Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Zucchini Noodles with Tofu and Tangy Peanut Sauce

I got this great recipe suggestion from my pal Christine.  It turned out really well!  We've been getting a ton of squash and zucchini from the CSA, so I'm always looking for creative ways to use it.  I used tofu instead of chicken, but if you eat meat, I'm sure this would be good with chicken too.

Recently, my friend Wendi reminded me that olive oil becomes toxic when you heat it.  It's really intended for dressings and things of that nature, so I  have made the switch to grape seed oil.  I actually like it a lot better and I like the idea of avoiding toxins whenever I can.  So feel free to use olive oil or another kind of oil in place of the grape seed oil if toxins don't bother you.

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • 4-6 medium-sized zucchini and summer squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
  • About 1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more)
  • 1/2-1 tsp granulated sugar (depending on taste) 
  • At least 1/4 cup water (add 1-2 more tablespoons depending on texture)

1.  Cut your tofu into small pieces and begin to cook (Note: I've always struggled with cooking tofu.  I added a small amount of grape seed oil to a pan over very low heat.  I kept the tofu cooking the entire time I was making the rest of the dish, flipping it every few minutes to prevent the tofu from sticking.  It turned out very crispy and good!)
2. Next, make the peanut sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Start by adding 1/4 cup water as the recipe suggests, and if the sauce is too thick for your taste, add additional tablespoons water to reach desired consistency.
3. Lastly, prepare the zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons by using a mandoline or by using a peeler designed to julienne vegetables. If using the peeler, hold the stem end of the squash in one hand and drag the peeler from the top to the bottom to create the ribbons. Julienne all the vegetables, keeping the carrots separate from the squash and zucchini. 
Carrots from the CSA
Squash and zucchini from the CSA too!
 4. Briefly blanch the vegetables in a pot of boiling water by adding the carrots first for about 2-3 minutes, and then adding the zucchini and squash for another 1-2 minutes (it gets tender very quickly). Drain the hot water, immediately add cold water to stop the cooking, and once the vegetables have cooled, drain the water again.  (It is really important to make sure all the water is drained out or your dish will be a soggy mess)
5. Assemble the dish by putting some of the vegetable ribbons on a plate and topping them with the tofu, then the peanut sauce, and chopped cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature, but can also be served cool (if you would like to refrigerate ingredients before serving).
Topped with cilantro from the CSA as well

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