Easy Thai Vegetable Stir Fry With Pumpkin + Tofu

by Alena
Nov 27, 2020
two bowls with homemade vegan stir fry and rice next to a pan and bowl of cashews

There are days when you need a comforting and nutritious dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. That’s what Thai vegetable stir fries are for!

Colorful and crispy veggies meet deep flavor from the easy stir fry sauce, rounded up with some protein-rich tofu and freshly cooked rice.

Thai dishes are truly amongst our favorites, and lucky for us, many of them are already accidentally vegan (or, at least, easy to make vegan). No matter if it’s creamy coconut curry, Pad Thai salad with peanut butter sauce or a quick tofu veggie stir fry, this cuisine is featured in our kitchen every single week.

Even when we choose to eat out from time to time, we’ll often frequent Asian restaurants because the flavors are just something else!

When looking for vegan meals to grab at your favorite Thai place, though, be aware that they tend to cook with items like shrimp paste or fish sauce —  so even innocent Thai vegetable stir fries with tofu instead of meat can actually contain some animal products.

We recommend you always double-check with the staff before ordering in case their food isn’t clearly labeled vegan. At the very least, you contribute to a larger number of requests for cruelty-free options that way!

Back to our favorite customizable weeknight dinner that is pumpkin stir fry — or broccoli and bell pepper stir fry, depending on the season.

The great thing about this quick and healthy dish is that you can use any seasonal vegetables you have on hand. Even frozen ones work well!

So, let’s see why this plant-based recipe is our go-to choice multiple times per week and how easy it is to make.

back pan on a chopping board with freshly cooked pumpkin stir fried vegetables

How Healthy Is a Vegetable Stir Fry?

Depending on where you eat it or what it’s prepared with, the answer to this question ranges from “very healthy” to “ barely healthier than deep-fried vegetables.”

Usually, vegetable stir fries are made with heaps of oil when you eat them at a restaurant and some also use flavor enhancers that can entice you to overeat. Serving stir fried vegetables alongside whole grains like brown rice is a healthier option compared to white rice or white noodles.

When you cook your meals at home, you can control what goes into them, giving you a much higher chance of creating something that’s truly nourishing and doesn’t really come with any downsides.

We’ll keep this delicious pumpkin Thai vegetable stir fry with tofu completely oil-free and high in micronutrients and fiber, all of which will positively affect your health. Let’s take a look at the reasons why we love this recipe!

two hands holding a towel, spoon and bowl of pumpkin Thai stir fry vegetables

The Best Vegan Vegetable Stir Fry

If you love Asian food as much as we do, then this quick and simple vegetable stir fry will be your next go-to staple dinner! Skip the oily takeout and make this much healthier, cheaper version with whatever you find in your cupboard and fridge.

You can have this pumpkin veggie stir fry as a side dish or combine it with protein-packed tofu as well as nutty brown rice to upgrade it to a main meal.

Sautéing Vegetables Without Oil
white table with white mushrooms, broccoli florets, green onions, eggplant, winter squash and tofu

Ingredients for This Recipe

Sounds really basic, right? So, gather everything you need and make any appropriate swaps — here are the exact steps you need to follow to get this awesome Thai vegetable stir fry in under half an hour.

woman in apron leaning over a wooden chopping board with mushrooms and onion while slicing an eggplant
black pan with sugar snap peas, broccoli florets, baby corn, pumpkin, mushrooms and eggplant

How to Make This Thai Vegetable Stir Fry

Start by combining all of the ingredients for the easy vegan stir fry sauce in a container or jar and close it tightly with a lid. Shake well to create a homogeneous mixture which you then pour over your pressed and cubed tofu.

Let it sit in a small bowl and marinate so your tofu becomes really flavorful! In the meantime, prepare your vegetables by washing and chopping them.

Put a non-stick pan over medium heat (or use a normal pan with some heat stable oil) and add the cubed winter squash along with some water into it.

Cook for around 5 minutes until it has slightly softened, then add all of the other vegetables along with the veggie broth. Sauté everything for about 10 minutes, until almost tender but still crisp, while stirring frequently.

Once all of the liquid is absorbed, add the marinated tofu cubes along with your stir fry sauce to the pan and cook for 4-5 more minutes while still stirring frequently (yup, this isn’t a hands-off recipe!).

Adjust the taste to your liking and if you don’t have freshly cooked rice to go with your Thai vegetable stir fry, you can add any leftover cold rice to your pan to warm it up before serving.

