Basil Tofu with Green Beans

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Basil Tofu with Green Beans is a delicious, vegetarian version of your favorite take-out dish. Bursting with flavor and ready in less than 30 minutes, this dish is the perfect weeknight dinner. Serve it alongside some brown rice for a satisfying and healthy dinner.

241 CAL 14g CARBS 15g FAT 17g PROTEIN 2
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Say hello to your new favorite Meatless Monday recipe, because Basil Tofu with Green Beans is the ultimate plant-based crowd-pleaser. I try to eat a fair amount of plant-based meals and tofu is one of my favorite plant-based protein sources. Not only is it incredibly versatile, but it is loaded with nutrients and super easy to prepare.

From this crave-worthy Hoisin Tofu Bowl to this delicious Tofu Cauliflower Fried Rice, I have certainly met my fair share of amazing tofu recipes. That being said, Basil Tofu with Green Beans is easily one of my all-time favorites.

This delicious vegetarian-friendly recipe is a play on one of my favorite take-out dishes. It’s made simply with tofu, fresh basil, lemon, green beans, onions, garlic, and soy sauce. It’s packed with beneficial nutrients and comes together in under 30 minutes for the ultimate healthy weeknight meal. It's also delicious with chicken.

This Basil Tofu is the perfect dish for whipping up during the week when you don’t have the time or energy for something extravagant. Trust me when I say that as easy as this dish is to make, it certainly tastes like it takes way more effort than it does!

You can serve this dish on its own for a low-carb meal or pair it with a bowl of brown rice or quinoa for a wholesome and satisfying meal. I highly recommend making extras to eat for lunch throughout the week—you won’t regret it!

Stir fried tofu with basil and green beans in a bowl with red pepper flakes on the side.

What is Tofu?

Tofu is a type of plant-based protein that is made from condensed soy milk. It is naturally gluten-free and super low in calories, making it a nutrient-dense source of plant-based protein. Because tofu is so mild in flavor, it can be easily adapted to fit into any kind of flavor profile you want. This is part of what makes it such a popular option for vegans and people looking to eat more plant-based dishes.

Another bonus is that tofu is incredibly easy to work with and prepare in different ways. It can be stir fried, roasted, grilled, sautéed, scrambled, pan-fried, or eaten raw. It is a great way of adding some delicious protein to salads, grain bowls, soups, stews, and noodle dishes.

Key Ingredients

To make this healthy basil tofu, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Extra firm tofu. Soft, silken, and regular tofu all have too much water, which can cause your stir fry to get soggy. To avoid soggy stir fry, stick to firm or extra firm tofu.
  • Green beans. This is my go-to veggie of choice or this dish, but you can really use any veggie you have in the fridge. Other great options include broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
  • Soy sauce. This sauce lies at the heart of every good stir fry dish. To keep the sodium level down, I like to use low-sodium soy sauce. For a gluten-free dish, feel free to swap out the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Basil. Fresh basil lends a ton of flavor to this delicious tofu dish. For the best results, I highly recommend sticking to fresh basil and not using the dried version.
  • Lemon. The juice and zest of lemon are both used to brighten up this dish and enhance the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Want to make the best basil tofu? Of course, you do! Here are some of my top tips and tricks to turn that dream into a reality:

  • Switch up your protein. Not keen on tofu? That is totally fine. This dish tastes great with chicken, beef, or shrimp. To continue down the plant-based route, try using mushrooms or chickpeas instead.
  • Press your tofu. In order to achieve delicious tofu that isn’t soggy, it’s crucial that you press your tofu with a heavy object (like a frying pan) for about 15-20 minutes before serving. To do this, lay paper towels on top of the tofu and then gently lay the pan on top of that.
  • Add some nuts. For a really nice crunch and nutty flavor, try adding some chopped nuts to the dish just before serving it. Peanuts and cashews both work well.
  • Change the sauce: Make this with our homemade stir fry sauce recipe or teriyaki sauce.

Tofu with a savory basil sauce served with green beans in a glass bowl with a fork.

How to Serve Basil Tofu

This healthy basil tofu dish tastes absolutely drool-worthy on its own as a low-carb meal. However, if you’re looking for a more filling meal, here are some of my serving recommendations:

  • With grains. Nothing beats serving this classic stir fry dish with a simple bowl of rice. I like using brown rice for an extra boost of fiber, but you could use white rice or quinoa as well. For a low-carb option, try using cauliflower rice.
  • With noodles. For another take on a classic dish, try serving Basil Tofu with Green Beans alongside a bowl of noodles. I recommend these Asian Noodle Bowls or these Asian Zucchini Noodles for a low-carb version.
  • With egg rolls. What stir fry dish doesn’t taste absolutely incredible alongside some fresh egg or spring rolls? I recommend these delicious Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce for a show-stopping flavor pairing.

How to Store Basil Tofu with Green Beans

Because this dish is so easy to make and stores so well, it makes a great meal prep recipe. Before storing this dish (and any other dish, really) make sure to let it cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, you can transfer your leftovers to an airtight storage container and store it in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 3-4 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this healthy tofu recipe:

Yes! Tofu is an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients. By making this dish at home, we’re able to avoid the MSG, artificial sugar, and other additives that are typically found in restaurant take-out dishes. Made with plant-based protein, veggies, and fresh herbs in a simple stir fry sauce, this dish is incredibly healthy.

Extra-firm tofu works best for stir fry dishes, but if you can’t find any you could use firm tofu in a pinch. The secret for optimal tofu texture is getting rid of as much moisture as possible before cooking, therefore it is best to start with the firmest tofu you can find.

Your tofu might be crumbly if it is too dry. Although you want to eliminate most of the tofu’s moisture, overly dry tofu will crumble when it cooks. Another reason your tofu might be crumbly is because you’re using tofu that is too soft. Extra-firm tofu will work the best for this basil tofu dish.

Bowl with basil stir fried tofu and green beans.
The Recipe
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Basil Tofu with Green Beans

241 CAL 14g CARBS 15g FAT 17g PROTEIN 2
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  • 4 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 20 oz extra firm tofu (pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

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Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the green beans and water. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes until green beans are tender crisp and bright green. Remove and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.

Green beans cooking in a skillet.

Add half the olive oil to the pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften.

Red onions cooking in a skillet with oil.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute until fragrant.

Garlic, red pepper flakes, and red onions in a skillet.

Add the tofu in a single layer. Season with fresh pepper. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown and crisp. Continue cooking for 4-8 minutes, flipping as needed to brown on all sides.

Tofu being cooked in a skillet in a single layer.

Add the green beans back to the pan. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and basil.

Green beans being added to a skillet of tofu.

Cook for about 1 minute until basil is just wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Basil and lemon juice being added to a skillet with tofu.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5-2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 241
Calories from Fat 139
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 286mg
Total Carbohydrate 14g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 17g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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