August 30, 2011

Meatless Monday: Soba Noodles with Baked Tofu and Ponzu Sauce

Ah, the post-vacation reality check. I was pretty tired when I finally arrived at my apartment at midnight last night. I didn't even unpack most of my stuff and when I got off the Metro this morning the first thing I realized was that I'd left my work ID and office keys at home. Happy Monday!

I had an awesome time in Miami and I promise I will post some pictures of the fantastic food adventures we had (spoiler: I got that pressed Cuban).

But first, it's Monday, which vegetarian recipe! Tonight I tried cooking with ponzu and soba noodles for the first time. Soba noodles are a Japanese buckwheat noodle, similar in shape to a thin spaghetti, but with a slightly stickier texture (and a way awesomer flavor). There are different varieties of soba, which, unfortunately I can't tell you much about, since this is my first time using them. I used a kind with wild yam flour and they were fantastic. Ponzu is a deliciously tangy Japanese citrus sauce.

I hadn't heard of ponzu until I ran across this recipe for a cold soba noodle salad with ponzu sauce on Serious Eats.  It looked pretty tasty in the picture, so I figured I'd give it a try. The original recipe didn't really call for any protein, so I figured I'd add some marinated baked tofu. Since the package of soba that I purchased was smaller than the amount called for in the recipe, I thought I'd stretch it by adding a couple of cups of mung bean sprouts, but alas, when I opened them tonight they'd gone south. The recipe yielded 4 hearty servings though, so no harm done.

Before I realized the bean sprouts were bad :(

But all these yummy things still went in.

The recipe itself was very easy. The only change I made was adding the tofu (recipe below) and substituting crushed red pepper for togarashi (not entirely sure what that is, but it said it was optional and added heat, so I figured I'd use what I already had in the cupboard). The tofu took a while because I pressed it, then marinated it and then baked it, but the noodle part only took about 20 minutes. And, since it can be served cold, this is a good recipe to make ahead for an easy weeknight supper. We'll be enjoying it again tomorrow.

The tofu and its dressing, deconstructed.

Soaking up the goodness.


The verdict on taste: amazing! I put sriracha in my tofu marinade and topped the noodles with crushed red pepper flakes. The combo of the ponzu, marinade and spice was really fantastic. MG and I both agreed this would have to go in the recipe book I keep so that I can make it again. It's also a pretty inexpensive meal - although the soba noodles are more expensive than spaghetti noodles, the rest of the ingredients are either pantry items (if you make a lot of Asian food), tofu, and just a couple of fresh veggies.

With and without the baked tofu.

Another successful Meatless Monday in the books!

Spicy Baked Tofu

1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk together the soy sauce, Sriracha and teriyaki sauce. Add sesame oil slowly, while whisking. Place the tofu in a glass baking dish, pour on marinade, and toss to coat evenly. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so all the tofu is coated.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the tofu out evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the tofu and bake for another 15 minutes. Enjoy with soba noodles, or just by itself.

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