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+ servings
Bowl of vegan cashew chicken and vegetables on rice.

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken Stir Fry (vegan)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Tracy Halasz


The Prep Work

  • 4 oz soy curls, dry
  • 1 - 1 ½ cups cashews, toasted
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice

The Soy Curls

  • soy curls, hydrated
  • 1 tablespoon oil

The Vegetables

  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 - 1 ½ tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into strips or triangles
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 1 - 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
  • ½ - 1 cup snow peas, cut in half
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach or sliced into ribbons

The Sweet and Spicy Cashew Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce, vegan
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 ½ tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½+ cup vegetable broth*
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  • sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges (optional)


The Prep Work

  • Cover the dry soy curls in water and soak for 6-8 minutes. Drain water and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Set aside.
  • Toast the cashews in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Shaking skillet often to toast evenly. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Make the rice as per package directions (either stove top or Instant Pot). I made enough for 2 cups cooked rice (½ cup each serving). Adjust for your family's needs.
    I like the Instant Pot because it's easy, fuss free, and keeps the rice warm until ready to use.

The Vegetables

  • Chop onions, mince/grate ginger, mince garlic.
  • Cut the red peppers into long thin strips or triangles.
  • Wash and peel the carrots and cut into slices on a slight diagonal or coins.
  • Top and tail the peas - cut in half if large.
  • Break the broccoli into small size florets.
  • Use baby spinach or cut large spinach leaves into ribbons.

The Sweet and Spicy Cashew Sauce

  • Stir the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or large measuring cup. Set aside.

Cooking - soy curls

  • Add oil to wok or large deep skillet over medium to high heat.
  • Add soy curls to pan. Let them sit without stirring for about a minute. Flip them and cook uninterrupted for another minute or so (to get a little crust and color on the other side).
  • Stir and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes then transfer to paper towel or bowl.

Stir Frying - veggies

  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok. Once, shimmering, add onions, Sauté over medium-high for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
  • Add the veggies (except peas and spinach) - continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes stirring to prevent sticking (add a splash or broth or water if necessary).
  • Add the peas, spinach, and soy curls.
  • With the wok over moderate heat, add half the sauce to the veggie mixture. Stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
    Add more sauce until desired saucy-ness is achieved.
  • If the sauce gets too thick, add another splash or two of water/broth to thin.
  • Add half the toasted cashews (leaving the rest for garnish). Stir and cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice.

To Serve

  • Place a scoop of rice onto 4 plates, divide the cashew chicken and veggies evenly getting all the sauce from the bottom of the pan.
  • Garnish with a few toasted cashews, some cilantro or Thai basil leaves, and a wedge of lime.


SOY CURLS: I've only ever used Butler Brand which are incredible. In the USA you can order directly from Butler Foods. In Canada, I use Vegan Supply online. They can also be ordered online from Amazon. The price is around $6.99 for a bag.
BAKED NOT FRIED: The soy curls can be baked instead of stir fried. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Prepare them as above but then arrange the hydrated curls in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Bake them for approximately 20 minutes (until starting to get crispy) stirring once at the halfway point. Once they are baked, just stir them into the veggies before you add the sauce.
VEGETABLES: Cut the vegetables evenly so they cook at the same speed.
GINGER:  I go through fresh ginger pretty fast; but if you don't, you can cut it into 1" pieces, peel, and freeze them for use later.
It stores well in the freezer for a couple months and grates easily when it comes out of the freezer.
Delicious for smoothies, etc. as well.
Alternatively you can sub ginger paste or ginger powder if you are out of fresh.
NUTS: toasting the nuts brings out the flavour and crunch.
THE SAUCE: change up the sweetness (mirin) or the spiciness (cayenne, ginger) of the sauce by adjusting these ingredients to your taste preference. Swap maple syrup or sugar instead of mirin. 
If the sauce gets too thick, reduce the heat and add a splash or two more of water or broth.
LEFTOVERS & STORAGE: Leftovers store easily in the fridge for a day or two and are delicious for lunch the next day.