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If at any given time of the day you ask my little one what he wants to eat, he will ask for ayocayo (avocado) and mayo (tomato). Avocado was his first taste of solid food and he’s loved the smooth and creamy flesh of avocados ever since that first spoonful. He eats about one avocado a day, with anything. My husband and I also love avocados so I try to add it in just about everything—even breakfast cereal. I’ll save that for another post….

After I recently posted my recipe for Dolsot Bibimbap, a friend of mine said she tried making it at home. I was excited to get her feedback in an email that read, “HIT!! HIT!! HIT!!” The bibimbap was a hit with her family, and her husband (who is not a vegetarian) said, “I prefer eating this kind of vegetarian!” Her email made my day! For the tofu in her bibimbap, she followed a recipe for spicy tofu that I had shared with her years ago. The flavor combination was wonderful. I often make variations of tofu dishes as my go-to when making dinner so I thought I’d finally share one of my favorite tofu and soba noodle dishes with you.

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I can eat soba noodles almost everyday of the week. I’m happy to toss a bundle of soba noodles with a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce and call it a meal. When I want to get a little more fancy and the dish more colorful and hearty, I top it with spicy tofu and a few other things like tomatoes, avocados and roasted seaweed. Yum! Soba noodles can be eaten cold or at room temperature so they’re great for those lazy days of summer when you need to cook something quick and easy. I always have a package or two of dry soba noodles on hand in my pantry.

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Although soba noodles are made of buckwheat, which is gluten-free, many packages of soba noodles contain wheat flour. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, try to find soba noodles that do not contain wheat. I understand they exist. You may have to search for them in a specialty market or online.

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Soba Noodles with Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce and Avocado
Serves 4

10-12 ounces dried soba noodles
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
sesame seeds
Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce (recipe below)
2 avocados, cut in half-inch chunks
1 tomato, diced
1 scallion, sliced, for garnish
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1 sheet roasted seaweed, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add soba noodles and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Toss with sesame oil and soy sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss with sesame seeds. Transfer to individual serving bowls or one large serving bowl. Top noodles with spicy tofu, followed by avocados, tomatoes, scallions, and sesame seeds. Using kitchen scissors, cut strips of seaweed on top.

Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages (14 oz) extra firm tofu, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used low-sodium organic Tamari, gluten-free soy sauce)
1-2 tablespoons chili garlic paste/sauce* (less or more depending on preference)
1 tablespoon fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon potato starch (or cornstarch) mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon orange juice, fresh
4-8 scallions/green onions, sliced (reserve some for garnish)

In a large saucepan sauté ginger and garlic in olive oil, stirring until fragrant. Add tofu and sauté about 10 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, leaving scallions until last. Cook until sauce thickens slightly (just a couple of minutes). Add orange juice and stir. Add scallions, toss and serve over rice, other grains or soba noodles.

Martine’s Notes: In other versions I’ve added sliced mushrooms, broccoli or other vegetables that might add color, flavor or texture. Feel free to scale back or add more chili garlic sauce or jalapeño pepper according to personal preferences. I definitely don’t add the chili sauce when serving to my toddler.

*Chili garlic sauce is available at asian markets or in the international/asian foods aisle at most grocery stores.

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