Last weekend I went to the mall in attempt to find some jeans that are not skinny jeans and I realized that OH MY GOSH it's pretty much summer. (Side note: can they please start making jeans that are not skinny jeans again? Because some of us have chunky calves. Thanks.) The air was thick and humid and it was hot out. Not hot hot, because it gets way hotter here, but hot enough that I knew that all the alternating warm-and-cold days of spring were over and now it's just going to get hotter and hotter until it finally starts to cool down again in the fall.
So now that it's feeling like summer, I think it's time to start putting some summer recipes on the blog. I decided last summer that cold noodle salads were my most favorite summertime food. Then I remembered: oh, corn. Corn is my favorite summertime food. Duh. But cold noodle salads are a close second! The veggies make them feel light, but the noodles make them more substantive than a regular salad. And they're cold, which is always welcome on a hot day.
This is one of those fun salads where you can put out all the ingredients and let everyone fill their bowls to their liking. You can either make the tofu right before serving, so it will be warm, or make it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and put it into the salad cold. With a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes, the dressing is spicy, making it the perfect pairing for cool cucumbers, noodles, and ribbons of carrot.
Spicy Asian Dressing
- 4 green onion whites thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup soy sauce or tamari
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for 30 minutes (you can use a tofu press) and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Spicy Asian Dressing
- 3 ½ oz vermicelli rice noodles cooked according to package directions
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 carrots sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler
- 1 medium English cucumber halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
- bean sprouts chopped peanuts, fresh mint leaves, and sliced green onions for garnish
Spicy Asian Dressing
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Place tofu and half of dressing in resealable bag or bowl. Toss to coat and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook about 4 minutes, or until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Divide noodles, tofu, carrots, and basil into four bowls. Top with remaining ingredients, as desired. Ladle dressing into bowls and serve.