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A bowl of vegan pepper steak

Vegan Pepper Steak

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This saucy and delicious Vegan Pepper Steak comes together in under 20 minutes, making it a great choice for a healthy weeknight meal.


Units Scale
  • 8 ounce bag (around 4 cups) soy curls (see note 1)
  • 3 1/4 cups vegan beef broth or vegetable broth (see note 2)
  • 2 medium bell peppers, sliced (we used green and red)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced ginger, to taste
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water (reserve 1/4 cup water)
  • 7 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (see note 3 for GF option)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or any sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (see note 4 for sub)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch


  1. Note: If serving with rice, get that going first (note that if you’re doing brown rice, you may want to get that started well before you start this recipe).
  2. Rehydrate soy curls: Start this recipe by soaking your soy curls. Add the soy curls to a medium bowl, discarding any of the powder at the bottom of the bag. I usually save the small crumbles for other recipes. Cover the soy curls with the broth and mix gently. Let sit for 10-12 minutes. While you wait, measure out the other ingredients, chop the peppers, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, etc.
  3. Squeeze excess broth from soy curls: When the soy curls have absorbed most of the liquid (they won’t absorb it all), you’re ready to dry fry. Start a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place the bowl of soy curls next to or near the stove with the skillet. Working with one handful at a time, gently squeeze the excess broth out of the soy curls and throw them in the skillet. You don’t have to go crazy getting them dry--just squeeze out the majority of the liquid, whatever comes out in 1-2 squeezes.
  4. Save leftover broth: You can save the extra broth if you like. Strain out the excess liquid--I like to save it in a jar and use it in soup, rice, or other things throughout the week or it can be frozen for later use.
  5. How to dry fry soy curls: Dry fry the soy curls for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to get a little browned. Stir them often with a wood or silicone cooking spatula/spoon. If you notice them start to get really dark or burned, turn the heat way down. I don’t use oil when I do this because I feel like the soy curls absorb the oil and stay kind of wet. The dry frying technique really helps to brown the soy curls.
  6. Add peppers: Add the sliced peppers and cook for 4-6 more minutes until the peppers start to get softer. You can customize this a little based on how cooked you like your peppers--I like mine to still have a bite to them.
  7. Make the sauce: In a small bowl or measuring cup (I like to use the measuring cup because it has a spout), whisk together the water (reserve ¼ cup of the water just in case you need it but don’t add it to the mix at this time), soy sauce, mirin, coconut sugar, and arrowroot powder or cornstarch until smooth. Set aside for a minute.
  8. Add garlic and ginger: Now add the garlic and ginger and stir constantly for one minute. Then turn the heat down to medium.
  9. Add the sauce: Add the sauce and stir constantly for about a minute--it should thicken quite quickly. If you think it’s gotten too thick, go ahead and add a bit of the reserved water at a time until you get the consistency you want. If it gets too thin you have two options--cook it down for a little while (5-6 minutes) and it will thicken on its own, but the peppers may get too soft during this time. So the other option is to mix another tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water in your bowl or measuring cup and add that to the pan. Mix it in and it should thicken in a few minutes.
  10. Serve: Remove from heat, season with fresh cracked black pepper (and salt if you think it needs it, but I found it salty enough) and serve with rice. I like to garnish mine with roasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion. Red pepper flakes would be good too.
  11. Store: Refrigerate leftover vegan pepper steak separately from rice in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.


  • Note 1: Butler soy curls are the base of this simple dish. I used the whole 8 ounce pack. Try to avoid the small crumbles for this dish. The small crumbles I save and use whenever I make soup, chili, or like a TVP pasta sauce. If you prefer not to use soy curls you could use baked or air fried tofu (or even puffed tofu), seitan beef like my simple recipe for instant pot seitan (instructions for those without an instant pot are included), or a store-bought vegan beef product like Gardein.
  • Note 2: I like to use vegan beef broth for this recipe so I can have that particular flavor. I use Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base mixed with water. The soy curls won’t absorb all of it so I usually strain it into a jar and use it in a soup or stir fry sauce later in the week (can also be frozen). You could alternatively use vegetable broth with a splash of soy sauce or if you’re really in a pinch, water will work. I just like to do broth because I feel like it gives the overall dish more flavor.
  • Note 3: If you can’t have gluten, try a gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos. I used reduced sodium soy sauce here but regular sodium should work fine. If you’re worried about it being too salty, use half the amount of regular soy sauce and dilute it with a little water.
  • Note 4: Mirin is a tasty bottled fluid used in Japanese cooking. It adds flavor and depth to the vegan pepper steak sauce. It’s a little sweet and a little tangy. It’s optional for this dish. A good substitute is rice vinegar, or you can leave it out.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Pepper Steak, Soy Curls