You know that feeling when you’re completely obsessed with a meal and want to shout it from the rooftops?!
That is me, RIGHT NOW, with these tofu bowls.
We just can’t get enough of them!! Even Remy loves them, which is, if you know her, pretty shocking.
There’s just so much here to love – the crispy tofu, the quick pickled veggies, the melt-in-your-mouth zucchini, the LIFE CHANGING peanut sauce.
It’s almost too much.
This recipe requires a few different steps and the ingredient list may look a little daunting but nothing is hard or particularly time consuming so don’t be scared! You can even mix up the quick pickles and the peanut sauce ahead of time if you’re looking to get some early meal prep in. In fact, even if you’re making everything in one go I would recommend starting with those so that they have extra time for the flavors to mix and snuggle in together.
The quick pickles are just a simple mix of carrots, cucumbers, lime juice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. I use seasoned rice vinegar because I like the hint of sweetness it adds. If using unseasoned, you may need to add a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavors.
Next comes the peanut sauce!! I’m not joking when I say this is LIFE CHANGING.
I have strong and very specific preferences when it comes to peanut sauce. I like it to have the perfect balance of sweet and savoriness with hint a of spice. I’m not into sauces that are too sour or acid-heavy (which I find most are). This sauce is the epitome of all my peanut sauce dreams. I could eat it straight from the bowl, by the bucketful. It is that good.
Next up: the crispy tofu!!
I’m just going to put this right out there in the open: this recipe DOES require you to shallow-fry the tofu. I know, I know, no one likes to mess with hot oil on a weeknight but I do find this is best (and honestly, the fastest) way to get that crispy crunchy exterior with a soft squishy interior. I suspect you could also air fry it, along with the zucchini, but I haven’t tried it myself.
First you’ll coat your tofu triangles in a simple seasoned cornstarch/flour mixture and then pop it into hot oil for about five minutes total. Next you’ll drain off most of the hot oil and quickly saute your zucchini until it’s golden on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside.
Pile everything up on top of a bed of rice or your favorite whole grain and drizzle that peanut sauce like it’s your job.
This is such a family favorite that I’ll be putting it on the dinner meal plan ALL SUMMER LONG. Maybe multiple times a week? It’s happening.
- 2 (10 oz) blocks extra firm tofu, cut into triangles
- 100 g (~3/4 cup) all purpose flour
- 100 g (~1 cup) cornstarch
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch coins
- black pepper, to taste
- 5 oz shredded carrots
- ½ large seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 tsp sambal oelek
- white rice, brown rice, or your favorite whole grain (about ½ cup cooked per serving)
- Pour oil to 1-inch depth into a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet or Dutch oven. Heat over high heat.
- While the oil is heating, toss the flour, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the tofu triangles to the bowl and toss until coated in the flour mixture. Add the tofu to the oil in a few batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crispy, then removed to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all of the tofu is fried.
- Carefully discard all but about 2 tbsp of hot oil from the pan. Add the zucchini coins and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Saute until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the carrots, cucumber, lime juice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Set aside to pickle.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, maple syrup, sweet chili sauce, and sambal oelek until well combined.