One Week Wonders: Udon Noodle Salad with Broccolini and Spicy Tofu

Last Sunday, after living my DC dream and attending the White House Correspondent’s Dinner the night before (also known as Nerd Prom in some parts), I was still working through the excitement of being so close to so many celebs and hearing Obama speak (via TV at the hotel bar).  I was also a little hungover, and in the mood for greasy food.  Knowing that whatever I cooked would also be my lunch for the week, I opted to make something that tasted like fast-food Asian, but actually had some healthy elements and wouldn’t put me in a food coma every day after I ate.

Enter Udon Noodle Salad with Broccolini and Spicy Tofu – this was the perfect thing to make.  Not only did it hit the spot on Sunday (and is still going strong on Tuesday), it was easy to make, allowed for lots of intermittent couch time in between each step and helped me get over my fear of blanching broccolini, due to a near-choking incident my mom had a few years ago – the last time I made it.

Udon Noodle Salad with Broccolini and Spicy Tofu (serves 4-6)

adapted from Cooking Light

  • 8 oz water-packed extra-firm tofu
  • 5 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (can substitute tamari)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 oz uncooked dried udon noodles
  • 6 c water
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz broccolini
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 thinly sliced radishes (about 3 medium)
  • 2 tbsp chopped dry-roasted cashews, toasted
Cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices.  Place tofu slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels.  Let tofu stand for 30 minutes or so to drain (I think I waited an hour), pressing down occasionally.  Remove tofu from paper towels, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 2 tbsp canola oil, soy sauce and 1 tsp Sriracha in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add tofu cubes to soy sauce mixture, and toss gently to coat.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Remove tofu from bowl with a slotted spoon; reserve tamari mixture in a bowl.  Arrange tofu in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake tofu at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Cook udon noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well.
Combine 6 c water and salt in a large saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil.  Add Broccolini to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain and plunge Broccolini into ice water; drain well.  Chop Broccolini.
Add remaining 3 tbsp canola oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and sesame oil to reserved soy sauce mixture in bowl; stir mixture well with a whisk.  Add baked tofu, udon noodles, Broccolini, and 1/2 c thinly sliced radishes to bowl; toss gently to coat.  Sprinkle salad with cashews.
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