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Sweet and Sour Slaw with Sticky Ginger Tofu

I was pretty impressed with myself when I came up with the title for this post. “Sweet…sour…sticky…” All pretty evocative yet accurate terms to describe this delicious meal. When I ran the title by my boyfriend, just now, his response was, quite simply, “slaw?”

I guess I forgot the associations the term “slaw” might have had for me before I started making…slaw. Not coleslaw, like you might get served at a family picnic this weekend, all drenched in mayonnaise. (Nothing personal against coleslaw. I always liked the stuff and have long had it on my list to make a vegan version.) Slaw, for me, means a light and crispy salad, likely cabbage based, and probably with some level of zip, hence the sweet and sour tastes in this version. About fifteen years ago my mom got excited when she found a recipe for an Asian slaw. This was totally new to both of us, and having a vegetarian teenager in the house, she was pretty psyched to make the discovery. From there on out we were both big slaw fans, and especially Asian slaw fans.

When I decided it was time to create my own Asian slaw for the blog, I opted to make a meal out of it. I thought some crispy, sticky-sweet, gingery tofu would complement the light, raw, crispness of the slaw veggies. It ended up being delicious and a perfect meal for ringing in summer. You don’t have to make these two items together. If you’re heading to a cook-out this long weekend, the slaw would make a perfect side. If you’re cooking in on a rainy day and want something hot, the tofu would go deliciously with some rice and stir-fried veggies. If you’re really hungry and want to go all out, make the slaw, make the tofu, and make this rice. The rich coconut flavor contrasts the sweet, sour and sticky beautifully.

Sweet and Sour Slaw with Sticky Ginger Tofu
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
For the Sweet and Sour Slaw
  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
For the Sticky Ginger Tofu
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • a few sprinkles of sesame seeds (optional)
Make the Sweet and Sour Slaw
  1. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Allow to sit while you prepare the tofu.
Make the Sticky Ginger Tofu
  1. Press tofu for at least 10-15 minutes.
  2. While your tofu presses, whisk together brown sugar, ginger, garlic cloves, soy sauce and lime juice. Heat on stove top in a small saucepan, just until sugar melts, or zap it in a microwave-safe container for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut tofu into slabs, bite sized cubes, or cute little triangles, which I opted for. Place tofu in skillet and cook about five minutes on each side, or until it begins to brown and get crispy.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and pour sauce over tofu. Cook about another two minutes on each side, until nicely coated and sauce is thick and sticky.
  5. Divide slaw onto plates and top with tofu. Add a few sesame seeds, if desired.

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    1. D’oh! Sorry about that! I reformatted my recipes not too long ago and it looks like the slaw part got gobbled. I just added it back in. Thanks for letting me know it was missing. I hope you get to give this a try, and enjoy it! 🙂

    1. I’ve been having trouble finding bean sprouts lately for some reason too! Glad you found them though, and glad this was a hit! Thank you so much for commenting to let me know. 🙂

  1. This recipe had some problems for me. There was way too much vinegar in the slaw dressing, it could probably be cut in half and be sufficient. Everything was too soggy and vinegar drowned out all other taste.

    The sticky sauce for the tofu was not thick enough, it barely stuck to the tofu. If I made it again, I would use more brown sugar and maybe add some maple syrup there too.

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