Off the bat I will let you know that you'll need a julienne peeler for this recipe. They're only like 10 bucks for a pack that comes with both a julienne peeler and a regular peeler, so it's well worth the investment, IMHO.
So, zucchini noodles. I'm gonna keep it real with you and admit that I do not consider zucchini noodles, or zoodles, to be a great substitute for pasta. At the end of the day, it's a vegetable, and it will never have the carb-y caress of a real noodle. But, as a salad, I am fond of zoodles. My favorite salads are crunchy and colorful, and using zucchini and carrot noodles is a great way to achieve this.
I used a nut butter based dressing for this salad. It's creamy and zesty, and pairs perfectly with the sweet & spicy tofu. The tofu is first seared on a grill pan for about 5-7 minutes, to give it those nice grill marks, and then cooked under the broiler for about 16-20 minutes. The long cook time helps to remove the excess moisture in the tofu, leaving with is a crispy, meaty lil nugget that makes this salad a filling, satisfying, and delicious meal. For real- I was sad when it was over.
• 2 1/2 zucchinis, julienned
Note: you only want to use the firmer, meatier part of the zucchini. 3 peels per side will get you right to the softer, mushier core, which is the part you don't want to use. I know, I know. It feels very wasteful. You can save the core for homemade veggie broth, or add it to a smoothie (it has no taste).
• 3 large carrots, julienned
• 1/3 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 1/2 tbsp green onion, thinly chopped
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 1/2 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
• 1/2 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp chili paste
• 1/2 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp rice vinegar
Optional toppings: black and white sesame seeds, chopped peanuts
• 6 oz extra firm tofu
• 1 tbsp honey
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp ginger (freshly ground or tubed.. both are fine)
• 1/2 tsp sriracha (or more, depending on desired level of spiciness)
• 1/4 tsp lime juice
• Pinch of salt
• Cutting across the shorter length of your block of tofu, cut 3/4" thick slices. Place slices on a napkin or paper towel, and pat dry.
• Add all tofu marinade ingredients to a bowl, and stir to combine. Add tofu, flipping to cover both sides, and let marinate for 15 minutes. Make sure to save the marinade for later.
• Add carrots, zucchini, and cabbage to a bowl. Mix your nut butter, honey, sesame oil, chili paste, soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a separate bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
• Heat grill pan over high heat and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Once hot, add tofu and let sear for 3-4 minutes per side. Shift the tofu after a couple of minutes on each side, to keep it from sticking to the pan
Note: if you don't have a grill pan, you can sear the tofu in a regular skillet
• Adjust your oven rack to 8 inches below your broiler. If your oven gives you the option of low or high (mine does not, so no worries), keep it on low. Mine's super hot but it worked out just fine.
• Place tofu on a greased baking rack and place the rack on a lined baking sheet to catch the drippings. Cook the tofu under the broiler for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the tofu is golden brown, and the edges are crispy. Assuming your uncooked tofu was a 10 on a scale of 1 to tender, the center of your tofu should now be at a 6. Be sure to rotate your baking rack every few minutes, to get an even cook.
• Remove the tofu from the oven and brush the top with the remaining marinade. Place back under the broiler and cook for another minute or 2, until the glaze has caramelized.
• Remove, let cool, and cut into bit sized pieces. Dress your salad, top with your tofu, and enjoy!
Hi! I'm Shantal.