Cold noodle salad might not be a staple in your household, but this recipe proves that it’s an easy and versatile weeknight dinner option. Crispy tofu is the perfect addition to savory sesame noodles.
- 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces uncooked buckwheat soba noodles
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Sheet pan
- Paper towels
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 1 small bowl
- Large pot
- Fork or whisk
1. Cook the tofu.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the tofu and cut it into rough ½-inch squares. Spread the cut tofu on a paper towel-lined sheet pan, then cover it with another layer of paper towels. Use your hands to press as much liquid as you can out of the tofu. Dry the sheet pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the tofu to the bowl and toss it to coat with oil. Add the allpurpose flour and season with salt. Toss to coat the tofu. Spread the tofu over the sheet pan, leaving any excess flour behind in the bowl. Bake until crispy and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Prepare the vegetable mixture and dressing.
Trim the woody stems from the asparagus. Thinly slice the stalks, leaving the textured tips whole. Put the cut asparagus in a small bowl and set it aside.
Trim the root of the scallions, then thinly slice the whites and greens.
Halve the cherry tomatoes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil, and remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add the scallions and tomatoes, and toss everything together.
3. Cook the noodles and finish the salad.
Rinse the large mixing bowl and fill it with a mixture of cold water and ice. Boil a large pot of lightly salted water. Add the soba noodles and cook for 8 minutes. In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the cut asparagus. Drain the noodles and asparagus in a colander, then let them sit in the ice water for a minute. Drain them again. Add the noodles to the large mixing bowl with the vegetables and sauce. Add the warm, cooked tofu. Toss everything together.
Divide the noodle salad into three bowls. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
- Press the tofu.
- Toss the tofu with flour and spread it on the sheet pan.
- Make the sesame-soy sauce.
- Toss the noodle salad together.
- Pick the cilantro leaves