After taking a bit of a break from social media, I’m happy to be back sharing this air-fried sesame tofu noodle salad. In my excess free time I’ve spent it meal prepping and recipe testing for new content. I’ve also taken this time to calm my mind and focus on myself. Even if it was only a two week leave – I feel like I’ve learned so much.
I don’t take the time to get personal in these posts as often as I should or wish I would. To be honest, I’ve been having a hard time this year. It’s been a daily struggle working through my anxiety and depression. I don’t say this for pity, merely the opposite. I want to celebrate the fact that I’m still here. Trying my hardest to be a better person and love myself unconditionally as I navigate through this everlasting journey to mental and physical wellness.
It has always been a goal of mine to truly feel my best by losing weight and gaining a deeper sense of self in the process. How can you ever expect to alter your image without loving it first? It’s taken me many years to learn that negativity gets you nowhere in life. Especially true in regards to how you internalize your self-worth. I grew up always telling myself I wasn’t good enough, no one would love me and being overweight is ugly. Little did I know those years of verbally bashing myself would finally lead up to the day I stopped spewing such hateful thoughts. This year I’ve made it my mission to quiet that voice and learn to treat myself with respect. Through meditation, mantras – you name it. But most importantly through my diet and daily practice to heal my body with whole foods.
Of course, this isn’t a one and done concept. Each day is new and full of ups and downs. But over the last two weeks I’ve been able to further ground myself and stop the triggers I was facing on a daily basis through social media. Albeit, my job replies heavily on keeping up a social presence. Thus I made the return after I felt strong enough to come back. But now I know I will be taking time away more often and making sure to focus on whats real and really matters to me most.
It’s so easy to get caught up in other’s lives, neglecting to live your own in the process.
These two weeks of solitude have taught me the importance of walking away from anything that isn’t serving me or my true self. I have the power to change my mindset and let all the negativity drift away. I have the strength to surround myself with positivity. And I finally have the will to accept I deserve all of that and so much more!
With that being said, my happy place is anywhere that offers vegan food. Better known as the grocery store. I’ve partnered with Kroger to share this fresh and filling tofu noodle salad that I’m currently obsessed with. If you know me, you know my heart is made of carbs and food brings me joy. Especially the process of making food and sharing it with loved ones. With the abundance of time I’ve gained by prying myself away from my cell phone, I’ve been making more meals full of fresh ingredients. I love a good salad, but I really love a salad that’s secretly a vehicle for noodles and crispy tofu.
I’ve been playing around with my air-fryer and absolutely love it for crisping up tofu. I typically refrain from all added oils, but today I used this Simple Truth vinaigrette to season the tofu before “frying”. Actually, once I added the whole bottle of vinaigrette and then removed the tofu. I poured the excess back into the bottle and only ended up using about 2-3 tbsp. You can of course use whatever you’d like best for that. Even a simple blend of coconut aminos and a splash of rice vinegar tastes amazing. I used a bit of the marinade to toss the brown rice noodles in after boiling. This helps them not stick together. I also toss in the green onion right after draining the noodles so they can slightly steam it. You can add any and all veggies you love most to this dish. I like to stick with shredded carrots, cilantro and spring onions because they’re easy to prep and I always have them on hand.
If you give this recipe a try I would love to see your recreation. Especially if you put your own spin on it! Definitely snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @PlantPhilosophy using the hashtag #PlantPhilosophy so I don’t miss it. It makes my day seeing your photos.
Thanks for reading along and always supporting me and my passion.
Asian Sesame Air-Fried Tofu Noodle Salad
Yield 2 servings
- 1 bottle Simple Truth Asian Sesame Vinaigrette*
- 1 block Extra Firm Tofu, pressed & marinaded
- 3 bunches of Romaine Lettuce, shredded
- 16 oz. Brown Rice Noodles, cooked
- 4-6 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Carrots, thinly sliced
- Black Sesame Seeds, to garnish
- Peanut or Almond Butter Sauce, to top
- Drain a block of firm tofu, wrap in paper towels or a clean dish towel. Place a slightly heavy object on top, evenly applying pressure to press for 15-30 minutes. About 2-3 pounds is all the weight needed. Try using a hardback cookbook.
- In a medium sized bowl or air-tight container add a bottle of Simple Truth Asian Sesame Vinaigrette.
- Unwrap your tofu and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to your vinaigrette and marinate for 30 minutes. You can also prep ahead and let it sit overnight for more flavor. Keep in the fridge to chill.
- While everything is marinating, wash and cut veggies to size. I thinly sliced my carrots, romaine lettuce and spring onion. You can keep it covered or sealed to chill in the fridge until needed.
- Once the tofu is done marinating, scoop out with a slotted spoon to let the excess drop off. Transfer to an air-fryer basket. It's okay if it's not a single layer of tofu. Alternatively you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 450 F for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it. Give it a shake every 8-10 minutes.
- In the air-fryer, bake your tofu for 16 minutes at 400 F. Shaking the basket every 4 minutes to evenly crisp.
- While that is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add in your rice noodles and cook as package suggests. Mine took about 5 minutes.
- Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking more. Toss with a little bit of the leftover vinaigrette to keep from sticking. I poured the remaining vinaigrette back into the bottle to use again.
- Assemble each bowl with a base of lettuce, toss rice noodles with carrots and spring onion. Top salad off with noodles and crispy tofu. Drizzle over peanut sauce and serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
If prepping ahead, marinate tofu and keep it stored in an air-tight container for up to two days. Wash and cut veggies, patting them dry and sealing in an air-tight container as well. All you have to do is cook rice noodles and tofu before serving. I recommend making the peanut sauce a day before you plan on eating so it's one less thing you have to prep and it's already chilled.
I used the whole bottle but only 2-3 tbsp of marinade was absorbed into the tofu. I removed the tofu and poured the remaining liquid back into the original bottle. Saving it for later use in the fridge.
Courses Entree, Lunch
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger/Fred Meyer. The opinions and text are all mine.