Vegan Mapo Tofu (素麻婆豆腐)

Authentic Mapo Tofu, vegan-ized. It is spicy, numbing, pungent, and umami — easily the most hearty and fulfilling vegan dish I can think of.

Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) is one of my favorite Sichuanese dishes. I first developed this vegan version around three months ago. Since then, I’ve made it over and over again, tweaking slightly each time. Now that I’m really happy with this version that I’ve arrived at, I’m sharing it with you all today. Hope you’ll like it too!

An accompanying bowl of fluffy, freshly steamed rice is a must. Every time I make this dish, I’m always struck with regret. Because I hadn’t made more.

Vegan Mapo Tofu

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Authentic Mapo Tofu, vegan-ized. It is spicy, numbing, pungent, and umami — easily the most hearty and fulfilling vegan dish I can think of. Perfect over a bed of fluffy steamed rice.


  • 10 shiitake mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup textured vegetable protein

  • 1.5 cups water

  • 1 block (400 g) soft or silken tofu

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 3 dried chilis, seeds removed & thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fermented garlic black bean paste

  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground

  • 1 tablespoon doubanjiang (spicy broad bean paste)

  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (substitute: rice wine vinegar)

  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (home-made recipe HERE)

  • Thickening Agent
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1.5 tablespoons water


  • Prepare the TVP. Soak the TVP in warm water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain the water and squeeze out excess liquid from the re-hydrated TVP. See this recipe for TVP visuals.
  • Cook the Mushrooms. In a non-stick pan, cook minced mushrooms with 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the mushroom broth. Set both aside.
  • Blanch the Tofu. In a medium-sized pot, bring lightly-salted water to boil. Carefully add the tofu, and cook for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove pot from the heat, drain the water, and keep the tofu warm inside the pot (with residual heat).
  • Make the Mapo Tofu. In a non-stick pan, heat up sesame oil and vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and dried chilis, and cook until fragrant, around 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and TVP, and cook while stirring until TVP is lightly browned and starting to turn crispy, around 7 minutes. Follow with fermented black bean paste, doubanjiang, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and toast together for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring & be careful not to burn. Deglaze with soy sauce and vinegar, then add back in the mushroom broth. Very carefully add in the tofu in as well (they are very fragile at this point). Cook everything together for around 3 minutes (should be simmering/lightly boiling), then drizzle in the cornstarch slurry (thickening agent). Simply swirl the pan until the sauce thickens (don’t use a spatula to stir the tofu around). Finish by drizzling chili oil and sprinkling scallions. Serve warm.


  • Blanching the tofu: this is an optional, but highly recommended step. The result is a more flavorsome tofu with better texture (compared to not blanching the tofu).
  • Spiciness: adjust the amount of Sichuan peppercorns and/or chili oil to adjust levels of spice.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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Gin Yang
1 month ago

Are the Shitake mushrooms in this recipe dried or fresh?

Will Klena
Will Klena
1 month ago

Wow, this recipe looks fantastic. I’ve been craving Asian comfort food since I’ve switched to a plant-based diet, and I’m so glad I discovered your Tik-Tok / website. I will post a follow up comment when I end up making this dish!