Citrusy Noodles with Tofu, Asparagus and Sesame

Citrusy Noodles with Tofu, Asparagus and Sesame | A Sweet Spoonful

One year ago today we were sitting at Elliot Bay Book Company, my chest feeling immensely tight, awaiting word from our broker about an offer we put on a house. In a very competitive market, it turned out that we were the tenth offer; I knew ours wasn’t the highest and that chances were slim. We’d spent a lot of time on a letter to the buyer and were just crossing our fingers that they might be the kind of people who would read such a letter and even like to envision a new family making a home there. But I also knew that money talks, and they’d likely choose the highest offer. During the reception for the book event, as I stood nervously sipping sparkling water, a text came through from our broker that they’d accepted our offer. The house was ours. I burst into tears and grabbed onto Sam and tried really, really hard not to take any of the attention away from our friend’s lovely book. But THE HOUSE. We got THE HOUSE!

In many ways, a year can go by so quickly. Every time the first of the month rolls around I always find myself thinking, where does the time go? (Or more like: It’s time to pay our mortgage again?!) But in other ways, so much happens in a year. I’m sitting here now inside that very same house we’d talked and dreamed about, with the baby that we still referred to as Sprout and had yet to meet, now napping upstairs. And there are two nice men out back helping us with a small brick patio. Last summer I told myself that pregnant ladies can’t do everything and the yard just lost the fight: neither of us had time to do much back there and we let it go. But this summer I’m determined to spend lots of time outside, eating cold noodle salads, reading a page or two of a book if Oliver lets me, and maybe even learning to sort-of use a grill.   

Citrusy Noodles with Tofu, Asparagus and Sesame | A Sweet Spoonful

In the past year, we’ve done some minor work on the house to make it feel lighter and softer and more like us; it’s a 1930’s brick Tudor so the rooms are quite small and tight and they were originally painted really dark, rather gothic colors. So we painted many of the rooms using grays and light blues and whites, put in some new fixtures, and are currently working with a company I love to bring about a few new touches in the dining room which I’m excited to tell you about in a few months.

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And maybe by the time the sun decides to really show up in earnest, we’ll have some new grass sprouting in the backyard and a table big enough to sit some of our favorite people. But for now, I’ll settle for cold noodle salads inside and this past weekend, I doubled this recipe so I’ll have it for lunch every. single. day. It’s that good: light and refreshing, with asparagus at the height of its season, little ribbons of carrot, toasted sesame seeds and citrus-drenched tofu. It’s one of those salads that’s actually better the second day (if you can wait) and is best served room temperature or cold (I prefer cold).

I had the opportunity to partner with Albertsons and Safeway to create this noodle recipe, and was eager to try a handful of their Signature line of ingredients in the testing process. I was looking for an interesting way to brighten up baked tofu that didn’t rely on the typical peanut, tahini or Sriacha shuffle I usually do, so I opted for big citrusy flavor instead thanks to the Signature SELECT Seville marmalade and a healthy splash of orange juice. Those flavors are balanced with Signature Kitchens soy sauce, ginger, garlic and honey. It is perfect picnic food, but has also proved to be great lunch fuel at my desk this week, while staring out the window dreaming about the sunny days to come. I hope you’re all having a great week.

Citrusy Noodles with Tofu, Asparagus and Sesame

Citrusy Noodles with Tofu, Asparagus and Sesame

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 35 mins
  • Total time: 55 mins

I use soba noodles for this salad although you can certainly use a rice or chow mein noodle if you’d prefer. And as with many simple noodle salads, this is quite adaptable so if you’d prefer using broccoli or another seasonal vegetable instead of the asparagus, go right ahead. And last, the marinade for the tofu and the dressing for the noodles both rely on a handful of the same ingredients, so keep them close at hand.

Ingredients

For the Tofu Marinade:

3 tablespoons Signature SELECT Seville Orange Marmalade
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Signature Kitchens Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu

For the Noodles:

1 (9.5-ounce) package soba noodles
3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends cut away, sliced on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Signature Kitchens Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Signature SELECT Seville Orange marmalade
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
2 large carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup (20g) chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1/4 cup / 30g)
1/3 cup (45g) sesame seeds, toasted, divided
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

Prepare the Tofu: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the marmalade, orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, honey, ginger and garlic.

Unwrap the tofu, blot with a few paper towels to remove excess moisture, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Arrange the tofu in an even layer in a 9×13 baking pan and pour the marinade on top. Stir to coat the tofu. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, stir well, then bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until tofu is golden brown. Spoon the saucy tofu out of the pan and into a small bowl; set aside.

Prepare the Salad: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles and place them in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the asparagus for 90 seconds, or until bright green and tender. Immediately strain and rinse with cold water.

In a small bowl, make the dressing: whisk together the orange juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, marmalade, shallot and salt. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, toss the noodles with the asparagus, carrots, cilantro, green onion, ½ the amount of sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (if using). Gently fold in the tofu (along with the leftover marinade) and dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve room temperature (or cold), topped with the remaining toasted sesame seeds.

Comments

  1. Rachel

    I always find myself defaulting to peanut and Sriracha (who can blame us?), but this looks a little lighter and so delicious. Marmalade is a great idea. Can't wait to try it!

  2. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table

    I would have never thought of using marmalade in a cold noodles recipe, but when you think about the squirt of orange I always like in there, it seems like a natural fit! Great work - and keep enjoying those early spring days.

  3. Meghan

    This looks delicious! I live in the UK so don't have those shops near me so am wondering about substitutes--what type of marmalade is that? i.e. are there bits or no bits? I love close to Dundee so have access to lots of the traditional Dundee marmalade, and we have a few whisky-infused marmalades in the fridge--would any type do? Thanks!

    1. megang

      Hi, Meghan-
      There are bits in the marmalade; yes it's pretty chunky and not too terribly sweet. I think any type of marmalade will do just fine! And just use a regular or low-sodium soy sauce for the other. I hope you enjoy it! ~Megan

  4. Meghan

    Thanks, Megan!

  5. Claire

    I love soba noodles and this looks like the perfect recipe to try. I also love that you say you love the leftovers even more, but I have a question: Does the tofu lose the marinade/effort you put into it over a few days? I've found it does for other recipes, but I create single servings to be able to easily pack lunches for a two or three day period. Curious to hear about your experiences (maybe you keep it separate and only add per serving as you eat throughout the week?).

    1. megang

      Hi, Claire. Great question. You know, to be honest, the flavors of the tofu kind of blend in with the citrusy flavors of the noodles. In other words, the flavor of the tofu doesn't feel particularly distinct to me - it compliments the noodles. So I wouldn't fuss to much with separating the tofu if I were you. I didn't feel like it lost the effort I put into it, really, as it does taste punchier with the marinade than it would on its own for sure. I hope that helps, and hope you enjoy the noodles. Thanks for the great question. ~Megan

  6. Maggie

    Another delicious work-lunch-friendly salad, Megan!

    And if there's anyone else who, like me, opens their fridge to discover they had not, in fact, remembered to buy orange marmalade, I'm happy to report that apricot jam worked just fine (I skipped the honey in the marinade, since I figured the jam was probably more than sweet enough already)!

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