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Stir-fried Tofu and Meatballs

Stir fried tofu and meatballs

This recipe was created by bariatric surgeon Dr. Joseph McPhee. 

If I told you there was a food that contained only 88 calories, 10 grams of protein, 25 percent of your required daily calcium, 11 percent of your daily iron, and only one gram of carbohydrate in just one cup, you would be excited to try it, right?

I am talking about tofu. Some of you may think tofu is not appetizing, or bland. But what if I told you it is similar to chicken in that it absorbs other flavors used in cooking and can be prepared numerous ways, including in stews, stir-fries, soups or sauces, and even desserts.

A mainstay in Asian cuisine, originating in China more than 2000 years ago, Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing out the curds into blocks. While there are many different varieties, I prefer the extra firm since it makes cooking easier.

If you are not familiar with tofu, this recipe is a good place to start as the complex flavors are absorbed by the soy bean curd. If you decide you do not care for tofu, the vegetables and meatballs will provide plenty of nourishment.

Willing to give it a try? Just have your ingredients chopped and mixed and ready to go since stir frying only takes a few minutes. This recipe should feed four with each serving around 280 calories and 22 grams of protein, plus any rice served on the side.

Preparation time: About 1 hour
Stir-frying time: 5-10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes


  • 1 cup of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • ½ lb ground meat (pork, veal, turkey or beef)
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup oyster sauce
  • 1 cup broccoli flowerets
  • 1 cup snap pea pods
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock\
  • 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • ½ tablespoon chili bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. If serving with brown rice, start preparing the rice now according to the package directions since it will take about one hour to cook. White rice will take less time.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce and one green onion. Using your hands mix well and form into small meatballs, no bigger than a large marble.
  4. Place meatballs on a plate and place in the freezer 15 minutes or longer. (This will allow them to firm up and easier to mix with the oyster sauce later.)
  5. While the meatballs are in the freezer, pour 3 cups of water into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and snap peas, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer vegetables for five minutes, drain and set aside.
  6. Remove meatballs from the freezer and, using your hands; gently mix the meatballs with the oyster sauce in a medium size bowl. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray or covered with parchment paper. Bake meatballs for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
  7. Now you are ready to stir fry. Combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, chili bean paste and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
  8. Heat a wok or large sauce pan on high heat and add the olive oil and sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger and remaining green onion to the oil and stir fry for about 1 minute.
  9. Turn the heat to medium and stir in the chicken stock mixture. Stir and simmer for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the vegetables, meatballs, and last the tofu. Continue to simmer for another 1-2 minutes, gently stirring so as not to break the tofu. Serve over white or brown rice.

Makes 4, 1-cup servings.

Nutritional Information
Per 1 cup serving (does not include rice): 280 calories; 16g total fat (3.5g saturated fat, 2.7g polyunsaturated fat, 6.6g monounsaturated fat); 648mg sodium; 88mg cholesterol; 13.5g carbohydrate; 1.6g fiber; 3.3g sugars; 22g protein; 213.8mg potassium.

author name

Joseph R. McPhee, MD

Joseph R. McPhee, MD, is a physician specializing in bariatric surgery with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

Education: A graduate of New York University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. McPhee completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his residency at North Shore University Hospital.

Call: 717-544-2935

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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