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Sweet Potato and Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Bowls

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 entree servings 1x


Take this recipe step by step, and you’ll end up with a gorgeous, healthy bowl of vegan and gluten-free goodness. The steps are in the order I recommend for maximum efficiency. If you find yourself standing around at any point, work on the next possible step.



Fried tofu

  • 15 to 16 oz. package organic firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 T peanut oil, divided
  • Kosher or sea salt

Rice (makes 4 C)

  • 1 1/2 C dry short or long grain brown rice
  • 3/4 t kosher or sea salt


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lb.), scrubbed
  • 12 T kosher or sea salt (for boiling plus grilling)
  • 1 1/2 T coconut oil (optional, if grilling; or olive oil)

Stir fry

  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 small or 1 larger zucchini
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 T tamari (or soy sauce, if not gluten free)
  • 1/2 T toasted sesame oil (find it at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 1/2 T peanut oil

Peanut sauce (for 1+ C)

  • 1/4 C + 2 T natural peanut butter (it should be a bit runny)
  • 2 T rice or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tamari
  • 1 t pure maple syrup
  • 2 t sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 t sea salt or more tamari
  • 1/4 C filtered water (not ice cold)

For serving (optional)

  • 2 limes
  • Cilantro sprigs or leaves


  1. Press the tofu (do ahead). Lay the whole block (or 2, depending on packaging) on a thick layer of paper towels or a folded, clean dish towel set on a dinner plate. Cover with a few layers of paper towels then balance something heavy–like a cast iron pan or cookbook–on top. Make sure the object isn’t so heavy that the tofu crumbles beneath its weight. Leave alone for 30 minutes. Remove from press setup, then cut into approximately 1 1/2 by 1 inch rectangles, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
  2. Cook rice (do ahead). Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to boil in a large pot with a lid. Rinse rice under cold water in a fine mesh strainer for about 30 seconds. Add to boiling water, stir once, then boil gently, uncovered, reducing heat if needed, for 28 to 30 minutes, until rice is tender. Drain rice in a strainer for 10 seconds, then return to pot, off the heat. Cover pot with a dish towel then the lid for 10 minutes, allowing rice to steam and absorb remaining moisture. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and salt to taste.
  3. Pre-cook potatoes (do ahead). Bring a pot of water (about 4 qts.) to a boil. Slice potatoes 1/2″ thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt to boiling water, then lower in potatoes. Boil 5 to 7 minutes, until tender when pierced but not falling apart, checking frequently. Rinse gently with cold water in a strainer. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Prep stir fry veg (while rice cooks). Mince the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger and combine in a small dish. Julienne or thinly slice (1/8″) carrots. Chop or slice zucchini to 1/4″ cubes or slices. Separate chard stems and leaves. Slice cleaned stems 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick and combine with carrots. Wash and chop or tear leaves into 2″ to 3″ pieces. If prepping ahead, store in air tight, refrigerated containers.
  5. Make peanut sauce (do ahead). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk all ingredients except salt together until smooth. Add and incorporate water to thin. Season to taste with salt. Store covered in refrigerator, bringing to room temperature for a half hour before serving. If sauce was made more than a day ahead, check to see if it needs more seasoning.
  6. Grill potatoes (optional). Heat a grill pan or the grill over medium while you melt the coconut oil in a small dish in the microwave. Lay the boiled sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or cutting board and brush one side with oil. Place oiled side onto the grill and cook 7 to 9 minutes, until visible grill marks appear. While the first side cooks, brush the second side with oil and season with salt. Use tongs to flip slices over and cook on other side about the same amount of time, seasoning the first side with salt as the second side cooks. Serve immediately with the bowls, or keep warm on the baking tray in a low oven, partially covered.
  7. Fry tofu. In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium to medium high until very hot but not smoking. One of these is helpful, as the oil may splatter. Lay half the tofu (or more if it will fit) large side down in the oil–it should sizzle. Cook 4 to 6 minutes on each side, undisturbed, until golden. Remove to paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Add remaining oil to the pan, allow to heat, and fry remaining tofu the same way. Tofu can also be kept warm in a low oven. It will stay crisp on a wire rack.
  8. Make stir fry. Combine lime juice, tamari, and sesame oil and set aside. In a large (at least 12″; use the pan from the tofu if it’s big enough) skillet, heat peanut oil over medium high until shimmering. Add jalapeno, garlic, and ginger mixture and cook about 15 seconds. Add carrots and chard stems and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, chard leaves, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and cook until chard is wilted, zucchini is just tender, and water is almost evaporated. Add soy/lime/oil mixture and simmer gently for a couple minutes, stirring, until mostly reduced. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  9. Serve it up! Fill bowls with rice, potatoes, stir fried veggies, and fried tofu. Serve peanut sauce, limes, and cilantro at the table.


As written, the recipe is gluten free and vegan.

Times do not include inactive time to press tofu.

The method of cooking the rice is different from most package instructions, and it takes the guesswork out of how much water to use. It works with all types of brown rice, but I haven’t tested it with white.

I like to use peanut oil since it stands up to high heat. You could try another high smoke point oil, such as certain vegetable oils or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend canola due to the bland flavor.

Cook times in the stir fry step may vary slightly–it makes a big difference how hot your stove is. Mine tends to run very hot (think campfire), so I try to normalize the temps I used when posting the recipe. Your best bet is to watch for the indicators given.

Peanut sauce inspired by Deborah Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Category: One Bowl
  • Cuisine: Asian