Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crispy Tofu Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are Japanese noodles made with buckwheat flour. They look and taste similar to traditional spaghetti, but pack more fiber and protein per serving than wheat pasta. On their own, soba noodles lack the B-vitamins and iron typically found in wheat pasta, but by pairing them with the crispy tofu, your meal will be nutritionally complete. Despite the name, buckwheat flour is naturally gluten-free. You can find store-bought varieties made from 100% buckwheat flour, but be sure to read the label if you're looking for gluten-free, because many are made with a mix of buckwheat and wheat flours.

Speaking of tofu.... If you aren't a fan of tofu, this recipe may convert you. We pan fry it over pretty high heat to get a crispy exterior. The key is finishing it with soy sauce. Tofu is like a blank canvas - you just have to give it flavors to soak up!

This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Prepare the noodles in advance (up thru adding the carrots and scallions). You can even cut up the broccoli and tofu, and store them separately. Bring noodles to room temperature before serving, and pan fry broccoli and tofu. You’ll be eating in no time! Leftovers make a great lunch for work or school, so you may want to make extra.

Crispy Tofu Soba Noodles

1 T minced fresh ginger
2 T plus 2 tsp soy sauce, divided
2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 T plus 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
6 cups cooked soba noodles*
1 carrot, julienned
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small head broccoli
2 T canola or grapeseed oil, divided
8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

*Cook according to package directions. Rinse well under cool water after draining.

In a large bowl, combine minced ginger and 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Whisk well. Add cooked and rinsed soba noodles and toss to coat. Toss in julienned carrot and sliced scallions.

Cut broccoli head into florets. (You might need to cut florets into halves or quarters, depending on the size.) Heat 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan or wok over medium high heat. Add broccoli florets, along with a couple pinches of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are browned and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer broccoli to noodle bowl. Toss gently. Taste, and add a few sprinkles of salt if needed.

Remove any broccoli bits left in the pan with a spatula or by wiping the pan (carefully since it may still be hot!). Heat remaining 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil and 1 tsp sesame oil in the same pan. Add tofu and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tofu is browned on all sides, another 2-3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce to the pan. Stir tofu. As soon as soy sauce is absorbed, remove from heat. Serve soba noodles topped with crispy tofu.

Makes 4-6 servings

What Kids Can Do (with appropriate tools & adult supervision)
*Mince ginger
*Measure sauce ingredients
*Mix it up!
*Snip scallions
*Julienne carrots
*Break up & chop broccoli florets
*Cube tofu
*Taste for seasoning

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