COLD VEGAN NOODLE SALAD WITH SEARED TOFU & ZINGY ALMOND BUTTER SAUCE

cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.comcool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.comcool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.com
I made this easy cold noodle salad with lots of fun and weird add-ins because I feel like most people really dig a noodle salad with all the healthy goodies at a potluck/picnic/gathering sort of situation. It’s got a zippy little almond butter sauce with plenty of ginger and lime. Tofu is a once-in-a-while treat for me, so toasty little cubes on top of that veggie and noodle tangle felt pretty good. Watercress is a little pepper-y, peaches are juicy, the fresh peas are totally sweet, and the Thai basil gives a nice hit of fragrance. You could be a high-vibe hero at any picnic with this one.

A couple bonus things too. I’m competing in a smoothie contest hosted by the awesome people at So Delicious Dairy-Free. If my peach raspberry crumble shake wins (so yum), they’ll make a donation to World Animal Protection, a charity that does important work for animals, and by extension humans, worldwide. I would be so grateful for your vote. It’s just one little click right here.

Big, glow-y + humid summer hugs this week ;)

cool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.comcool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.comcool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.comcool vegan noodle salad w/ seared tofu + zingy almond butter sauce // via thefirstmess.com

cool vegan noodle salad with seared tofu recipe
print the recipe here!
almond butter sauce/dressing recipe adapted from Epicurious
serves: 4-6
notes: I used my julienne peeler on a zucchini to add some extra vegetables into the mix, but this is totally optional. I was aiming to get some rice stick-style brown rice noodles for this, but couldn’t find them anywhere in my ‘hood, so went with some totally basic brown rice spaghetti. You could use soba, all veggie noodles or anything you like. This recipe is pretty chill :)

zippy almond butter sauce ingredients:
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup almond butter (I used a roasted + salted one)
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (reserve zest for salad ingredients below)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 cup filtered water

noodle salad ingredients:
1/2 package brown rice noodles/spaghetti etc. (about 6 ounces)
1 zucchini
1/2 cup shelled fresh peas
1 handful of fresh snap peas
3 handfuls of fresh watercress (or baby arugula, sliced kale, baby mustard greens etc.)
2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil (or regular basil)
1 green onions, sliced
1-2 medium peaches
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 package firm organic tofu, patted dry (about 8 ounces/227 grams)
pinch of chili flakes
1 tsp lime zest
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons raw almonds, chopped
salt and pepper

Make the almond butter sauce: place the peeled ginger and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse a few times to chop. Then add the almond butter, tamari, lime juice, agave nectar, chili flakes, and the water to the food processor. Run the motor on high until you have a smooth mixture. Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set sauce aside.

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse and drain noodles, trying to space them out in the colander so that they cool off faster. Place cool noodles in a large bowl.

Using a regular peeler or a julienne peeler, shave off pieces of the zucchini until you get to the center. Place zucchini “noodles” in the bowl with the brown rice noodles. Season all of the noodles with salt and pepper, toss, cover and place in the refrigerator.

Shell all of the peas, slice the snap peas in thirds, pat dry the watercress, chop the Thai basil and green onions, slice the peaches into the thin wedges or chunks. Bring out the bowl of noodles and add 1/2 of the almond butter sauce. Toss the noodles to coat. Then add the peas, snap peas, watercress, Thai basil, green onions, and peaches. Toss lightly to combine. Cover the bowl and return it to the refrigerator.

To make the tofu, heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. You want to make sure that it’s pretty hot. While the pan is heating, dice the dried-off tofu into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes. Towel off the cubes. Place about 1/2 of the tofu into the pan and let it sear on one side for a good minute. Season the tofu with salt, pepper, chili flakes and half of the lime zest.Stir the tofu/shake the pan a couple times until all sides of the tofu cubes are nice and brown, about 3 minutes. Empty the pan of cooked tofu onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this process with the other half of the tofu.

Bring the bowl of noodles out of the refrigerator and scatter the crispy tofu on top. Drizzle the remaining half of the almond butter sauce on top of the noodles and then garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped almonds. Serve the noodles with additional lime wedges if you like.

This salad will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days, but it’s worth noting that the almond butter sauce might solidify a bit and the tofu definitely won’t be as crispy. If you’re bringing this to a potluck/picnic sort of thing, I’d recommend tossing the noodles with a tiny bit of oil, salt + pepper first (to avoid any sticking), piling all of the add-ins on top, putting the almond butter sauce in a jar, and mixing the whole thing up when you get to your event.

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