Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Tender noodles coated with a creamy sesame-peanut sauce, tossed with crispy tofu pieces, refreshing cucumber and bell pepper, and brought together with a pop of fresh cilantro and sesame seeds.

Sounds delicious, right?

Good. Because it’s what I’m bringing to you in this latest blog post:

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Chilled pasta salads are a great way to mix up a boring spaghetti routine.

Yeah, you’re still eating pasta, but somehow, serving it cold makes it feel like a new, exciting, and refreshing dish.

Especially if you stray away from the typical Italian flavors, and go Asian instead. Plus, Chinese egg noodles cook even MORE quickly than Italian pasta. Win win.

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu and Sriracha

Peanut sesame noodles hit all the right notes.

Okay, I have a picky palate, so rather than just combine oil, vinegar, peanut butter, and tahini, I prefer a more complex sauce spiced up with fresh ginger, garlic, and shallot.

Andrew Zimmern (of Bizarre Foods fame) published a recipe for authentic Sichuan noodles with the most amaaaaazing peanut sesame sauce, and ever since making it, I can’t use any other sauce.

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

So, this noodle salad features Andrew’s perfection of a sauce, plus some extra veggies and tofu to make it a meal instead of a side dish. (Thanks Andrew!)

This meal does require a lot of chopping, but I promise the end results are worth it. Don’t skimp on those sauce ingredients… the sauce is what makes the dish! It’s the perfect balance of salty and savory with a hint of acid and sweetness. And it does a wonderful job of coating the noodles, veggies, and tofu without feeling gloopy.

The final dish is a refreshing, light noodle salad with tons of flavor.

Trust me, this one is a crowd pleaser.

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu - Overhead Shot

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 6
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 5 tablespoons roasted, unrefined peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12.3 ounces medium Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into small matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup minced cilantro
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Take the tofu block out of the watery brine and dab it with paper towels to dry it off. Wrap the tofu in a fresh set of paper towels, set on a plate, and place something heavy, like a large cookbook or small saucepan on top to "press" the liquid out. Let sit for 15 minutes while you prep the sauce.
  2. To make the sauce, add the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, granulated sugar, rice vinegar, dry sherry, garlic, tahini, shallot, and 3 tablespoons of peanut oil to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator while you finish prepping the rest of the meal.
  3. Unwrap the tofu and discard the paper towels. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Pour the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet and warm over high heat. Add the tofu and pan fry on all sides until golden brown. Remove the crispy tofu to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  4. Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the egg noodles. Cook according to package directions, until al dente (4 minutes, for the brand I used). Drain the noodles in a colander and run under cold water until the noodles are cooled. Shake to drain any excess water and blot dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large serving bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil.
  5. Add the refrigerated peanut sauce to the bowl of noodles and toss to coat well. Add the crispy tofu, cucumber, bell pepper, and cilantro. Toss again lightly to combine. Scoop into individual serving bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Inspired by Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles from Food & Wine Magazine / Andrew Zimmern

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Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Potatoes. Nature’s humble comfort food.

They’re inexpensive, delicious, easy to prepare, and please just about anyone.

You can slice and fry or bake into French fries, boil and mash into creamy mashed potatoes, dice and toss with olive oil and herbs and bake into crispy bites, or even pan sauté on the stove until golden on the outside and creamy on the inside.

So many options. And all of them are delicious.

Easy Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

A new favorite is in town: Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes.

They have the delicious golden crust that you get from baking, but they stay nice and creamy on the inside & don’t dry out at all.

The secret is using red or new potatoes and dicing them nice and small (about 1/2 inch dice) so you can get a good ratio of crispy crust to creamy inside.

Pan fry until golden, toss with some aromatic herbs and spices (garlic and rosemary are my favorite) and a little salt and pepper, and you’ve got an amazingly delicious side dish ready in 20 minutes.

Simple Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Pour the olive oil into a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the diced potatoes, stir with a spatula to coat with the oil, shake the pan to distribute the potatoes into one even layer, and then let them cook, without stirring, for a few minutes or until the potatoes develop a nice golden crust on that side.
  3. Stir the potatoes with a spatula and repeat this process, letting the potatoes cook and become golden on all sides, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. If the potatoes start to burn, reduce the heat. If they are not browning, turn up the heat a bit.
  4. Once the potatoes are nice and golden and crispy (and tender on the inside), stir in the minced rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
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Winter Citrus Salad

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad

Salads don’t have to be complicated.

Sometimes, in fact, the best salads are the simplest.

I know I’m guilty of overloading my salads. What will a little cheese hurt? Some nuts, some legumes, some olives, why not the whole kitchen sink?!

But if you’re able to exercise a little self-restraint, you might be surprised by the clean flavors of a simple salad.

The slightly bitter crunch of the lettuce, the zing and tastebud tickling tartness of fresh citrus, and the smooth and luscious texture of extra virgin olive oil. That’s all you really need!

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad in a Large White Bowl

Plus, simple salads are friendly to nearly any eater. They’re naturally gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free, vegan, and vegetarian. Amazing!

This winter citrus salad highlights three delicious citrus fruits: lemon, orange, and grapefruit. The ultimate trifecta.

Lemon and grapefruit give the salad and dressing a nice tart zing, while the natural sweetness of orange balances it out. Rather than dousing the salad in oil, I let the citrus flavors shine. This dressing is heavy on the citrus zest and juice, and light on the oil. And you won’t even miss it!

This light and bright salad goes great with a heavier main dish, like Oven Roasted Pork,  Creamy Potato Fennel Soup with Pancetta Croutons, or Seared Pork Chops with Mustard Pan Sauce.

Vegan Winter Citrus Salad with Baby Greens

Winter Citrus Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 additional large navel orange
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit
  • 8 oz mixed baby greens
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, dijon mustard, parsley, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside for now.
  2. Next, segment the orange. Here’s how it’s done: Cut off the top and bottom of the orange to expose the flesh. Put one of the cut sides down on the cutting board, then use your knife to slice off the skin and pith off the orange. You’ll do this in sections, by slicing off one section of the skin/pith with your knife, from top to bottom of the orange, following the curve of the orange, then rotating the orange and continuing slicing off the skin until all that’s left is a beautiful skinless & pithless orange.
  3. Next, grab a paring knife & carefully slice each segment of fruit out from it’s papery membranes. To do this, slide your knife between the left and right membranes, releasing the fruit segment in one piece. As you cut out each segment, place it in a bowl for later. Continue until all the segments are cut out of the orange. Discard the remaining membrane.
  4. Repeat this process with the grapefruit.

  5. Divide the baby greens into 4 salad bowls, and divide the orange and grapefruit segments on top of each. Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy.
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