How to Make Udon Noodle Salad with Tofu and Spring Vegetables For Dinner
Tofu lovers, brace yourself, and non-tofu lovers, here's the recipe that changes your mind. Today we show you how to make an udon noodle salad with crispy tofu and spring vegetables, the best way to soak up the new season with all of its fresh produce while indulging in a comforting meal as temperatures are still warming up.
Make this dish for dinner or surprise your carnivore friend with an entirely vegan meal that has them questioning why they don't eat vegan cuisine more often. Between the thick, chewy udon noodles, crispy texture of tofu, and crunchy vegetables, this dish deserves an award for best mouth-feel and most interesting flavor profile with its combination of sweet maple syrup, acidic rice vinegar, and savory garlic which makes for a pleasant umami aftertaste.
Tofu is the main protein source of this noodle dish and whether or not you're a fan of the soy-based block, the combination of seasonings and sauces in this recipe disguises the bland taste, completely drawing your attention away from the protein.
Some might argue that this meal tastes even better the next day, as the flavors have more time to infuse. It's hard to imagine that you will have leftovers but if you do, store them in a tight container and dive in fork first the next day. Heating up the meal is optional since the noodles taste incredible at any temperature as long as they're cooked.
Message from the recipe developer: "I love NASOYA’S TOFU for its quality, its awesome texture (the extra firm is firm enough that I often just press it gently with tea towels to dry it off, rather than pressing between books to remove excess moisture), and the fact that I can nearly always find it near me. And of course, there’s all of the nutrition that tofu has to offer: protein, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, healthy fatty acids."
Udon Noodle Salad with Tofu and Spring Vegetables
Serves 4 people
- 1 14-ounce package Nasoya Organic Extra Firm Tofu, cut into ~3/4-1 inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar (substitute white vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower or grapeseed)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional, for flavor)
- 8 ounces Udon, soba, or lo mein noodles
- 2 heaping cups of vegetables of choice, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used a mix of snow peas and asparagus)
- ½ cup thinly sliced radish or grated carrot, for crunch
- Optional toppings: cubed avocado, toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh chopped cilantro or mint
- Mix the vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Allow the tofu to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the Udon noodles and cook according to package instructions. 3-4 minutes before the noodles are ready, add your vegetables to the pot to blanch along with the noodles. Drain everything, then rinse it under cold running water to cool it off and stop the vegetables from cooking. Allow it to drain again.
- While the noodles and veggies cook, add your vegetable and sesame oils to a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from its marinade and add it to the frying pan, reserving the marinade. Cook the tofu for about 6 minutes, stirring as you go to ensure that the tofu browns a little on each side.
- Add your cool noodles and veggies to a mixing bowl, along with your radishes or carrots (or another crunchy addition). When the tofu is ready, add it to the noodles. Pour the reserved marinade over the mixture and toss well to combine.
- Season to taste with extra tamari if needed, and add any additional flourishes (avocado, herbs, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds) that you like. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and enjoy cold.
This recipe was created by Gena Hamshaw, The Full Helping