I know the ingredient list and directions look terrifying, but this recipe is actually really easy. It has multiple steps, but they’re fast and simple! Give it a chance before being scared off by the length of the recipe!
After trying this as both a raw salad and stir-fry, I can easily say I prefer it as a stir-fry. I might have more luck with it as a raw salad if I used shredded carrots instead of larger cuts like the coin-sliced carrots in the pictures. I wasn’t a big fan of the crunchiness of the carrots and cucumbers, which surprised me because I usually like raw salads like this one! I’ll have to try it again with smaller cucumber slices and shredded carrot.
The tofu’s coating and sauce in this recipe are just fantastic. The almond butter, lime, and maple syrup with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes gives it just the right mix of spicy-savory-sweetness.
If you make it raw you can probably put it together in less than 35 minutes, but if you stir-fry it you’ll need closer to 45. Adapted from Minimalist Baker.
Servings: probably 3-4? though the original recipe says 2…
Tofu and coating:
- 8-oz. extra-firm tofu, cubed
- for a tofu alternative you can use steamed edamame, roasted cashews, or roasted peanuts
- 3 tbs. water
- 2 tbs. almond butter, or sub peanut butter
- 1 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- 1-2 tbs. maple syrup or coconut sugar (I like it with maple syrup!)
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Raw salad or Stir-fry base:
- about 5 oz. thin rice noodles (I used Taste of Thai in mine)
- 2 cups thinly sliced or ribboned carrots, about 2 carrots (use a vegetable peeler!)
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced on a bias, then halved, about 1 small cucumber
- Optional: ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup diced green onion
- ½ cup fresh cilantro or basil, torn/chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tbs. maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- 2 tbs. rice vinegar (or sub white or apple cider vinegar, but it will change the flavoring slightly)
- 1 tbs. water
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prep the tofu: Cut the tofu into cubes then place them in a large bowl or gallon bag. Add as much cornstarch as necessary to coat the tofu cubes. Mix them in the bowl, or shake the bag, until the tofu is coated in cornstarch.
Place the tofu cubes onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the tofu over so it cooks evenly on all sides, then bake for an additional 15 minutes. If these directions seem similar, it’s because they’re the same for the General Tso’s Tofu recipe.
Prep the veggies: While the tofu bakes, prep all the veggies. If you are making a raw salad: cut them up and set them aside. If you are making a stir-fry: saute in water, in a large pan, the carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, and green onions until desired tenderness (about a few minutes over Medium heat). Add the cilantro or basil and cook another 30 seconds or so until it’s slightly wilted. Dump the veggies on a plate, or whatever, to set them aside so you have room in the pan for the tofu later.
Prep the rice noodles: Start heating up the rice noodles according to package instructions. Then rinse them with cold water (drain thoroughly!) and set aside.
Prep the tofu coating: While the tofu and rice noodles are going, prep the tofu sauce coating by whisking together the almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Prep the dressing/sauce: Prepare the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, whisking thoroughly, all ingredients in the “Dressing/Sauce” list (garlic through water). Taste and adjust flavors as needed (red pepper flakes for more heat, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for citrus acidity, and maple syrup for sweetness). Set aside.
At this point you should have: one bowl of tofu sauce coating, one bowl of salad dressing (or stir-fry sauce, however you’re making this), raw or sautéed veggies, and rice noodles draining in a colander.
Finally time to combine stuff: When the tofu comes out use tongs to move the cubes from the baking sheet to a pan. (If stir-frying, use the same one you had the veggies in earlier). Pour the tofu sauce coating over the tofu and cook over Medium heat until the coating gels onto the tofu. Basically the exact same method from the General Tso recipe.
When the tofu’s done, add it to your veggies (raw or stir-fry) and drizzle the dressing/sauce over it all. Serve it with the rice noodles.
According to Minimalist Baker, the leftovers keep well when stored separately in the fridge for up to 3 days.