Vegetarian Mapo Tofu

Recipe/Tzu Chi USA Pacific Islands Region



Mapo tofu originated in Chengdu, a city in Sichuan, China, and quickly became a classic. It’s a tofu dish accented with fiery flavors, and usually a good portion of ground meat. Using a plant-based meat sub-stitute makes mapo tofu accessible to vegetarians.

The focus is, as it should be, the brightly seasoned tofu. Find frozen vegetarian ground pork in natural food stores, Asian markets, and supermarkets. Alternatively, use any other soy-meat or non-meat beef, such as Beyond Burger.


Serves 4
  • 1 (14-16-ounce) carton soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Pinch minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon spicy doubanjiang
    (fermented spicy bean paste, sometimes spelled toban jiang, found in Asian aisles of supermarkets)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian stir-fry sauce
  • 1 cup vegetarian broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons potato flour dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Dice tofu and blanch in water; drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in the pot and stir-fry ginger until fragrant. Stir in doubanjian. Add vegetarian pork, soy sauce, and stir-fry sauce. Stir evenly.
  3. Add broth and diced tofu. Bring to boil, then simmer on low 2 minutes, to let tofu absorb the flavor of the sauce. Stir in potato flour slurry and let thicken.
  4. Drizzle with chili pepper and sesame oils before serving.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving (based on 16 oz soft tofu and not including salt for salted water): 140 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 10 g protein. Nutritional analysis provided by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.

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