As a kid, I loved trips to the mall because I would go to the food court to get sweet and spicy mango stir fry over rice in a styrofoam takeout box. As much as I loved that dish, it was probably high in sodium and not exactly healthy. Luckily, I found this crispy tofu with mango salsa which has a similar sweet and sour taste as my old-time favorite, and it's made with plant-based protein, tofu. If you want a healthier version, don't bake the tofu in the oven with cornstarch, instead sautee it in a pan with a little olive oil or apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes.

The combination of avocado, lemon, and cilantro makes this dish taste fresh, light and much healthier than a traditional stir fry with sweet and sour sauce. You'll most likely have all of these ingredients stored in your pantry so don't let the long list scare you away, it's time to put these to use and get cooking!

Recipe Developer: Sarah Thomas Drawbaugh, @healthyishfoods

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 5 Minutes

Servings: 4 People

Why we love it: This dish is a tropical-style stir fry and taste healthy with the fresh mango salsa. Add your favorite Caribbean spices like ginger or paprika. Use the best quality ingredients for the salsa like ripe mangoes, avocado, and fresh strawberries for better results and refreshing taste.

Make it for: Dinner or lunch. Save the leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days and separate the salsa and rice in different containers.

Crispy Tofu with Spicy Brown Sauce and Mango Salsa

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu:

  • 1 package super firm tofu
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • White rice – I use minute rice
  • Spicy Brown Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 clove fresh garlic sliced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Red pepper flakes pinch

Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango
  • 6 – 8 strawberries
  • 1/2 small sweet white or red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 ripe lemon
  • 1 avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • a handful of crushed cashews

Optional toppings:

  • Scallions
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Extra crushed cashews

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Press any moisture out of the tofu using a kitchen towel or paper towels. This process helps the tofu get crispy and bake faster.
  3. Next, cube the tofu into 32 even bite-size cubes.
  4. Grab a large bowl and toss your tofu cubes with the cornstarch until all sides are well covered.
  5. Gently spray a baking tray with olive oil cooking spray and line the tofu cubes on the tray. Cook for 40 minutes making sure to turn the tofu every 10 minutes to make sure each side gets crispy. You might need to spray the tofu cubes with a little more cooking spray halfway through this process.

Prepare spicy brown sauce:

  1. While the tofu is cooking begin making your spicy brown sauce.
  2. Grab a sauté pan and over low / medium heat add about ½ tablespoon of sesame oil.
  3. Add the fresh sliced garlic, minced ginger and pinch of red pepper flakes to the hot sesame oil.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the soy sauce, ponzu sauce, red miso paste, sesame oil, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Blend well until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  5. Once the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes have a light brown sear, pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan. Make sure your pan isn’t too hot or the sauce will seize up.
  6. Gently stir the sauce until everything is well combined.
  7. As a final step add the cornstarch. This will help thicken the sauce.
  8. Keep the sauce on low heat until you’re ready to toss it with the tofu.

Prepare mango salsa:

  1. Grab a plastic or glass container that can be sealed.
  2. Dice your red or white onion, jalapeno, strawberries, avocado, and mango and add it all to the bowl. Making sure to cut the fruit and the onion into evenly sized pieces. This way you won’t get a huge bite of onion or fruit at one time. It will be balanced.
  3. Next, add the chopped fresh cilantro and the juice from the lemon and lime. Gently toss everything together making sure to coat the fruit with the juice. This will help prevent the fruit from browning.
  4. Finally, add some crushed cashews on top. Set aside.
  5. Make your rice. I use minute rice, so I cook mine in the microwave. But any way you like to make rice is fine.

Assemble your dish:

  1. Add your rice to the bottom of the plate, top with tofu cubes that have been tossed with the spicy brown sauce.
  2. Top everything with the mango salsa, and any optional toppings like extra crushed cashew, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions. Serve and ENJOY!