Greetings from Ohio! Yep, I'm a stateside little elf during this holiday season and having such a blast. Due to said fun, I'm pretty busy and I thought I'd invite over a dear friend of mine to keep you little snowflakes entertained.
Lisa, from the Viet Vegan is such a treat. She's incredibly talented, with stunning photos and deliciously Asian-inspired vegan recipes. Her writing will keep you giggling all day until your co-workers give you the dreaded stink eye. So, I'll quit hogging my bloggin' BFF. Everyone, meet Lisa!
Hello Produce on Paraders! Paraders? Readers. Let’s go with readers.
Hello Katie’s lovely readers! My name is Lisa and I’m the over-sharing, feminist nerd behind The Viet Vegan (formerly known as Je suis alimentageuse). I’ve been an admirer of Katie’s food blog for a while now, her photography is awesome, her recipes look absolutely delicious, and she makes living vegan look so easy. I even bought Bogs ever since she did her winter gear post because they’re warm, not too shabby-looking, and vegan-friendly. Oh and since they’re made with stretchy material, they fit my calves! (which is a rare and momentous occasion).
I’ve got a soba noodle bowl for you today. It’s quick and easy, and only needs a minimal amount of prep the night before. I find noodle bowls so easy and comforting. They remind me of my childhood bi-monthly trips to Toronto’s Chinatown with my parents since we lived in a small town that mainly was all about meat and potatoes. After two hours of driving through sleet and snow (because Canada) and before we’d do groceries, we’d go for a big bowl of phỏ.
It was oddly comforting to be around the hustle and bustle of people who looked like me, slurping soup with chopsticks and Asian soup spoons. My hometown was super WASP-y and there were only two other Vietnamese families, and we all went to different schools. We all knew what hoisin sauce was, sriracha, and rice noodles and those fresh spring roll wraps that nobody had ever seen before. We’d come home with a big haul of things we couldn’t buy at home: banh mi sandwiches, bean sprouts, tamarind paste, and tofu.
Glorious, glorious tofu.
Tofu has a bad reputation. People think it’s a tasteless block of whiteness. But only if you let it be that way! Tofu is like a big sponge, so in order for it to be able to soak up all the delicious marinade, it needs to be squeezed as dry as possible so that there’s room for marinade. If I knew more about physics, I’d say it has something to do with a saturation point. But I don’t know much about physics. So press your tofu so it can soak up as much flavour as possible.
Then you can eat it as it is, pan-fry, stir-fry, add to soup, sandwiches, but I love to grill it.
With a little sugar in the marinade, tofu gets a caramelized coating with beautiful charred marks that remind my taste buds that summer is coming closer day by day, even if dreary winter season is here. Adding frozen peas and fresh spinach adds a pop of colour to the soba noodle bowl, but you can always add in your favourite veggies. Red cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber… Add whatever you want.
Just don’t forget the tofu.
Grilled Tofu Soba Noodle Bowl with Greens
For the Marinated Tofu
- 1 block extra firm tofu (I used Organic Soyarie 350 g)
- ½ cup tamari
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ·1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
For the Dressing:
- 1 ½ tsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- 1 tbsp tamari
For the Bowl:
- 4 servings of buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 cup frozen peas or edamame
- 3 cups fresh spinach, packed
- sesame seeds to garnish
To prepare the tofu the day before:
1. Wrap the tofu in a clean and dry tea towel, paper towel, or dishcloth. Press between two flat surfaces (say two cutting boards) and place a heavy object on top, such as a couple cans of beans. Allow the tofu to be pressed for at least half an hour to get as much liquid out as possible.
2. Prepare the marinade in a container that’s at least 2 inches deep.
3. Cut the tofu into triangles (first in half, then cut those two halves diagonally to get the triangle shape. Slice each triangle until about 1/3 inch thick. Layer the tofu into the marinade and chill overnight for at least 8 hours.
To prepare the bowl:
4. Combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk well. Set aside.
5. Preheat a grill pan (or BBQ). Add adequate oil to the grill. Place marinated tofu on the grill. Flip once char marks appear. Continue cooking until both sides are well done. Remove from grill.
6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, until almost cooked.
7. Add frozen peas and cook until bright green. Quickly add the spinach, stir, and turn off the heat. Wait about 30 seconds until the spinach turns bright green and drain. Run cold water to shock and halt the cooking process so the greens stay bright.
8. Divide soba and greens between four bowls and add the dressing on top.
9. Sprinkle sesame seeds to garnish.
Lisa Le is the blogger behind The Viet Vegan. She’s a self-proclaimed feminist, vegan, and nerd who loves Star Trek and food in bowls. To see more of her recipes and reading about her life, visit her at The Viet Vegan.
Thank you, Lisa, for visiting and for such a fantastic recipe. Long live the tofu soba noodle bowl!