It’s one of those foods with a bad reputation. Boring, bland, jiggly, weird, mushy, uninspiring and tasteless. It’s been associated with hippies, tree huggers, and sock-and-sandal wearers. Likened to eating a sponge. I can’t say I know anyone who would wax poetic about how tofu is their favourite.
Yet at the same time, it has a sort of magical quality to it. It’s the blank slate-ness of tofu that makes it the perfect vehicles for other flavours that are utterly perfect and divine. Flavours like almond butter.
As much as it sounds like a dream, eating blobs of gorgeous, silky almond butter for dinner probably isn’t the most balanced meal. But tofu bathed in a nut buttery, sweet-n-spicy marinade, stir fried until crispy and served with whole grain ramen noodles and a bunch of veggies? THAT is the business!
In case you’ve never made tofu before, or tried and were totally underwhelmed, the secret is in the pressing. Tofu is porous like a sponge (hence the stereotype), and if you skip the pressing step, it will taste like one too. Usually when you buy a block of tofu, it comes soaking in liquid to help it stay fresh. By pressing the liquid out, those little tofu pores have more room to soak in a delicious marinade. That means a better vehicle to get the almond butter to your mouth. Yes, puh-lease!
To press my tofu, I usually wrap it in a dishtowel, put it on a plate, put another stack of plates on top and set it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have time for that, simply wrapping it in the towel and letting it dry for an hour or so should still make a big difference. Firm or extra firm tofu will be your best bet for stir frying, and it’s also what I use for making crispy baked tofu.
One quick note: It you don’t want to make the full bowl of ramen and veggies, you can totally just prep the tofu with the almond butter marinade. Whether you stir fry or bake it in the oven, it’s perfect as a protein-rich topping for salads and other veggie-based meals later during your week.
This Almond Butter Tofu Ramen will change the way you think about tofu. No more boring, bland, weird textures. These bowls will light up your tastebuds with sweet-n-spicy, deliciously nutty flavour.
For the tofu:
- 1/4 cup low sodium tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp smooth almond butter
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 package extra firm tofu (about 14oz), very well drained and patted dry.
For the rest:
- ~225g uncooked ramen noodles (I like Lotus Foods ramen, which are whole grain, gluten free noodles)
- 4 cups water + 1 tbsp low sodium tamari/coconut aminos + juice of 1 lime
- 4 baby boy choy, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups snap peas, sliced in half
- 2 cups cremini or shiitake mushrooms
- 1 /12 cups shredded or julienne cut carrot
- 1 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- sesame seeds, cilantro, basil, limes and green onion, to garnish
- Mix together all ingredients for the tofu marinade in a resealable container. Slice the tofu into bite-size cubes or rectangles and toss them around in the bag to coat. Refrigerate between 2-8 hours.
- When ready to cook, bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove. Add the ramen and boil for about 4 minutes, separating the noodles out as you stir with a fork. Once noodles have separated and softened, whisk juice of 1 lime and 2 tsp miso paste in until dissolved to create a broth. Divide the noodles between 4 serving bowls, reserving the broth and keeping it warm.
- Remove the tofu from the marinade and reserve the excess sauce. Stir fry the tofu in a hot frying pan for about 2-3 mins per side, or until crispy. Transfer to a plate to keep warm but don’t wipe the frying pan yet.
- Stir fry the bok choy and snap peas in 2 tbsp reserved tofu marinade until tender crisp, then the mushrooms in another 2 tbsp marinade. Arrange these, along with all remaining ingredients between the bowls on top of the noodles. Finish with the tofu, then pour the miso broth over all 4 servings. Serve hot.
Psst! If you think this sounds delicious, you might also like this Thai Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl. It’s been on the blog for 2 years now but is one of the most popular to date!