Meatless Meals: Buckwheat Pasta with Tofu and Sesame Vegetables

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Photo By Miki Duisterhof and Patrick Tregenza, Courtesy Workman Publishing
Buckwheat Pasta with Tofu and Sesame Vegetables makes a great dish for potlucks and parties.

The following is an excerpt from The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet by Myra Goodman (Workman Publishing, 2010). The excerpt is part of chapter 5: Vegetarian Entrées.

Buckwheat Pasta with Tofu and Sesame Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6

The key to this recipe lies in having everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. First the tofu is sautéed to give it a golden crust; then while the pasta is cooking, the vegetables are quickly stir-fried. The result is an easy vegetarian dish loaded with tasty vegetables, beautiful colors, and varying textures. One thing that I especially appreciate about this dish is that it’s great hot, at room temperature, or cold right out of the fridge. This is a perfect budget-friendly recipe that’s great to remember when you need to make a dish for a potluck or a party.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
14 to 16 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons kosher salt
8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
3 tablespoons plain sesame oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups (6 ounces) broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips (about 1 1/2 cups) 
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds (about 1 cup) 
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 3/4 cup)
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

1. Place the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add the slabs of tofu and let marinate for 5 minutes.

2. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat and add the tofu (reserving the bowl of marinade). Cook on one side until browned, about 2 minutes. Then turn the tofu over with a spatula and cook until nicely browned on the other side, 2 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a cutting board and cut it into ¾-inch cubes. Return the tofu to the bowl containing the marinade.

3. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large covered pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons salt, and stir in the noodles. Cook according to the package directions until al dente, about 7 minutes. 

4. While the pasta is cooking, heat the plain sesame oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Then add the broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, and zucchini and stir-fry until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Cover the skillet and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, another 2 to 4 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, drain the noodles and add them to the tofu.

6. Season the vegetable mixture with salt, and add it to the tofu and pasta. Toss to combine, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and serve.

Living Green: A half pound of conventionally produced ground beef is responsible for 50 to 60 times the greenhouse gas emissions of a half pound of fruits or vegetables.

Read the original article, “Meatless Meals: Easy, Healthy Vegetarian Recipes.”

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