Chef Dayna’s Vegan Tofu Noddles

New to tofu or veggie-based meals? Fear not. Chef Dayna McLeod is sharing her fool-proof recipe for making mouth-watering crispy tofu (and yes, you read that right) with asian-style gluten-free noodles and veggies. Perfect for  a meatless Monday.

Pink Moon Daily: What are the top health benefits of tofu?
Chef Dayna: Health benefits to eating tofu may include lowering of LDL cholesterol, lowering Triglycerides, relieving symptoms of menopause and more. Tofu is a high-quality protein, containing all nine amino acids. It is also a good source of B-vitamins and iron. Tofu is made from soybeans which are considered a ‘complete’ protein, a rarity in the legume world. Tofu is lacking pronounced flavors of its own, making it easy for it to pick up the flavors around it. This makes tofu a powerhouse of nutrition.

Pink Moon Daily: How do you introduce tofu to your clients when they are skeptical?
Chef Dayna” More often than not, I’m cooking for non vegans. I love the challenge of cooking a meal, without anyone knowing it was vegan. A great meal for a first timer is a tofu crab cake. I pride myself on making “old school” meals, just the vegan version. I use the same spices in this recipe (like Old Bay) as the traditional recipe. Tofu is so versatile in recipes, it is a fantastic staple to always keep in your fridge.

Pink Moon Daily: What’s your favorite way to prepare tofu for kids?
Chef Dayna: I love to make crispy coconut tofu nuggets. Basically I dip the tofu in coconut milk and then I batter it in shredded coconut. Pan fry them, and every kid on the block will be asking to stay for dinner!

Asian Noodle Bowls with Crispy Tofu
Recipe by Dayna McLeod

Ingredients
16 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, sliced into small triangles
2 tbsp Mirin
2 tbsp cornstarch 
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 box rice noodles
1/2 yellow onion, 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup zucchini, 1/4 inch dice
1 cup of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
1 green pepper, 1/4 inch dice 
handful of roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
fresh mint, minced
fresh cilantro, minced
bean sprouts (about a handful per bowl)

for sauce—

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce (available at most Asian markets and on Amazon)
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp hot chili sauce (sriracha)
2 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

Whisk the cornstarch and Mirin into a shallow bowl. Add the tofu and let marinate for 20 minutes. 

Next, make the sauce by mixing all of the sauce ingredients together into a small bowl. Set aside. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in hot water for about five minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly with water. Squeeze excess water from the noodles and set aside until serving.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Place the tofu in the hot wok and sprinkle the tofu with salt and pepper. Sauté the tofu for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil, and drain on a paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of the tofu to keep warm and set aside. 

Now heat the remaining tbsp of oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and mushrooms for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add in the zucchini, broccoli and peppers to the walk. Sauté until vegetables are Al dente. Pour 1/4 of the sauce over the vegetables and stir for an additional minute. Add in noodles and tofu, and pour the remaining sauce over the mixture. Toss to combine. Heat for an additional two minutes or until everything is heated through. Be careful not to over cook, as the noodles will stick to the pan. 

To assemble the Asian noodle bowls, place a handful of bean sprouts in the bottom of each bowl. Top with noodles, veggies and tofu. Sprinkle mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts on top to garnish. 
Photo credit: Estelle Hayes

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