Sesame Tofu with Yellow Beans + Ribbon Noodles

After baking Ginger Peach Muffins yesterday and these amazing Cinnamon Streusel Pancakes from Two Peas & Their Pod for breakfast this morning, I was in the mood for something savory for dinner tonight.

I was cooking for one tonight, so I threw together some simple Sesame Tofu with Yellow Beans + Ribbon Noodles. The concept is similar to the Red Curry Seitan with Yellow Beans + Ribbon Noodles Alex made last week, but the taste is totally different.

The tofu is deliciously salty without being over-the-top, but if you’re at all conscious or weary of your salt intake, I would recommend using low-sodium soy sauce or substituting some of the soy sauce with a low-sodium broth.

Sesame Tofu with Yellow Beans + Ribbon Noodles
Serves 3-4

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp liquid smoke
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp cornstarch, as needed
1 1/2 cups yellow string (French) beans, trimmed and snapped in half
4 round “nests” Asian ribbon noodles
a few handfuls arugula
toasted white sesame seeds, to garnish

Thinly slice tofu lengthwise, then cut each slice into four rectangles. In a medium bowl or Tupperware container, mix together the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, liquid smoke, and garlic. Gently toss in the tofu until coated. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour (or however long you can – the longer it marinates, the more flavor will infuse into the tofu), tossing at least once.

Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer the tofu from the marinade onto the sheet. Bake tofu 17-20 minutes, flipping once, until firm and browned. Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan along with the mirin and simmer until thickened, adding cornstarch as needed. This will become the sauce for the noodles.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add yellow beans and boil 2 minutes, then add ribbon noodles and boil another 2 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain and toss with sauce and arugula. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.


Moroccan Parsnips + Carrots with Chickpeas + Feta

Simple dinner tonight, and it was delicious.  It had the perfect balance of spice from the chili-garlic sauce, sweetness from the vegetables, and creaminess from the feta that I absolutely inhaled it.

I’ve had this recipe laying around for so long that I have no idea where it came from.  The original called solely for carrots, but I had a few of these lovely farmer’s market parsnips that I thought I would throw in, as well.  I made a few other substitutions, too, based on what I had in the kitchen.  As is, this is a good recipe if you’re looking for a quick and flavorful dinner for one, but would also be great over some herb quinoa or as a side dish to accompany some Moroccan-spiced tofu and greens.

Moroccan Parsnips + Carrots with Chickpeas + Feta

serves 1-2 as a main dish or 2-3 as a side dish


4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

4-5 parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 tbsp canola oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp chili-garlic sauce

salt, to taste

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Place the carrots in a small pot and cover by a couple inches with water.  Cover and boil 8-10 minutes until pierce-able with a fork, then drain.  Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute until sizzling.

Stir in chickpeas, cumin, coriander, paprika, parsley, and chili-garlic sauce and cook another 1 minute.  Add parsnips and carrots and toss well to coat with spices.  Add salt, to taste.  Top with crumbled feta and garnish with extra parsley.

Ethiopian Lentils + Split Peas with Green Peas + Potatoes

Wet plate!

I’ll be honest, today was kind of exhausting. There was a staff meeting this morning at our second shop, and I was chosen to miss out and run the other shop by myself for a few hours while it was taking place. Surprisingly, I didn’t set the place on fire, didn’t run out of anything and only broke two coffee mugs (oooops!). And I made bank in tips. All in all, it was great, but I will be happy not to have to do it again for quite some time. In other news, it’s been kind of a gloomy day. It’s comfortable enough that a light sweater is sufficient outdoor attire, but the sun has been hiding behind the clouds for most of the day. My boyfriend had been putting off making this recipe for a few days because it requires multiple steps and ingredients, but frankly, it was just the sort of comforting meal I was looking forward to having tonight. That meal was Ethiopian Lentils + Split Peas with Green Peas + Potatoes. You can find the recipe over at Vegan Dad, one of my favorite online blogs from my days as a vegan. The boyfriend wasn’t a fan, but I thought it was delicious. The only substitution made was a combination of green split peas and brown lentils in place of the yellow split peas. The berbere seasoning used was homemade previously from a different source, and all of the fresh vegetables used were from either the farmer’s market or local co-op. I would definitely recommend making this dish.

25 Years + Red Curry Seitan with Yellow Beans + Ribbon Noodles

Yesterday I turned 25 years old.  As I expected, it really wasn’t anything special, but I did manage to obtain a free birthday coffee from a new shop I hadn’t been to before and my boyfriend treated me to dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant and a pint of local ice cream for desert.

Tonight, my boyfriend made dinner for us.  He is a cook for a living, so I can generally expect good things to come out of the skillet on the nights he cooks.  At the beginning of each week, I like to put together recipes for the entire week, including small meals for myself on nights when he works late, breakfasts for the two of us on mornings I don’t have to work, and larger meals for him to cook on his nights off.  I love writing up recipes so much that he rarely ever has the chance to come up with his own.  But at least if whatever he ends up making doesn’t turn out, he can blame it on my recipe, and depending on how much of the recipe came from my own mind, I have the opportunity to blame it on someone else in the cookbook or internet-recipe-world.

On the menu tonight was Red Curry Peanut Butter Seitan with Yellow Beans and Ribbon Noodles, which I adapted from Fuss Free Cooking.  I changed the chicken to 1 pound of homemade “chicken” seitan, the bag of pre-cut Asian veggies to 2 cups of yellow beans from the local farmer’s market, and the Hokkein noodles to some dried ribbon noodles we bought from an Asian grocery in Milwaukee.  When it comes down to it, it’s kind of a different recipe, but the inspiration was definitely there.  I used black sesame seeds to garnish, but cilantro would have been good if I’d had any, and it probably would have been good with some chopped peanuts, too.

Overall, this recipe was a success.  I was a little worried about it, but now I realize how silly that was.  I mean, it combined two of my favorite things: red curry and peanut sauce.  How could it not be good?