This is another favorite of mine adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance. Since it's comprised of a lot of things that I typically have in my kitchen (and maybe you have in your kitchen) and can be easily modified to include whatever random vegetables you have in your refrigerator, it ends up being a fairly inexpensive weeknight dinner. And it's delicious. Likely because the main ingredient is peanut butter, God's greatest gift other than family and 30 Rock and shoes. And then as if peanut butter weren't enough, it's blended with a whole host of other delicious things, including fresh (i.e. jarred) ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup, and toasted sesame oil (if you have it).
As stated in the recipe, the veggies I included are pretty unimaginative: celery, carrots and green onions. That's what I had on hand, however, and the whole point of this meal was to work through our perishables before, well, you know. I think it would be great with cucumber and bell peppers and mung bean sprouts (or any bean sprouts), as the original recipe suggests, or with edamame, baby spinach, and something crunchy - sugar snap peas or broccoli or cabbage, maybe. The sauce is so freaking good in and of itself, you could really try anything and it'd be hard to ruin.
Finally, I used the tofu that you buy already baked. Mine was sesame-flavored and it was great, and the Trader Joe's teriyaki- or thai-flavored baked tofu would be great too. But regular firm tofu or shrimp or chicken or seitan (which the original recipe calls for) would work, and, come to think of it, the peanut sauce would be a great dipping sauce with any of those items as well as with veggies.
Udon and Tofu with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance
Yield: 6 servings
2 teaspoons oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh (jarred) minced ginger
1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder or lime zest (optional)
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Sriracha (or less if you are a spice lightweight)
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
10 ounces udon noodles
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, sliced
6 ounces baked tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
Optional garnishes: sesame seeds, coarsely chopped peanuts, fresh chopped mint, parsley, thai basil, cilantro, lime wedges
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. (Actually, check them after about half the time has gone by that the package instructions specify. Mine were done after about 7 minutes, and the package said 13. This has happened before too.) Once done, pour the udon into a strainer and run cold water over the noodles. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, in a small or medium saucepan, saute the garlic and ginger in the oil over low-medium heat. Once the garlic is soft, fragrant and starting to toast a bit, add the water, soy sauce, curry powder, amchur powder or lime zest (if using), and bring to a boil. Add the peanut butter and turn the heat to low. Whisk or stir until well-combined. Mix in the maple syrup, vinegar and Sriracha. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil, if using. Set aside.
In a skillet or the pan you used to cook your noodles, saute the tofu until warmed through and browning a bit.
In a large bowl, combine the noodles, chopped vegetables, and tofu. Dress with the peanut sauce and toss until everything is well coated. This is good at room temperature, but the cold leftovers were great too. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to four days.