vegan pineapple stir fry with sweet chili sauce in a bowl

Vegan Pineapple Stir Fry with Sweet Chili Sauce

Stir fry is one of those deceptively simple dinners. It comes together fast and with minimal ingredients, yet tastes like a million bucks. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and those who are new to the kitchen.

Best of all, stir fry is unique. A chameleon of the noodle world, just a few ingredient exchanges create a brand new rhythm for the tastebuds. Switch your sauce, add a new vegetable, and you discover a new branch – sometimes a brand new tree.

Much like you can never step in the same river twice, I wholly believe you can never eat the same stir fry twice. Something different arrives on the plate each time, no matter how much you try to automate your recipe. I think we should cherish this as a beautifully human happening, and a delicious one, too.

For this vegan pineapple stir fry, I did my best to keep the recipe simple or “down to its roots” so that you can build your own branches with it.

vegan pineapple stir fry, up-close shot

A simple and fun pineapple stir fry

If you’re not someone who eats pineapple on pizza, that’s okay. You will still like this dish.

Why? Because 1) I know for some that the pizza is a sacred comfort, and putting a fruit like pineapple on it feels like heresy. And 2)… this stir fry taste nothing like pizza. It’s a weird and funky noodle dish that combines spicy and sweet with a dash of heat.

This recipe keeps it simple for the new and busy chef. Peppers and pineapple bring the texture and bite while the homemade sweet chili sauce plays off the contrasting foods.

You’ll notice that I don’t add any sugar to my sweet chili sauce, and that’s for a few reasons:

  • The pineapple gives enough sweetness, so added sugar would overdo it.
  • This keeps the recipe healthier.
  • I don’t like sweeter sauces, so I typically go low on the sugar.

Preparing the tofu

Some people like to marinate tofu to give it more flavor. If you want to do that, go for it! Just marinate the tofu in half the sweet chili sauce for 1 hr. before you start cooking.

On a weeknight when I’m hungry, I’m not going to fuss with marinating. I press the water out of the tofu for 20-30 min. tops while I cut the pineapple and peppers and boil the noodles.

To do this, wrap firm tofu in a cloth or paper towel, place the tofu between two flat plates, and weight it down with a heavy object on top. It will look like a sad sandwich: plate – towel – tofu – towel – plate – heavy object. The towel will soak up most of the liquid, but you may also get some liquid sitting on the bottom plate.

How to cut the pineapple

Pineapple is the shining star of this vegan pineapple stir fry, so it’s important you get this part right.

Use a ripe pineapple, but hopefully, it’s not too ripe that it has several brown spots. If it does, that’s okay, but you will likely have a sweeter stir fry. Add more heat to counteract this. I’ve never made this using frozen pineapple, so I can’t give you any advice for or against it. To be honest, pineapple never lasts long in my house to the point where I need to freeze it or risk tossing it.

For this recipe, cut the pineapple into 1/4 in., bite-sized wedges. To start, cut the top off and 1″ from the bottom. This way, you can stand the pineapple upright with a flat bottom.

Next, cut the pineapple in half lengthwise (hot-dog style), then twice more lengthwise so you have 8 tall pieces. From the top, it will look like a triangle with one rounded edge where the outer layer is still attached. the middle point is the core of the pineapple – it is typically hard and is your choice whether to remove or not. I like to remove it and eat the core myself :).

To remove the outer layer, you can do one of two methods:

  1. With the slice standing upright, carve the outside layer off with a sharp knife. Steady the slice with one hand on the top of the slice.
  2. Lay the slice down on its side and carve the outside layer off in short pieces with a sharp knife.

Next, lay the pineapple on its side and cut into 1/4 in. slices. Place the slices in a large bowl, and compost the outer layer and remaining core. Repeat with the remaining slices.

A simple and sustainable stir fry

For those who are here for sustainable recipes, keep this one pinned to your Pinterest board or wherever you keep your favorite recipes. This won’t disappoint!

Sustainable recipes have most of these qualities:

  • locally sourced ingredients
  • minimal ingredients
  • no processed foods or ingredients
  • no meat or dairy products (or very, very minimal)
  • require little energy (i.e. gas) to make

This stir fry checks off every box (if you have an electric stove). The tofu works well with the crispy peppers and tender pineapple. Every ingredient you can grab at your local store, and you don’t buy your own sweet chili sauce.

Yes – that Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce is delicious. Do you know what’s better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistband? Homemade sweet chili sauce. It’s not difficult to make. I promise. Try it and let me know, so I can give you the kudos you deserve.

I hope you enjoy this simple pineapple stir fry as much as I do.

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vegan pineapple stir fry with sweet chili sauce in a bowl

Vegan Pineapple Stir Fry with Sweet Chili Sauce

  • Author: Tess Sohngen
  • Prep Time: 30 min.
  • Cook Time: 20 min.
  • Total Time: 50 min.
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

This fun and funky stir fry uses minimal ingredients and a homemade sauce for a fun twist on sweet and spicy. With no processed ingredients, its a healthy and simple dinner that’s good for the body and the planet.


Scale

Ingredients

For the stir fry

  • 3 cups sliced pineapple (about 1 medium fruit)
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 14 oz. firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder (or 1 clove minced)
  • noodles or rice to serve

For the sweet chili sauce

  • 1/2 cup chili oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil (see note)
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 3 Tbs. natural honey (optional)

Instructions

  1. Press the liquid out of the tofu for 20-30 min. Discard the liquid and add the tofu to a large, rimmed saucepan. Add about 1 Tbsp. canola oil and spices, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook for 7-8 min. The tofu should brown at the edges touching the pan.
  2. While the tofu cooks, prepare your peppers and pineapple. You want thin, bite-sized pieces of each. Add these to the pan with the tofu along with 1 Tbsp. more canola oil. Cook for 7-8 min. or until the peppers just start to singe.
  3. While waiting for the peppers and pineapple to cook, combine all the ingredients for the sweet chili sauce in a liquid measuring cup. Add the sauce to the pan, and turn the heat to medium-low or low. Stir until the sauce coats everything.
  4. Serve warm with 1/2 cup rice or noodles. Store in an air-tight contain in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

If you don’t have sesame oil, you can replace it with soy sauce for this recipe. It’s not ideal, and the sauce with have a saltier taste, but it’s a quick switch.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup stir fry + 1/2 cup rice
  • Calories: 485
  • Sugar: 19.5
  • Sodium: 11
  • Fat: 27.6
  • Saturated Fat: 2.6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 52.6
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 8.9
  • Cholesterol: 0
 

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