There are certain meals that are sure-bets when feeding my family. Often, they include pasta. Fortunately, this one also includes broccoli and tofu, and is so delicious, everyone will love it, and you won’t get tired of it. It’s peanut butter noodles. I’ve been futzing with the recipe for a long time, trying different recipes to see which one I like best. Well, I’ve finally made the one, the Platonic ideal of peanut butter noodles, if you will. It tastes like satay, and it is delicious. I have a little bit of sauce left over, so I guess I’m going to have to make tofu satay! Bummer.
This is a recipe specifically for my kids, so it’s not very spicy. When my husband and I eat it, we add plenty of sriracha, which is highly recommended, but you could also use hot curry powder instead of regular curry powder or add cayenne to the sauce mix. Also, we all love what happens to broccoli when it’s roasted, so I take that step here, but you could just as easily add it to the pan. It’s so easy to roast, though, and if you fry the broccoli in the pan, you still should/have to remove the tofu from the pan in order to get the broccoli the direct contact with the pan that it deserves. Do it however you like, though.
Peanut butter noodles with tofu and broccoli
- 1 head of broccoli, broken and chopped into small florets
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (spaghetti or other shape)
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 lb extra-firm tofu, cubed into 1/2″ dice
- 13 oz can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use natural peanut butter with nothing added to it, except salt, I don’t know what this would be like with Jif)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- Chopped roasted peanuts for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (makes clean-up easy), and spray with cooking spray. Place the broccoli florets on the foil, pour the olive oil over it and add the salt. Toss with your hands until all the florets have a light coating of the oil. Roast for about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring and tossing about half-way through cooking time.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. My husband likes spaghetti, but it’s messy for the kids, so I break it into smaller pieces.
Heat a large cast iron pan over slightly lower than medium-high heat. Add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu and then leave it alone. If you try to move it before the tofu is properly caramelized, you’ll lose the crispy skin to the pan. When it lifts fairly easily, after a good 8 to 10 minutes, toss it around in the pan to caramelize it on another side.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, agave, tamarind paste, curry powder, salt, ginger, and coriander, and place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir often to incorporate the peanut butter and to ensure that it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. When the sauce starts to simmer and bubble, it’s ready to serve.
In a large bowl, toss together the drained pasta, the broccoli, the tofu, and the sauce until thoroughly combined. Serve with plenty of sriracha and chopped peanuts, if you want to be fancy.
Serves a family of five (with three small kids)