Soba noodles, what are those? They’re affordable Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour. They differ in flavor than the typical noodles you may have grown up eating, and while they taste good, you’ll find the difference in flavor comfortably subtle. When I saw soba noodles tossed with an almond butter/sesame oil sauce I just had to try it! Originally I had thought I could make this dish for a work day lunch, but it was SO delicious we just couldn’t resist eating the whole dish immediately!
I prefer a lot of sauce in my dishes, so I recommend doubling the sauce recipe. It’s truly the sauce that makes this dish sing; a delightful combination of almond butter, maple syrup, sesame oil, and soy sauce. The recipe below lists the original ingredient measurements as recommended by Louisa Shafia, so if you want more sauce just double every ingredient in the sauce.
Do yourself a flavor and buy farmer’s market sugar snap peas. They’re hitting the stands right now. They’re crisp, delightfully sweet, and oh-so-snappy! There’s just one other splurge you’ll have to make for this dish: buy some chili oil (not all garnishes are aesthetic – this is a flavor compliment). Chili oil is only $2.00 for a small bottle; $2.00 - you can spare it!
Here’s what I love about this dish – it has so many varying flavors. It’s nutty, buttery, salty, and spicy; there’s even some added zing thanks to the fresh ginger, and the chopped cilantro adds the final ta-da!
Almond Tofu with Snap Peas and Soba Noodles
14 Ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
6 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Scallions, green & white parts, thinly sliced
5 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Cups snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
8 Ounces soba noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- Chili oil
1) Preheat oven to bake at 350⁰ F.
2) Lay the tofu slices on a well-oiled baking sheet and season with salt.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Rub 1/2 teaspoon of the almond butter mixture into the top of each tofu slice (try not to get the sauce on the pan). Bake for 25 minutes. Flip the tofu and season lightly with salt. Rub the second side of each tofu slice with 1/2 teaspoon of the almond butter mixture, reserving the extra. Bake for 25 minutes more. Let cool.
4) Slice the tofu lengthwise into strips. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the scallions, cook for 1 minute, and add the tofu and ginger. Cook the tofu for 1 minute, undisturbed. Add the garlic and 1/4 cup water then sauté over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the reserved almond butter mixture. Leave the pan on the stove, covered.
5) Put the peas in a colander in the sink. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and return to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes, until the noodles are just cooked through. Pour the noodles on top of the peas in the colander and drain out the water. Immediately pour the noodles and peas back into the pot.
6) Add to the pot the remaining 3 Tablespoons olive oil and toss to prevent the noodles from sticking. Stir in the tofu, rice vinegar, cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve immediately with the chili oil alongside.