Tofu Peanut Lettuce Wraps
Why we love it:
- 11⁄4 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 8 ounces Rice Noodles
- 2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil (divided, or other mild oil, avocado, coconut, etc.)
- 1 package Firm Tofu (the shrink wrapped kind, not in water, is preferred)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Cornstarch
- 1⁄2 cup Peanut Butter
- 1⁄3 cup Soy Sauce (or tamari)
- 1⁄3 cup Sesame Oil
- 1⁄4 cup Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Chili Paste (like sambal oelek)
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 English Cucumber
- 1⁄4 cup Roasted Peanuts (chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons White Sesame Seeds
- 1⁄4 bunch Cilantro (washed and coarsely chopped, even stems)
- 1 head Butter Lettuce
Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil. Add all but a hefty pinch of salt. Once boiling add the rice noodles and cook according to the package instructions (typically it’s only 4-5 minutes). Drain the noodles in a large colander and immediately run under cold water until they’re cold and thus no longer cooking.
*Careful not to over cook, rice noodles become tacky and clump easily if over boiled.
Once cold, turn noodles out into a large bowl and drizzle with about ½ of the vegetable oil tossing gently to coat.
While noodles are cooking, open the package of tofu. If you have water in the package, drain it. Dice the tofu into even cubes. Toss the tofu with cornstarch and the remaining pinch of salt.
In a large non-stick sauté pan, add the remaining oil and heat over high. Once shimmering, add the dusted tofu cubes and cook for about 3 minutes on most of the sides (if you have perfect cubes, no need to cook all 6 sides, but if you have thin, flat squares, you can get each side fairly browned). Try not to move them around too much or the tofu will stick, sautéing longer on each side will help it brown. Cook for about 12 minutes total.
When done, remove and tofu to the bowl with rice noodles.
Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a mason jar or glass bowl. The ingredients are all of the: peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili paste, brown sugar.
Mince the ginger finely, or use a grater to get it really fine. Add to the sauce.
Microwave the sauce in the bowl for a total of 1.5 minutes, in 30 second bursts. Between bursts, carefully remove the bowl (it will be hot!) and whisk it.
If you don’t have a microwave, just bring the sauté to a simmer in a small pot while whisking.
Wash and slice the cucumber into thin rounds or half moons. Add to noodles.
5. TOSS TO TASTE
Toss the warm sauce, to taste, over the noodles and tofu and combine. Add the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds. Wash and pat dry the cilantro and chop it up, including the stems, toss it in.
Remove the core from the lettuce with a paring knife. Wash the leaves and cut them as needed to make the size wrappers you like. Pat them dry with a linen or paper towel.
Serve lettuce cups with noodles, sauce and extra nuts or cilantro to taste.
*If you have extra sauce, store in the fridge for up to a month. Tastes great on roasted veggies, fish, grain bowls, as a dip for raw veggies.