Crispy Tofu & Zoodle Salad with a Bomb Peanut Sauce (V)

 

I’ve been meaning to whip out the spiralizer all summer, particularly when I see pre-packaged zoodles in grocery stores. It hits me,“Oh yeah, zoodles! Those need to go in meal prep rotation soon.” Alas, I was pushed over the edge to make a zoodle salad when we went to the farmers market over the weekend.

Zucchini. Everywhere.

At the peak of flavor and homegrown with love, zucchini! Whether you like zucchini or hate it, there’s no question about how versatile this veggie is. You can turn it into noodles for heaven’s sake. You can grate zucchini and add it to meatballs, bread, or even cake.

Onto this week’s plant-based meal prep recipe...

Yes, zucchini is a solid choice for zoodles, but I wanted a little more texture. In comes crunchy carrot strands and soaked rice noodles to round out those textures.

Vegan Meal Prep Recipe, Zoodles 1
Vegan Meal Prep Recipe, Zoodles 2

Here's how to keep zucchini from turning into a watery mess:

While zucchini is great for meal prep, that extra water can turn your meal to mush. I have a solution for this problem:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Add a healthy pinch of salt to raw zucchini strands (or pieces), stir, and let it sweat for 5-10 minutes. You’ll start seeing water release from the zucchini.

  3. After the zucchini’s done “sweating”, transfer it to a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven for 4 minutes at 375 degrees. This will dry zucchini slightly without baking it.

The Protein: I’m getting a little tired of meat, to be honest. In the summer, it feels like my plant consumption naturally goes up and my appetite for meat drops a bit. So instead of chicken cubes or shrimp, I went with crispy tofu!

Vegan Meal Prep Recipe, Zoodles 3

If you’re intimidated by tofu, you shouldn’t be. It’s not difficult—particularly because Minimalist Baker shares the best method for quick and crispy tofu (and endless ways to use it). I follow her quick and crispy tofu recipe every time and it always comes out perfect.

The Peanut Sauce



Would drink. Seriously, pour this sauce in my mouth. It’s savory but zippy with some added lime juice, ginger, and rice wine vinegar. I lick the blender lid every time I make it.

***

Eat this salad cold or pop your tofu in the microwave for a few seconds—either way you’re going to love this healthy summer lunch.

 

Crispy Tofu & Zoodle Salad

+ bomb peanut sauce

Enjoy this vegan meal prep option cold or hot! Crispy tofu meets three different kinds of noodles, all smothered in a zippy peanut sauce.

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American, Japanese

Servings: 4 meals

Ingredients

Zoodles

  • 3 zucchini

  • 3 carrots

  • 4 oz brown rice or soba noodles (soaked or prepared)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce or Tamari

  • 2 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts or almonds

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 2-3 tbsp water (to thin)

Tofu

  • 1 block EXTRA FIRM tofu

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp preferred frying oil

  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (we're only using the oven for a minute!)

  2. Spiralize zucchini and carrots into noodles. In a large bowl, add zucchini and a healthy pinch of salt. Mix together and let noodles sit for 5 minutes. The zucchini will start "sweating" and remove excess moisture.

  3. Once the zucchini's done, transfer zoodles to a cookie sheet and bake them for 4 minutes. This will evaporate the moisture without drying out your zoodles.

  4. Combine zucchini noodles, carrot noodles, and soft brown rice or soba noodles, then transfer to meal prep containers.

To make the peanut sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients except water in a high power blender and blend until smooth. If it's too thick, gradually add in a bit of water to thin the sauce.

To prepare the tofu:

  1. I follow Minimalist Baker's Easy Crispy Tofu recipe which I'll link in the notes. Here's the process.

  2. Use a cast iron skillet or something very heavy to press the tofu block for about 10 minutes and remove excess moisture.

  3. Cut tofu into cubes and season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and other preferred seasonings.

  4. Melt oil onto a non-stick or cast iron pan and saute tofu cubes for 15 minutes or until all sides are browning.

  5. Transfer cubes to the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Assembling Lunch

  1. If you're meal prepping, everything can be stored together except the dressing. Use small containers to portion out your peanut sauce OR take the whole batch with you to work and add it when you're ready to eat!

    Tofu can be scooped out and microwaved for a few seconds if you prefer it warm (this is what I do).

Recipe Notes

Minimalist Baker's EASY CRISPY TOFU: Click here for details