This easy 5-minute vegan stir fry sauce is perfect for coating vegetables and tofu. This savory sauce is sweet, salty, a touch spicy, and can be thickened into a sticky texture. Plus, it can be made with or without soy sauce, making it a great option for soy-free or gluten-free diets!
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Stir Fry Sauce
This vegan stir fry sauce is a game-changer for all your stir fry needs! Here are some reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
- Sweet, salty, and a touch spicy – This sauce hits all the right flavor notes to elevate your veggie stir fry to the next level.
- Versatile – This sauce is perfect for coating a variety of noodles, vegetables, and tofu, making it a great plant-based stir fry sauce option.
- Gluten-free and soy-free options – You can make this stir fry sauce without soy sauce by using coconut aminos instead!
- Quick and easy – Whip up this simple 5-minute vegan stir fry sauce with just a handful of simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
- Perfect for meal prep – Make a batch and store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days for quick and easy meals throughout the week. It’s perfect for busy weeknights!
Let’s dive into the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this mouth-watering stir fry sauce. Don’t worry about the quantities, we’ll cover that in the recipe card below.
- Soy sauce or coconut aminos – Both options add depth to the sauce, with soy sauce providing a salty umami flavor, and coconut aminos lending a slightly sweeter, milder taste for those who prefer a soy-free option.
- Brown sugar – This sweetener balances out the salty, tangy flavors in the sauce, and imparts a subtle molasses note that enhances the overall taste.
- Rice vinegar – Rice vinegar’s acidity brightens the flavor profile and compliments the other ingredients, giving the sauce a tangy flavor and kick.
- Minced garlic – A classic ingredient in stir fry sauces, minced garlic adds an aromatic, pungent touch that elevates the sauce’s flavor complexity.
- Minced ginger – Fresh minced ginger lends a zesty, warm, and slightly spicy undertone, enhancing the overall taste of the sauce.
- Chinese 5 spice (optional) – This aromatic blend of spices, typically including cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, imparts a warm, slightly sweet depth to the sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil – With its distinct, nutty aroma, toasted sesame oil adds a rich, roasted flavor to the sauce, which rounds out the taste.
- Sambal oelek or sriracha – Choose either of these chili-based condiments to bring some heat to your sauce, tailoring the spiciness to your preference.
- Water or low sodium vegetable broth – This liquid base thins the sauce, reduces the sodium per serving and allows the sauce to evenly coat your stir fry ingredients. Opt for a low sodium vegetable broth for an extra layer of flavor.
- Cornstarch – This essential ingredient helps thicken the sauce, ensuring it clings to your stir fry ingredients for a rich, flavorful experience with every bite.
If you need to make any substitutions, here are a few suggestions:
- Soy Sauce – You can make this stir fry sauce without soy sauce by using coconut aminos as a gluten-free alternative. You could also sub in vegan oyster sauce.
- Rice Vinegar – You can use another type of vinegar like Chinese Black Vinegar (note: not all are gluten-free), apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Sambal Oelek or Sriracha – Feel free to adjust the amount of sambal oelek or sriracha to suit your spice preferences, or even substitute red pepper flakes for a different kind of heat.
- Brown Sugar – swap in coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of brown sugar.
Here are some useful tools that will make the process of mixing up this simple sauce a breeze:
- Small bowl or glass measuring cup
- Whisk or rubber spatula
- Airtight container or mason jar for storage
Step By Step Instructions
Follow these simple steps to make this quick and easy sauce!
STEP 1: Mix all the sauce ingredients, except the 1 tbsp of cornstarch, in a small bowl or glass measuring cup.
STEP 2: To thicken the sauce, transfer it to a skillet and heat over low heat. Whisk in the cornstarch, ensuring there are no lumps. You can use a rubber spatula to press any lumps against the bottom of the pan to break them apart.
STEP 3: Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens (about 1-3 minutes).
STEP 4: Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer it back to the mixing bowl/cup or pour into a sealable, airtight container or mason jar for storage.
This vegan and vegetarian stir fry sauce is perfect for a veggie stir fry with fresh red bell peppers, snap peas, and any other vegetables you love. Garnish everything with sesame seeds, green onions, or a spritz of lime juice.
Here are a few ways I love to use this simple stir fry sauce!
- It’s also great for coating tofu, plant-based proteins, seitan or vegan chicken
- It makes a delicious stir-fry sauce for vegetables (see ideas below!)
- Use it in udon noodle stir-fries or to coat ramen noodles
- Pour over white rice or brown rice
Vegetable Stir Fry Ideas:
- Snow peas
- Baby corn
- Red bell pepper
- Bok choy
- Green beans
- Broccoli or broccolini
Store the sauce in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This makes it an excellent option for meal prep.
Here are a few helpful tips to make sure your sauce has the best flavor and texture:
- Use fresh ginger and garlic for the best flavor.
- If you prefer a thinner sauce, simply reduce the amount of cornstarch or add more water / vegetable broth to thin it out.
- For a stronger sesame flavor, feel free to add a little more sesame oil.
- Adjust the spice level to your preferences by adding more sambal oelek or sriracha to taste!
Yes, this sauce is perfect for meal prep! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Absolutely! This sauce is a great addition to any dish that needs a little extra flavor, such as rice bowls or grilled vegetables.
You can use any neutral-flavored oil, but keep in mind that the toasted sesame oil adds a depth of flavor that compliments the other ingredients in this sauce.
Yes, you can make sauces for stir fries without soy sauce. You can use coconut aminos in this recipe for a soy-free option.
More sauces and stir fries:
- Homemade Sweet Soy Sauce
- Simple Korean Chili Sauce
- Vegan Peanut Noodle Stir Fry
- Szechuan Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Mongolian Tofu Stir Fry
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