Sesame Stir-Fry (Vegan and Gluten-Free with Soy-Free Option)

Vinegar-free, soy-sauce-free stir-fry.

This satisfying stir fry gets its luscious flavor from lemon, tahini, and just the right seasonings,. Super healthy stir-fry with a tasty twist.

Vegan Stir-Fry - No Soy Sauce

Soy-Sauce-Free Stir-Fry

A stir-fry, by definition, is a mixture of vegetables cut into small pieces (usually combined with tofu or meat) that’s cooked quickly in oil over high heat. To this mixture is usually added soy sauce or vinegar to season.

Since this dish isn’t sauteed over high-heat and contains no soy sauce or vinegar, maybe I should call it a vegetable saute or vegetable medley or something similar, rather than a stir-fry.

Whatever you call it, this dish is easy-to-make, super healthy, and wonderfully delicious. It’s great over rice, but I like it on its own as well.

Preparing Vegan Stir-Fry - No Soy Sauce

And because it’s not only gluten-free and vegan, but can also be made soy-free as well (by using chickpea tofu), this soy-sauce-free stir-fry is a great dish for when you need to make a meal for a variety of tastes/preferences/dietary needs.

Quick and Healthy Meal

I use a food processor to make this recipe because:  1.) It saves time.   2.) Um, it saves time.   With a food processor, I can get this meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Vegan, Gluten Free, Sesame Stir-Fry

Some Notes About This Soy-Sauce-Free stir-fry Recipe

Sesame seeds – I use brown sesame seeds in this Sesame Stir-Fry mostly because I like them better in this dish, but also because they are more nutritious. You could use the white ones, but it would change the flavor slightly (and lower the nutrition content a bit).

Tahini – I know, I know. I told you I didn’t like tahini.  It’s true. I don’t like it.  Really.

In fact, I tried it again at lunch today just to make sure, and, yep, it’s gross. But it has some magical quality that makes it so you can mix it with certain other ingredients, and – poof! – it makes everything taste amazing. I dunno. Some things in this world are hard to understand.

Tofu – To all you tofu-haters: Here is your opportunity to love it.

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-sauce-free stir-fry


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Vegan Stir-Fry

Sesame Stir-Fry (Vegan and Gluten-Free with Soy-Free Option)

Since, by definition, stir-fry is cooked at a high temperature and usually in a wok, this vegetable medley isn’t technically “stir-fry”. It is, however, a flavorful and satisfying way to get more vegetables in your diet. Tahini and lemon juice give this super healthy stir-fry a tasty twist.
Prep Time 18 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
YIELD 4 servings
All recipes on are property of jennifer’s kitchen and cannot be republished without written permission.


  • 1 pound frozen, extra-firm, water-packed tofu, thawed - see note
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into thin slices or matchsticks
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded raw cabbage
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced - (approx. 3/8-inch slices)
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons granulated onion - (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons roasted tahini
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 cups cooked long-grain brown rice


  • In a very large pan or skillet, sauté carrot, cabbage, pepper, onion, and peas in oil over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown slightly.
  • Meanwhile, squeeze or press liquid out of tofu. You can do this with your hands or you can use a tofu press.  Cut into bite-size cubes.
  • Add squash and tofu and continue to sauté until vegetables become tender crisp (about 4 minutes). Stir enough to prevent sticking, but not so much that the tofu falls apart.
  • Reduce heat if vegetables brown too fast.
  • Stir in garlic, granulated onion, and salt.
  • Mix together lemon juice and tahini and mix into stir-fry. Remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Serve over brown rice or rice noodles or by itself.


1. To freeze tofu: Remove tofu from package, drain, place in plastic bag or container, and freeze for at least 24 hours.
2. To make this recipe soy-free, use chickpea tofu.

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  1. 4 stars
    Enjoyed this change from soy sauce based stir fry. The recipe is very versatile. I had to make some substitutions based on what I had in the house: used combo of bok choy & cabbage, combo of yellow onions and shallots. Substituted zucchini for yellow squash. Didn’t have granulated onion and the result needed more seasoning. Black pepper helped. Prep time took much longer because my food processor is broken so I had to cut all the veggies by hand. 🙁
    Will definitely make again.

    1. Those sound like delish substitutions, Sheri. So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

      Bummer about your food processor. Barely a day goes by that mine doesn’t get put to use; I might cry when it breaks. 🙂
      When you’re in the market for a new one, this page might be helpful.

4 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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