garlic between the two pans. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are getting tender.
  8. Add the cashews, sauce, and scallions. Divide the cashews between the pans and cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and divide the sauce between the two pans. Stir to combine, then let simmer for about 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Stir in the scallions, then remove from heat and …
  9. Serve. Scoop rice onto individual plates, scoop stir fry over rice, and eat!
  10. Leftover instructions: Stir fry keeps for about 3 days. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Adapted from Averie Cooks

// All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

Kare

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.