This is one of our favorite family recipes. It's quick and easy to prepare, and the kids love it! Both my boys like raw veggies, pasta and tofu, so it's the perfect recipe. I usually serve it with a spring roll on the side. If I don't have all the veggies on hand, I just swap them out and add cucumbers, edamame beans, etc...
- 1/4 cup toasted or untoasted sesame oil
- 3-4 tablespoons rice vinegar to taste (if you like it tangier add 4)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon low sodium tamari
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
For the Salad:
- 1 (8-ounce) package of soba noodles
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 3-4 green onions, finely chopped (about 3/4 cups) – If I’m being honest I cut these out – I hate green onions
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, minced
- 1 batch Cast-Iron Tofu (see below)
- Fine Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds to garnish
- Fresh lime juice for serving
- Sriracha, for serving
Cast Iron Tofu:
- 1 (12-16 oz) block of firm or extra firm tofu
- 3 teaspoons avocado oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1) Prepare the Cast Iron Tofu:
- Press the Tofu – I used the “Book Stacking Method” with my heavy coffee table books! Rinse the tofu with water, lay two thick dish towels on top of each other on the counter and place a few sheets of paper towel on top. Slice the tofu into 9-10 rectangles and set them on the paper towel in a single layer. Place 2 or more thick dishcloths on top of the tofu slabs and place a cutting board on top of those dishcloths. Set several heavy books on top of the cutting board. Let sit for 20-30 minutes OR over night to allow for the weight of the books to press out the water. I waited about 1 hour and the tofu turned out perfect.
- Slice the pressed tofu into squares, roughly giving you 54-60 tofu pieces.
- Heat a large skillet (non-stick) over medium heat for several minutes (When a drop of water gently sizzles on the skillet, the skillet is hot enough to add the tofu).
- In a large bowl, combine the tofu with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil. Stir until the tofu is coated. Stir in the garlic powder, salt and onion powder.
- Carefully add the remains 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan (when hot enough) and tilt the skillet to coat it evenly. Add the tofu to the pan in a SINGLE layer to make sure all pieces lay flat.
- Cook the tofu on one side for 4-7 minutes until you have a golden crust. Then, with a fork, flip EACH piece and cook the other side for 4-5 minutes until golden. If you want to enjoy the crispy crust of the tofu, serve immediately. It is still delicious when it softens!
2) Make the dressing – in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth (I threw it in my bullet to really mix it up) – cover, store in the fridge to thicken
3) Make the Salad – cook the noodles, drain, place in a large bowl
4) Add the bell peppers, green onions (eww), and cilantro to the bowl with the noodles. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add half the tofu cubes and toss again, taste and season if necessary.
5) Top the salad with remaining tofu, sesame seeds and cilantro scattered on top. Squeeze a bit of lime juice. Salad can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days, is delicious hot or cold – but if you want to enjoy your tofu crispy then gobble it down while it’s hot!
- Jennifer Maagendans