You probably wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me eating at home. While I desire a bounteous and decadent spread when dining in restaurants, I want nothing more than straightforward and nutritious fare when I’m not. The internet and my bookshelves are crammed with virtuous recipes and health-conscious eating guides, but not just any fibrous or low-fat dish will do. I demand that it be delicious, too!
My current favorite good-for-me and good-for-my-taste-buds dish is these Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake from Diane of Appetite for China. What I really like about this recipe is that even though the ratio of vegetables to noodles is skewed towards the former, it doesn’t taste like bowl of rabbit food. I’ve never been much of a salad-eating gal.
The key is the well-balanced dressing made of soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, rice vinegar, and honey that paints every surface and ties all the elements together. And then there’s the furikake, a delightful Japanese condiment made of seaweed, sesame seeds, salt, and sugar that excites the tongue with a dose of umami.
This dish tastes great, is easy to make, and satisfies in every way. I want nothing more when I’m eating at home.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 scallion stalks, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces kale, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 3-4 medium carrots, grated
- 1 package extra firm tofu (approximately 19 ounces)
- 12 ounces dried soba noodles, prepared according to instructions on package
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, vinegar, honey, and scallions. Let the sauce marry while you prepare the other ingredients.
For the kale, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the kale leaves and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then squeeze out the excess water. Set aside.
Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and lay on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. On medium-high heat, saute the tofu in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil for 2-3 minutes on each side to lightly sear the outside and heat the inside. Set aside.
TIP: For an exceptional sear on the tofu, make sure to squeeze out as much of the water as possible 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. I like to slice the tofu, wrap it in a clean dish towel, set a flat surface on top, and weigh the surface down with heavy objects. It really gets the job done.
Combine the carrots, kale, seared tofu, and soba in a large bowl and toss with the soy-sesame mixture.
To serve, transfer to bowls or plates and sprinkle with furikake.
Serves 4 to 6.
More vegetarian recipes on Gastronomy:
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- Black Bean Burgers
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- Đậu Hũ Kho – Braised Tofu with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
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