Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Noodle Salad with Tofu and Vegetables

Summer is nearly here, and with summer comes the season of light dinners. Salade nicoise, pasta salads, potato salads, soba noodles and pad Thai. Salads that are more then leafy greens but still light on the stomach for a warm summer's night.

While my knee-jerk reaction to a request for a light meal usually has me running for Rebar's soba noodle salad recipe, I decided to click around to see what else is out there. And I'm glad I did.

Whole Foods Market's recipe for quick noodle salad with tofu and vegetables caught my eye (and not just because the word "quick" is in the title). The reason is because it calls for pad Thai-style rice noodles. The recipe would work great with soba noodles, and while using soba noodles are my inclination, I decided to try it out with rice noodles. After all, there's nothing wrong with sticking to a recipe.

I also came across Orangette's great looking recipe for Soba with Peanut-Citrus Sauce. So with winning results, I used Whole Foods recipe for the salad and Orangette's recipe for peanut-citrus dressing.

Quick Noodle Salad with Tofu and Vegetables (serves 4)
(adapted from Whole Foods Market)

1/2 package of pad Thai-style rice noodles or whole wheat linguine or soba noodles
1 cup bean sprouts
1 bunch of green onions, thinly chopped on a diagonal
1 (8-ounce) package of tofu, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 carrots, grated
1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite peanut sauce or Asian salad dressing
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Using a kettle, bring a pot full of water to boil. Put half the package of pad Thai-style rice noodles in a bowl and pour the boiling water over the noodles to cover. Let the noodles sit for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander and drizzle a little sesame oil over the noodles to keep them from sticking. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cube the tofu and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Again, drizzle with sesame oil and bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.

To the rice noodles, add green onions, tofu, carrots and dressing and toss to coat. Just before serving, add the bean sprouts, cilantro and roasted peanuts. Enjoy!

Orangette's peanut-citrus sauce
½ cup well-stirred natural peanut butter, such as Adams 100% Natural Creamy
1 ½ tsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. pressed garlic (about 1 small clove)
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ tsp. sriracha or a similar hot sauce, or more to taste
½ tsp. chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek, or more to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. water

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