This is my kind of meal. Fresh, quick (just 30 minutes required!), satisfying, lots of vegetables, and plenty of protein.
This noodle bowl is my dream lunch come true. Care to join?
The show stopper in this meal is the almond butter tofu.
Tofu is pressed dry, tossed in cornstarch, lightly browned, then sautéed in my almond butter stir-fry sauce until savory, sweet, and perfectly crisp.
Next up, vegetables.
The beauty of a meal like this is you can use practically whatever produce you have on hand. For a variety of textures and flavors, I went with cucumber, green onion, red pepper, and carrot noodles. I also think edamame, mango, and radish would work well, too.
The vegetables not only add vibrant color to the dish, but also lots of fiber and crunch!
The Vietnamese-inspired dressing is extremely flavorful and complements the noodles and veggies perfectly: A combination of garlic, chili, rice vinegar, tamari, lime juice, sesame oil, and maple syrup – ingredients you likely already have on hand!
Now you’re ready to dig in. I hope you love this noodle bowl! It’s quick, fresh, flavorful, incredibly satisfying, and perfect for lunch or dinner. Make this when you’re craving something satisfying but quick and loaded with vegetables.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!
*Note: Recipe updated on 10/8/18 to increase serving size to 4 (formerly 2).
Rice Noodle Bowls with Almond Butter Tofu
- 16 ounces extra-firm tofu*
- 5 Tbsp sesame oil (divided)
- 4 Tbsp salted creamy almond, cashew, or peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2-4 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 2 medium birds eye chili (crushed // or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
- 6 Tbsp cornstarch
- 10 ounces very thin rice noodles (I like this brand)
- 4 cups thinly sliced or ribboned* carrots (2 carrots yield ~2 cups)
- 2 cups cucumber (sliced on a bias, then halved // ~1 small cucumber)
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
- 1 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1 cup fresh cilantro or basil (torn/chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)
- 2 medium fresh or dried bird’s eye chili (crushed // more to taste // or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 4 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 4 Tbsp rice vinegar (or sub white or apple cider vinegar with varied results)
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- Start by wrapping tofu in a clean towel and setting something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) to press out excess moisture for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare the tofu sauce in a medium mixing bowl by whisking together 2 Tbsp sesame oil (amount as original recipe is written // if altering batch size, use 1/3 the amount in “tofu” section), almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and crushed chili. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, chili pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Next, prepare rice noodles according to package instructions. Then rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly, and set aside.
- Prep vegetables next. Set aside.
- Prepare salad dressing by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl (or jar) and whisking (or shaking vigorously) to combine.
- Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more chilies for heat, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat (if too small, cook the tofu in 2 batches as to not crowd the pan) and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in cornstarch and sauté in remaining sesame oil (3 Tbsp as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), flipping once browned on the underside to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes total.
- Add the almond butter sauce and stir gently to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring gently to ensure even cooking on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To assemble, divide noodles, vegetables and tofu among serving bowls. Serve with dressing. For more heat, serve with sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep well when stored separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
* To ribbon carrots, rinse, remove outer skin with a vegetable peeler, and then make “noodle ribbons” with the vegetable peeler by running along the edge of the carrot. Each carrot should make about 10 noodles!
* Salad dressing adapted from Thai Kitchen and my Vegan Papaya Salad.
* Tofu adapted from my Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*This bowl draws inspiration from many countries: Vietnam for the rice vinegar dipping sauce known as nuoc cham, China (where tofu originated), and Indonesia where peanut sauce originated.