I’m super excited to bring to you this zucchini noodle bowl. I wanted to do something along the lines of pad Thai, which I love so much, and using zucchini noodles seemed right for this time of year. They are light, refreshing and perfect for summer dining.
After looking for inspiration I ran across this recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats. I was inspired by both the recipe and photography. You’ll see a bit of both here. I especially loved the idea of using that round piece of lime. :)
In this recipe the vegetables will be cooked quickly over high heat. The result will be brightly colored, al dente vegetables. My favorite kind! The tofu will be cooked separately and added at the end with the dressing. It comes together fairly quickly once the tofu is pressed and vegetables are prepped. The end result is an abundance of vibrant vegetables to keep you fueled and feeling at your best. I know you’re going to love this one!
First, cook the tofu and mix the peanut dressing. I only used 1/2 of a 14 oz. block. It wouldn’t hurt to cook up the whole block and save the other half for later. You can always add the remainder to a salad or stir fry within the next couple days. If using firm or extra-firm tofu, you may need to cook it slightly longer to remove excess water and get the golden color, about 8 minutes each side. If using super-firm tofu, you can get away with 4 – 5 minutes on each side. If adding oil to the pan before cooking , go light on it if you can…nothing worse than oil soaked tofu! :/
Next, prepare the zucchini using a spiralizer or julienne tool. The zucchini on the left has been spiralized and the zucchini on the right has been julienned. Either way will work great here! You can also spiralize or julienne your carrots if you like.
Prep the other veggies and heat up your wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add a tad bit of oil if not using a coated pan. Toss in the bell peppers, green onions, carrots, red cabbage and snow peas. Cook for 2 minutes. We just want them to soften ever so slightly over the high heat.
Add in the zucchini noodles and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the tofu and chopped cilantro (I forgot the cilantro here and added it after these photos), give a good toss. Add the dressing and toss well to coat.
Say hello to deliciousness!
It’s a bright, colorful meal that’s full of wholesome goodness and lots of love. Enjoy!Print
THAI RAINBOW ZUCCHINI NOODLE BOWL + CRISPY TOFU
Abundant with colorful vegetables, crisp tofu and dressed with a spicy peanut dressing. It’s light, healthy and perfect for summer dining!
- 7 oz. organic tofu, use firm, extra-firm or super-firm
- 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons sesame oil (or other neutral oil)
- dash of garlic powder
- 2 large zucchini, spiralized or julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 – 3 green onions, sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup shredded carrots or 2 carrots julienned
- large handful snow peas
- 1/8 red cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- handful bean sprouts, optional
- chopped peanuts, to serve
- lime wedges, to serve
Spicy Peanut Dressing
- 3 rounded tablespoons almond butter or natural peanut butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced or good pinch of garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons tamari, coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon freshly grated
- 2 limes, juice of
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
- water as needed to thin, about 2 – 3 tablespoons
Press & cook tofu: If using firm or extra-firm tofu, you’ll most likely want to press it a bit to remove excess water (if using super-firm tofu you can skip this step). Place tofu between a clean, double folded kitchen towel. Place a heavy book or pot over top to use as a press. Let set for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Once done, slice tofu into 1 inch pieces, about 1/4 inch thick. Heat a pan over medium heat, with 2 teaspoons of oil, twirl the pan to coat with oil. Place tofu in pan and cook about 4 – 5 minutes, flip, sprinkle with a little garlic powder and cook another 4 – 5 minutes. The time given here is for super-firm tofu. If using firm or extra-firm, you’ll most likely need to cook about 4 minutes longer on each side. Tofu will be ready when golden on both sides. Set aside.
Mix dressing: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix well. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin as needed. If dressing becomes to thin, add a little nut butter. Taste for flavor and set aside. Keep in mind that the flavors will mellow into each other as it sits. If using coconut amino’s, you may want to add a pinch of mineral salt. Taste again for flavor before mixing with vegetables.
Prep and cook vegetables: Once vegetables are prepped, heat wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, carrots, green onions, cabbage and snow peas, cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. We just want them to become ever so slightly softened (not too much). Add zucchini noodles and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly to ensure everything cooks evenly. Remove from heat. Toss in tofu and cilantro, give a good stir. Add peanut dressing over top and mix well to coat.
Serve: Place portions in bowl and serve with lime wedges, chopped peanuts and optional bean sprouts. Easy, peasy – delicious!
Serves 2 generously or 3 smaller portions
If you’re a vinegar lover, feel free to add 1 tablespoon apple cider or rice wine vinegar to the dressing ingredients.
If allergic to peanuts, use sesame seeds instead (or cashews).