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Peanut Tofu Vermicelli Rice Noodle Bowls with Quick Pickled Vegetables (Vegan, Gluten Free)

 

What do you prefer, noodle bowls or rice bowls? I usually go for rice bowls (I love how rice soaks up sauces), but there’s one noodle bowl I absolutely love! I first had a Vietnamese Bun noodle bowl years ago, and instantly loved the fresh flavors and thin rice noodles. It’s a light meal, but still very filling. It doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a nap like some other noodle dishes.

The Vietnamese Bun noodle bowls I’ve had are served with nuoc cham, a sweet/salty/acidic sauce that really adds a delicious flavor. They are also served with fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumbers. I wanted to combine both of these elements by pickling my vegetables! The acidity plus a little sweetness of the apple cider vinegar shines though. I encourage you to prepare the pickled vegetables at least a day in advance to allow them to really pick up flavor. If you are unable to make the pickled vegetables, this meal would also be delicious with crunchy raw chopped vegetables!

You guys know I love peanut sauce, so peanut tofu was a natural choice for me to add to this bowl. With all these amazing flavors working together, I could eat this bowl every day! This meal was also boyfriend approved, so we’ll definitely keep this in our regular meal rotation. This meal serves 4-5.

 Ingredients

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced I used a julienne peeler)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Bowls

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • Avocado oil spray
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
  • 1 package vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1-2 Fresno chilis, sliced
  • ½ cup crushed peanuts
  • Fresh mint and/or cilantro

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp mauka honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Pack sliced cucumbers and carrots into two jars. Heat the apple cider vinegar, water and maple syrup in a saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid into vegetable jars so that vegetables are fully covered. Cover and place in refrigerator. Prepare the pickled vegetables one day in advance if possible, or at least 30 minutes before eating.
  2. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Drain and press tofu to remove excess water.
  4. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes, spray with avocado oil spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Prepare peanut sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Toss tofu in peanut sauce to coat.
  6. Prepare vermicelli noodles according to package instructions.
  7. Arrange portions of lettuce, noodles and tofu in bowls. Top with mung bean sprouts, chilis, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs and pickled vegetables.

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

 

Featured

Crispy Baked Tofu

How do you guys feel about tofu? It seems to be one of those foods that people either love or hate. Growing up, the only exposure I had to tofu was the little cubes floating in miso soup. Once I got to college, where my interest in health and nutrition blossomed, I began eating and cooking tofu. I’ve never disliked it, but I understand why somebody may have a bad experience with it. The texture is unique, and when eaten on its own is very bland. One thing I’m quite proud of is getting Ben to willingly eat tofu, and enjoy it! I always make a flavorful sauce, so it really just becomes a vehicle for that.

Soy based foods are some of the most controversial in the food and nutrition world. Why? Soy contains high concentrations of isoflavones, which are a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogens). Phytoestrogens can have similar effects as human estrogen on the human body, but much weaker. The isoflavones in soy can bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies, causing very weak estrogenic effects OR anti-estrogenic effects. Because of this, there has been concern that soy foods may increase the risk of certain hormonal cancers. However, several studies have shown that soy consumption is associated with lower risk of breast cancer, both hormone positive and hormone negative. Studies also show that soy intake is significantly associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer in men.

I enjoy soy based foods such as edamame, tofu and tempeh, and based on the research, they are safe to consume! Soy has many health benefits, being a high quality source of plant-based protein. Unlike many other plant-based proteins like beans and legumes, soy is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in saturated fat, so it is an excellent replacement for red and processed meat in the diet. It also contains valuable vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron. Also, I think it is notable to mention that the people of Okinawa, Japan regularly consume tofu – about 8 times more than we do in the US. This population is one of the worlds five “Blue Zones”, regions of the world where people live much longer than average. Following suit and including tofu, amongst other nutritious foods in our diets, like sweet potatoes and turmeric, may help us live longer!

This super simple tofu recipe has become my go-to. I used to pan-fry my tofu, but I found it would brown unevenly, and I would need to use significantly more oil to prevent it from sticking. By baking, I can just use spray oil! It gives the tofu that golden crispy exterior while still being soft on the inside. I usually make this recipe once a week to enjoy in a grain bowl or salad. I kept the seasonings minimal because I always add a flavorful sauce or dressing that the tofu picks up.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Drain the tofu and press between two plates lined with paper towels for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Spray the parchment paper lined baking sheet with avocado oil, then place the tofu cubes on the sheet.
  5. Add salt, pepper and adobo seasoning and another spray of avocado oil to coat. Toss with hands to evenly coat tofu cubes with seasoning.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Tofu should be golden brown and beginning to crisp on the edges.

If you guys try this tofu, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! 🙂

Tofu Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

What’s your favorite take-out cuisine? For me, I’ll always choose any restaurant that offers fresh summer rolls. When I lived in Providence, there was a great Thai and sushi restaurant down the street. They had the most delicious summer rolls with the best peanut dipping sauce. Honestly, give me anything drizzled with peanut sauce and I’ll be happy!

I love to experiment with healthier alternatives to my favorite restaurant and take-out meals in my cooking. By preparing food for yourself, you have total control over all the ingredients you add. Restaurants liberally add salt, oils and other fats to their cooking because, well, it makes their food taste delicious! But, you can still enjoy the vibrant flavors without taking in a day’s worth of sodium or saturated fat. I really love Asian cuisine, so I’ve developed some delicious sauces, like a stir fry and sesame ginger sauce.

I think I’ve finally perfected a peanut sauce I’ve been working on for a while, so I had to share it with you guys! I was also craving summer rolls and decided to just make a meal out of it! Why must we limit them to appetizer course? I paired these vegan rolls with some steamed + lightly salted edamame for a better-than-take-out meal. This sauce is not just for dipping; you can use it as a salad dressing, drizzled over avocado toast or tossed in a stir fry.

Ingredients:

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp mauka honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter

Summer Rolls

  • 1 block firm tofu, water pressed out for 10 minutes
  • 2 tsp Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company seasoning (or just salt and pepper)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach, stems removed
  • Large handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 7 spring roll brown rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise, or peeled with julienne peeler
  • Half an avocado, thinly sliced
  • Half a small cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice tofu into thin steaks, season with TJ’s Mushroom & Company, toss in avocado oil and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and crispy.
  2. While tofu is cooking, prepare peanut sauce. Whisk together avocado oil, sesame oil, tamari, lime juice, vinegar, chili paste, honey, garlic and ginger. Then whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Add more chili paste if you like heat!
  3. Prepare veggies and avocado as outlined.
  4. When tofu is done cooking, slice each piece in half lengthwise.
  5. Set up a little assembly line on your countertop: start with rice paper wrappers, then spinach and mint, veggies, avocado and tofu.
  6. Fully submerge 1 rice paper wrapper in water, then place on a clean plate.
  7. Arrange about 5-7 spinach leaves and 2 mint leaves in the center of the wrapper, and then top with the remaining ingredients.
  8. I found it easiest to fold in the sides of the wrapper first, then roll the front edge away from you to form the wrap.
  9. Place finished rolls on another clean plate. You can leave them whole or slice in half with a sharp knife.
  10. Serve with peanut dipping sauce!

These will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days, just bring them to room temperature before eating so the wrappers soften.

If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! 🙂