Makes 6 servings
1 package extra firm tofu (12-16 ounces depending on brand)
10 ounces soba noodles
3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
½ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari (GF)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon chili oil or sambal
1 medium cucumber
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium carrot
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
This beautiful chilled noodle salad can be eaten on its own or as a side dish. Thinly sliced rainbow-colored vegetables add plenty of flavor and crunch while also delivering on vitamins and antioxidants. Tofu can be swapped out for chicken, if preferred. Be careful when shopping for soba noodles if you are gluten free, as many have wheat added to them.
1. Drain the tofu and slice into 6 long sections. Place on a cutting board and wrap between two paper towels or a dish towel. Place another cutting board over the top and weigh down, pressing the tofu for at least 30 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside. Soba tends to stick so stir often to prevent too much sticking.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and chili oil or sambal.
4. Cut cucumber, bell pepper, and carrot into ⅛ inch matchstick pieces, or finely julienned.
5. Add soba noodles, sliced vegetables, cabbage, and the sauce to a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Let chill in the fridge covered for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.
6. Cut pressed tofu into small ¼ inch cubes. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil. Heat until shimmering and swirl around the pan. Add the pieces of tofu and cook until light brown and crispy, tossing regularly to get all sides browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
7. Add cooled tofu and toss before serving. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.