Ginger noodles with tofu (4+ servings)

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I cooked with tofu twice in the last two weeks!  I'd say that's pretty impressive for someone who was once afraid to even try it.  Now that I've discovered the importance of draining it, I'm not so hesitant to cook with it.  This recipe comes from the most recent issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, which I swear is becoming more meat-laden each month.  (I wouldn't be surprised if she gets a kickback from the Cattlemen's Beef Board, honestly.)  Anyway, it was nice to see this vegetarian-friendly recipe featured in the magazine's $10 Spot section.  The magazine calculates a cost of $9.92 for the entire meal, although it would be slightly higher for me because I used Chinese noodles instead of the fettuccine the recipe called for.

You will need:

  • One 14-oz package of extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes and pressed dry in a towel
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ~1 lb Chinese noodles (I used Nasoya again)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • One 12-oz package broccoli slaw

Directions:

  1. Start a large stockpot of water boiling for the noodles.
  2. Season the tofu cubes with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, and orange zest and set aside.
  3. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large rimmed skillet.  Add the tofu in a single layer and cook without stirring until browned on first side (about 3 min).  Turn the cubes and cook for 3 min on each side until all sides are browned.  Transfer to a plate.  (I learned after the first round of turning to count each cube I flipped so that I could make sure I got to all 30 of them each time!)
  4. Add the mushrooms to the now-empty skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 5 min).
  5. When you start cooking the mushrooms, you can add the noodles to the stockpot, as the water should be boiling by now.  My noodles took only 3 min to cook.  Drain the noodles, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.  Return the pasta to the stockpot.
  6. Add the broccoli slaw to the noodles, followed by the tofu and the browned mushrooms.  Pour in the soy sauce mixture and about half the pasta water, tossing to coat.  Add more water if you need to thin out the sauce.  (I think I used only about 1 1/4 cups of water.)  Serve immediately.

I thought this recipe was just about perfect, and Bryan loved it too.  Other than swapping Chinese noodles for fettuccine, the only change I made was to add orange zest to the sauce, and I'm glad I did.  Oh, and I also didn't boil the ginger in the pasta water the way the recipe suggested because that seemed silly.  This meal was filling and really quite healthy, and it tasted like something you could order at a restaurant, only it wasn't overly greasy.  I'd definitely make it again!

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