Dan and I spent a week in Utah last month and aside from canyoneering and hiking, a lot of what we love about this type of trip is car camping. This includes taking in the spectacular desert scenery while hanging out around a campfire, cooking delicious food, watching the watercolor sunset give way to a radiant Milky Way. Etc.

But food! This is the second post in a series about car camping meals you can make on your next trip. Or try out at home and tweak to your liking in preparation for your next trip.

Dan and I make this tofu stir fry meal a lot at home. It is healthy, flavorful, and filling. AND it is easy to change depending on what vegetables or protein you have in the fridge.

Tofu stir fry
Sauteing a vegetable medley and burning some tofu.

I love making a tofu stir fry on car camping trips. It’s easy to prep most of the steps at home and spend only ~20 minutes cooking a fresh, healthy dinner. Tofu is great for car camping because I don’t have the same level of concern about food spoilage as I would if it were chicken. And browning the tofu on all sides in a cast-iron skillet gives it an awesome texture – crispy on the outside, soft/chewy on the inside.

Tofu stir fry
Crispy tofu + sauteed vegetables + rice + a delicious peanut ginger sauce.
What you will need
  • large frying pan or cast iron skillet
  • large pot or cast iron dutch oven
  • stove with two burners
  • large spoon
Notes on prepping at home
  • If you will use the vegetables within a few days, you can chop them and store in a container in the cooler.
  • I made the rice in my rice cooker, let it cool to room temperature, then put the cooled rice in a container to store in the cooler.
  • I made the sauce and stored it in a glass tupperware. Before using it I whisked again to make sure it was smooth.

Tofu Stir Fry With Peanut Ginger Soy Sauce

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Tofu Stir Fry With Peanut Ginger Soy Sauce

Active prep time is ~15 minutes. Passive prep time pushes that number closer to 50-60 minutes. Also, the directions look long but I included some tips/notes for your reading pleasure.


    For the Peanut Ginger Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter [Or sub creamy almond butter or tahini]
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar*
  • 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek**
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp dry ginger
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes [only if you like spicy]
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice [I used almond milk]
    Stir Fry Ingredients
  • 1 lb block super firm tofu***
  • 1 yellow or red onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, diced into small florets
  • Other optional vegetables - shredded purple cabbage, snow peas, diced zucchini
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice [I used basmati]
  • High heat cooking oil such as canola or avocado oil


  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions.
  2. Press the tofu at home****. Put the block of tofu between two plates and place something relatively heavy on top, such as a large cookbook. Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain off excess fluid. Store in a container or Ziploc to take with you.
  3. Make the sauce: add all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  4. Cube the tofu.
  5. The plan is to cook the vegetables and tofu at the same time.
  6. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. You want it to get pretty hot so the tofu crisps instead of absorbing all of the oil. You can always test by taking a small sliver of tofu and putting it on the oil. Once it starts sizzling, its ready.
  7. While you're waiting for the pan to warmup, heat up two tablespoons of oil in a pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Check that it's hot enough by putting a small onion slice in the oil. If it starts sizzling, put the rest of the onion into the pan. Stir to coat in oil.
  8. Place the tofu cubes in the large sauté pan. They will need to cook for about 5 minutes per side to brown. I usually make sure that two sides are well-browned and crispy and then just do a cursory heating of the other sides depending on how much time I have. Check occasionally that it's not burning (see above burned tofu picture), and if it is lower the heat and flip the tofu.
  9. Once the onion turns translucent, add carrots and bell pepper and stir. You may need to add another tablespoon of oil here. The cast iron absorbs oil like a sponge.
  10. Once the carrot and bell pepper soften, add the broccoli and stir. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the broccoli to turn vibrant green and soften slightly, tender crisp style.
  11. Time to put everything together. Add the pre-cooked rice and peanut sauce to the pot with the vegetables. Stir to coat everything in the sauce. Let heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the sauce doesn't burn on the bottom. Now add the browned tofu and stir so everything is mixed evenly. Serve and enjoy!


Here are directions on how to cook basmati rice or brown rice.

*If you don't have rice vinegar, try another acidic liquid like lime juice or white vinegar

**Sriracha can be substituted for Sambal Oelek

***If you don't like tofu you could substitute 1 medium chicken breast.

****If you are using chicken, here is a simple recipe on how to pan fry a chicken breast.



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