“We are all in love with this quick and easy vegan salad. The dressing is extremely versatile, and you can use it on pretty much any combination of vegetables and noodles and rice to pull together an impromptu side. The nori is key. Sheets of dried seaweed that are roasted and seasoned for cooking and snacking, nori tastes like the sea. I love crumbling it on pretty much any salad to add a briny, salty kick. Tofu can be a tough sell, so when we asked our trusty recipe testers to give this one a go, we held our breath waiting for the feedback. We had nothing to be worried about. The combination of earthy noodles, crunchy cucumber, sweet-and-spicy dressing, and creamy tofu won everyone over, even the non-tofu lovers. Try tossing the tofu cubes in a little flour and frying them in a skillet with some vegetable oil for a crispy variation.” —Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz
4 to 6 servings
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 or 3 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped ginger (about 1-inch knob)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 to 10 ounces dried buckwheat soba noodles (about 3 bundles)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola
- 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
- 14 to 16 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
- 1 bunch scallions (8 or 9), white and green parts thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Four 8-inch-square sheets unseasoned toasted nori (dried seaweed)
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
Make the lemon–ginger dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined. Another nice way to make it is to combine all the ingredients in a ball jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake, shake, shake! The lemon-ginger dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
In a large pot, bring about a gallon of water up to a rolling boil and add the soba noodles, making sure to stir, stir, stir and keep that water boiling. Cook the noodles until they are soft, 3 to 4 minutes, and drain in a colander. Pour ice water over the noodles to stop them from cooking and then toss them in a large bowl with the vegetable oil. This will keep the noodles from sticking together, which would make you (and us) sad.
Add the cucumbers to the noodles and toss with the lemon-ginger dressing. Add the tofu, cilantro, and scallions and season with the salt and pepper. Gently toss again to combine. Distribute evenly among four to six bowls. Crumble the nori into small pieces and top each bowl evenly with nori and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
From MYERS + CHANG AT HOME © 2017 by Joanne Chang with Karen Akunowicz. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.