Tofu + Rice Noodle Salad
Tofu and Rice Noodle Salad is the perfect Summer dish. It’s light and fresh and has all sorts of contrasting and complimentary colors, flavors and textures.
I was looking at the back of a package of rice noodles in the store and saw a really simple recipe for chicken and rice noodle salad and impulse purchased the noodles. (Very good sales tactic there, noodle company) And I went home and made the salad for lunch, and my kids and I devoured it. It was delicious.
But, as always, I pondered on it and wondered how I could improve on the dish, and tweaked this and that, and eventually ended up with a completely different salad. I used tofu, for one. There’s just something so comforting to me about that kinda creamy but kinda watery, kinda crumbly but kinda smooth, kinda firm but kinda soft yumminess of tofu. But sadly, tofu gets a pretty bad reputation these days. Here’s my opinion on the subject: quality and moderation. I always buy organic, non-GMO tofu, and made from sprouted soybeans when available. Soybeans are particularly high in phytic acid, so the sprouting process is just one extra step in reducing that anti-nutrient. Maximum nutrient absorption. And I use one 14 ounce container of firm tofu for the entire salad. And it’s a big salad.
The colors!!! I totally eat with my eyes first, and colorful salads just get me every time. Especially in the Summer. And like I mentioned above, the textures!!! You’ve got the slipperiness of the noodles, the crunch of the carrots, the softer crunch of the shaved red cabbage, the somehow juicy crunch of the lettuce, soft cilantro, above mentioned uniqueness of the tofu, and all together, it’s magical.
One note, I used a spiralizer for the carrots, but not the cabbage. For the carrots, I went with the thinnest blade on my Paderno 4-blade Spiralizer (affiliate link, not an ad-I just really love it), and it does a perfect job of getting that super thin noodle shape. Carrots can be so hard that their texture can be distracting, but with this blade, they’re perfection.
The cabbage, on the other hand, I prefer sliced paper thin on a mandolin slicer (affiliate link). How I almost always prefer raw cabbage.
Best part about this recipe? Including chopping and slicing, it takes about 20 minutes from start to eating. That’s my kind of Summer salad.
- 3 ounces very thin rice noodles*
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut with the thinnest blade of a spiralizer or julienned
- 1/2 small head of red cabbage, sliced very thin on a mandolin slicer
- 1 head romaine lettuce, sliced thinly.
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves left whole
- 1-14oz package of firm tofu, preferably organic and made with sprouted soybeans, diced into bite sized pieces
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey, preferably raw and local
- pinch of unrefined sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- In a medium bowl or glass loaf pan, place the rice noodles. Pour enough very hot (but not boiling) water to cover the noodles. Let sit for 10 minutes. Once hydrated and soft, drain and set aside.
- In small glass jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing, place an airtight lid on and shake until combined.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the softened noodles, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, tofu, and green onions. Pour over the prepared dressings and toss to combine. Serve.
- *these are often labeled "maifun" noodles