Enjoy your dish immediately and add any toppings of your choice like cashews, sesame seeds, peanuts, coriander or Thai basil.

healthy stir fry being poured over sauteéd Thai vegetables

What Veggies Go With Stir Fries?

This Thai vegetable stir fry recipe is endlessly customizable! Here are some suggestions for what veggies you could use instead of the ones we’ve listed.

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Bell pepper
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Bok choy
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
small bowl with homemade stir fry sauce and tofu cubes that are being marinated

Tips & Substitutions

In a hurry? Just use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for this stir fry and skip the winter squash which usually takes the longest to become soft when sautéing your veggies.

When we don’t have much time on our hands, we just add some soy sauce and chili powder to our vegetable stir fry instead of making the sauce and call it a day.

To keep this dish grain-free and super low-calorie, you can use frozen cauliflower rice or serve the veggie stir fry on its own. 

If you’re working with leftover cold rice (we always recommend having some cooked grains or legumes in the fridge) for this recipe, feel free to add it to the pan together with the stir fry sauce to let it soak up all the flavors and become warm.

In terms of the stir fry sauce, you can add vegan oyster or Worcestershire sauce, some sesame oil if you’re not looking for an oil-free recipe, or swap the soy sauce for tamari if you need to keep this recipe completely gluten-free.

The minced fresh garlic and ginger can be replaced with a pinch of the powdered versions. And if you’re into vegan chicken substitutes, you can throw your favorite store-bought strips into the mix or follow this great homemade recipe.

two bowls of brown rice next to some cashews and a black pan with vegetable stir fry

More Easy Vegan Dinner Ideas

Do you like no-fuss recipes you can make during busy weeknights? Check out the following plant-based goodness for more inspiration.

Have you tried our simple vegetable stir fry? Share with us in the comments below and rate our recipe! You can also Pin it here or tag us on Instagram if you’ve made it — we’d love to see your creations.

two hands holing a white bowl with vegan Thai stir fry and brown rice

Thai Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This delicious healthy Thai vegetable stir fry with pumpkin and tofu is ready in less than 30 minutes and completely whole food plant-based! Easily customizable, this gluten-free weeknight dinner is great for beginners and really comforting. Serve with rice or noodles and reheat leftovers for a quick lunch!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium kabocha squash, cubed
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced (140 g)
  • 1 cup baby corn
  • 1 medium broccoli, cut into florets
  • 4 oz sugar snap peas (115 g)
  • ⅔ cup firm tofu (150 g)
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • ⅓ cup veggie broth (80 ml)

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • ⅓ cup water (80 ml)
  • Pinch of chili powder

To Serve

  • Thai basil
  • Cashews (raw or lightly toasted)
  • Brown rice, cooked

Instructions

  1. Put all of the sauce ingredients into a jar, close with a lid and shake well.
  2. Cut the tofu into cubes and put them in a bowl. Drizzle with stir fry sauce, coat evenly and set aside to marinate.
  3. Put a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add the cubed winter squash along with some water into it. Cook for around 5 minutes until it has slightly softened, then add the rest of the vegetables together with the veggie broth.
  4. Sauté everything for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Finally, add the marinated tofu together with the stir fry sauce to the pan and cook for 4-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Once the veggies have become tender-crisp, remove from heat and divide them into serving bowls immediately. Take a small bite and adjust the taste to your liking.
  7. Serve your vegetable stir fry with brown rice and top with Thai basil and cashews.
  8. Enjoy warm or let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days and reheat in a microwave at your convenience.

Notes

  • You can use pretty much any winter squash, such as butternut or acorn, instead of the kabocha.
  • If pumpkin is not in season or you want dinner on the table even quicker, feel free to use other quick-cooking vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini instead.
  • You can omit the tofu, replace with tempeh or skip the marinating part if you like. Chickpeas or other legumes taste great in this vegetable stir fry, too!
  • Feel free to top with sesame seeds, peanuts or cilantro instead of Thai basil and cashews.
  • This vegetable stir fry tastes fantastic with noodles instead of brown rice!
  • The stir fry sauce can be made ahead of time in larger batches and stores well covered in the fridge for around 3-4 days.
  • Find more substitution ideas and tips in the article above.
  • Nutrition values have automatically been calculated without the rice and cashews.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 476mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 12gSugar: 18gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

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