This is my kind of meal. Fresh, quick (just 30 minutes required!), satisfying, lots of vegetables, and plenty of protein.
This Thai-inspired noodle bowl is my dream lunch come true. Care to join?
The show stopper in this meal is the almond butter tofu.
Tofu is pressed dry, tossed in cornstarch, lightly browned, then sautéed in my almond butter stir fry sauce until savory, sweet, and perfectly crisp.
Next up, vegetables.
The beauty of a meal like this is you can use practically whatever produce you have on hand. For a variety of textures and flavors, I went with cucumber, green onion, red pepper, and carrot noodles. I also think edamame, mango, and radish would work well, too.
The vegetables not only add vibrant color to the dish, but also lots of fiber and crunch!
The dressing is extremely flavor and complements the noodles and veggies perfectly: A combination of garlic, thai chili, vinegar, tamari, lime juice, sesame oil, and maple syrup – ingredients you likely already have on hand!
Now you’re ready to dig in. I hope you love this noodle bowl! It’s quick, fresh, flavorful, incredibly satisfying, and perfect for lunch or dinner. Make this when you’re craving something satisfying, but quick and loaded with vegetables.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!
- 8 ounces (227 g) extra firm tofu
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) sesame oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp (32 g) salted creamy almond, cashew or peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 1 birds eye chili, crushed (or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
- 3 Tbsp (21 g) cornstarch
- 5 ounces (141 g) very thin rice noodles (I like this brand)
- 2 cups (244 g) thinly sliced or ribboned* carrots (~2 carrots)
- 1 cup (104 g) cucumber, sliced on a bias, then halved (~1 small cucumber)
- optional: 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup (50 g) thinly sliced diced green onion
- 1/2 cup (30 g) fresh cilantro or basil, torn/chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
- 1 fresh or dried birds eye chili, crushed (more to taste), or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten free)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar (or sub white or apple cider vinegar with varied results)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
- Start by wrapping tofu in a clean towel and setting something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) to press out excess moisture for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare the tofu sauce in a medium mixing bowl by whisking together 1 Tbsp sesame oil, almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and 1 crushed chili. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, chili pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Next, prepare rice noodles according to package instructions, then rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly, and set aside.
- Prep vegetables next. Set aside.
- Prepare salad dressing by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl (or jar) and whisking (or shaking vigorously) to combine.
- Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more chilies for heat, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3-4 Tbsp cornstarch (they should be well coated) and sauté in 2 remaining Tbsp sesame oil, flipping once browned on the underside to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes total.
- Add the almond butter sauce and stir gently to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring gently to ensure even cooking on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To assemble, divide noodles, vegetables and tofu among serving bowls. Serve with dressing. For more heat, serve with sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep well when stored separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
* To ribbon carrots, rinse, remove outer skin with a vegetable peeler, and then make “noodle ribbons” with the vegetable peeler by running along the edge of the carrot. Each carrot should make about 10 noodles!
* Salad dressing adapted from Thai Kitchen and my Vegan Papaya Salad.
* Tofu adapted from my Vietnamese Spring Rolls.