Vegan Crispy Tofu Asian Noodle Bowl is my new “go-to” for Meatless Mondays! Crispy, sweet and spicy tofu atop fresh noodles tossed in a flavorful sauce. This bowl is also packed with herbs and vegetables which makes me feel downright virtuous.
I have a confession to make. I’ve fallen off the Meatless Monday wagon. Truth be told, I fell off the wagon and down the rabbit hole. I’ve been really lax about my eating habits lately and I’ve paid the price. I’ve not been feeling quite as “healthy” as I normally do and I’ve made a deliberate effort to get back on track. One of those ways is Meatless Monday. Now, before you write any emails telling me that noodles aren’t healthy… all of Asia can’t be wrong. And did I mention that a bowl of spicy noodles is quite literally my favorite thing on the planet? Seriously. It’s my happy place. Besides, I’ve chucked in a healthy amount of veggies and a few handfuls of herbs which means it is good for me.
Here’s how this meal happened: I was leaving a client’s house and realized that I was *almost* in the neighborhood of an Asian market that I had been scoping out for the past 6 months. Why I haven’t been, who knows? So, I ducked in and was immediately thrilled. It was nearly as good as the one I used to go to in New York, so I was pleasantly surprised! I spent about 15 minutes in the produce section, picking up and smelling pretty much everything. This is how I work. I go in with an idea, then the feel and smell of ingredients make something in my brain start firing. 20 minutes later, I came up with this.
- 1 lb fresh lo mein noodles (or sub rice noodles, soba, etc) - cooked according to pkg directions
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and leaves picked
- 1 bunch mint, washed and leaves picked
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced
- 1/2 bunch perilla, washed and sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage (sub green cabbage or napa)
- 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup sprouts - I used mung bean
- 1 cup edamame
- 1 lb Chinese broccoli (or other hearty greens)
- 1 package brown beech mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 lime
- 1 TB canola oil
- 1 TB sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 TB sesame oil
- 1 TB rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 TB sugar or honey
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Drain the tofu on paper towels. You will need a few layers of paper towel underneath and on top of the tofu. I put mine on a small baking sheet and set another baking sheet on top of it, then I put a gallon jug of water on top of it to weigh it down. You will need to change the paper towel once (maybe twice) until it no longer soaks through. No one wants soggy tofu.
- While tofu is draining, make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk everything together and set aside.
- When it has been sufficiently drained, add marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes, then remove.
- While tofu is marinating, saute the vegetables. In a medium pan, saute the cabbage, mushrooms and red pepper just until softened and set aside.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the Chinese broccoli for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium pan over medium high heat, add tofu in a single layer and sear (without moving it) for 5 minutes or until a nice brown crust forms. Flip over and sear the other side. A cast iron pan works great here.
- Layer noodles on the bottom and pile all of the vegetables on top. Add herbs, peanuts, sprouts and edamame. Toss with a few teaspoons of soy sauce (or Kekap manis!) and sesame oil.
- Pile crispy tofu on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and dig in.
- If you are in an Asian market, these foods may have other names. What to look for-
- Perilla - also known as shiso or tia to. The leaf is green on top and purple underneath.
- Brown Beech mushrooms are also known as hon shimeji mushrooms
- Chinese Broccoli - also known as Gai Lan
- Alternately, you can cook the tofu in the oven. Toss with a little cornstarch and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
More Meatless Recipes:
Used to Make Tofu Asian Noodle Bowl: