Crispy pan-seared tofu coated in a sticky sweet sesame cashew sauce and tossed with sweet potato noodles. This vegan-friendly, slurptastic meal will take your taste buds to a whole new world of delicious. This meal = the absolute center of my food happy place.
Mainly because it combines two of my latest culinary loves — the spiralizer (basically the sum of my summer meals) and meatless meals (the two have really gone hand-in-hand).
Guys, I’ve been, like, MAJORLY enjoying all of my meatless meals lately. In the past few months, I’ve (unintentionally) consumed less meat than ever before… in my life. Especially with summer produce being at its peak, vegetarian options have just been sounding fresher, lighter, tastier and just flat out more appealing.
In light of said infatuation, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to prepare tofu to see which one really strikes my fancy. The consensus: extra firm, extra crispy, extra flavorful and preferably paired with something spiralized. I guess this recipe fits the bill!
This is the dish where crispy meets creamy and savory meets sweet and this colossal explosion of feel-good vibes erupt from your bowl. The tofu is seared just long enough to acquire a toasty golden crust before it’s coated with sticky, sweet, slightly spicy sesame cashew sauce.
The sauce blankets over each bite-sized piece of tofu allowing it to further crisp up as the natural sugars form a deeply rich glaze. As you cook the saucy tofu, you’ll notice bits and pieces of the sauce sticking to the pan which will eventually crisp up and turn into toasty bites of bliss.
I’m telling you, even the carnivores in your life will love this stuff.Also, did I mention this sauce contains CASHEW BUTTER? Which may have officially beat out my obsession for peanut butter (gasp).
Cashew butter is on another level of creamy and smooth and it can only be described as pure decadence. It served as the perfect compliment to the sweet, salty and spicy ingredients of the sauce, leveling out the flavor profile and amping up the creaminess. I can already tell this sauce will be on repeat in our dinner rotation.
Now let’s talk about sweet potato NOODLES!
If you’re someone that likes very al dente pasta, you will go bonkers over these noodles. I like to saute mine for just about 7-8 minutes, long enough to break down their fibrous texture while still retaining a little crunch. You can also choose to boil them if you prefer a softer noodle, but keep in mind they will absorb some water which will end up thinning out the sauce. Not a bad thing, just will modify the overall texture/consistency of the dish.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients and are most widely known for their rich levels of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) which has powerful antioxidant properties. These vibrant root veggies are also loaded with fiber and high in Vitamin C. Not many other pasta dishes have that kind of claim to fame!So let’s recap all the reasons why you should make this meal ASAP:
- The crispy, caramelized tofu will turn you into a toFAN after one bite
- You’re eating a big ol’ bowl of vegetables that tastes like al dente PASTA
- The sesame cashew sauce is out of this WORLD delicious and will ignite every sweet, savory, spicy and salty taste bud
- It makes the best leftovers your lunchbox will have seen since Mom’s spaghetti
- It’s high in protein, rich in fiber and the most slurptastic plant-based meal your face may ever meet
And that, my friends, is how you conquer Meatless Monday.
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, spiralized
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup cashew butter
- 1½ tbsp lower sodium soy sauce (see notes for gluten free alternative)
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar (sub for brown sugar)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp Sriracha
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp sliced green onion/scallions for topping
- Additional optional toppings: sesame seeds, fresh basil, chopped cashews or peanuts
- Press tofu firmly with paper towels to release excess moisture. I typically do this a few times to the whole block and then slice it into 5-6 strips and press it out again to remove as much water as possible. Once most of the moisture is removed, slice tofu into small, bite-sized pieces.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine cashew butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger and water. Use a whisk to thoroughly mix.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 2-3 tsp of oil, swirl to coat and add sweet potato noodles. Cook for 7-8 minutes, tossing often until slightly softened. I like to add 1-2 tsp of water after a few minutes to create some steam in the pan. Once noodles are cooked to your liking, transfer to a bowl and add HALF the sesame cashew sauce. Toss to combine.
- Return skillet to heated stove and add another 1-2 tsp oil. Add tofu and cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Toss around and cook another 2-3 minutes without stirring. Toss and cook 1-2 more times until most sides of the tofu are golden. Add garlic and remaining half of sauce and simmer until the tofu begins absorbing the sauce and becomes browned. Add lime juice and keep gently flipping tofu and scraping browned bits off the bottom. You should end up with crispy browned crusts on the tofu and browned bits in the pan.
- Top sweet potato noodles with tofu and add optional toppings as desired: green onion, sesame seeds and fresh basil. Serve!
You can substitute the sweet potato noodles for zoodles!
What’s your favorite way to prepare tofu?
What has been your favorite vegetable (or fruit!) to spiralize?