Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu

Serves 6

(recipe slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons honey (or agave syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (3 is quite spicy! Do 2 if you’re sensitive)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Salad:
  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of thin rice noodles (I used bean thread vermicelli)
  • 1 medium-size cucumber thinly-sliced half-moons
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
Peanut-Mint Gremolata:
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint

To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together and stir vigorously.  Set aside.

Slice the tofu into eight equal pieces width wise, then slice those rectangles corner to corner to form long triangles.

Place in a single layer on a large plate and pour 6 tablespoons of the dressing over the slices. Also drizzle the tofu with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Let marinate, flipping occasionally, while you prepare everything else.

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Usually they say to boil water, turn off the heat, and soak the noodles for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain in a colander and run the noodles under cold water for about a minute until they are fully cooled. Set aside to drain while you finish prepping everything.

Mix all of the vegetables and the mint leaves into the noodles. Just use your hands–it’s messy, but the best way I found to incorporate everything. Mix the dressing into the noodles and toss to coat. Refrigerate while you prepare everything else.

Combine the gremolata ingredients in a small bowl.

To grill the tofu, heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Spray pan/skillet with cooking spray or else the tofu will stick. Grill the tofu on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the excess marinade to the noodles.

To serve, plate the noodles, add a few grilled tofu pieces to the side and sprinkle with the gremolata. Serve with lime wedges and extra chili garlic sauce on the side.