sweet potato peanut noodles with crispy tofu

One fateful day about two years ago, my mother (whom I lovingly refer to as “Betsy”) and I stumbled upon a kitchen appliance that would change our lives forever. We were browsing the shelves of Williams-Sonoma wistfully when we spotted a strange-looking item that we soon found out was called a spiralizer.

I had heard about spiralizers before, of course, but it wasn’t until I saw one in person that I realized they could change my life. I became enthralled with the idea of replacing all the refined carbohydrates in my diet with noodly vegetable strands. A new and healthier me would emerge from the wilderness of starchy, processed pasta; I would face life with my spiralizer in one hand and a zucchini or root vegetable in the other.

Betsy and I each bought one. I can honestly say I think it is one of the most useful items in my kitchen. I adore my spiralizer and I try to use it as much as possible. However, I now admit that my enthusiasm for abandoning all non-vegetable pasta was short-lived. If you’ve seen my Instagram, you know that orecchiette and linguine often make appearances. I’ve learned that sometimes real, glutenous pasta is the only thing that can fill the hole in my pudgy little heart—with the exception of this dish.

Perhaps it’s because this dish was the first thing Betsy and I made with our spiralizers, or maybe it’s because the combination of sweet potato and peanut butter is so freaking good. Either way, these sweet potato peanut noodles have remained in my dinner rotation since that evening two years ago when I got home, took my spiralizer out of its box, and made magic for the first time.

I like to serve these noodles with crispy tofu or a lacy, bubbly fried egg, but they are lovely with any kind of protein. The best method I’ve found for making super-crispy, deliciously golden tofu comes from the kitchn, which I have adapted ever so slightly here.

In most of my cooking, I tend to throw things together without following any sort of specific recipe. Use these measurements as guidelines but always be sure to find what works best for you. I love how Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen puts it: “Alter my suggestions based on your own tastes- a little more of this, a little less of that. This is art, not science, if you ask me.”

sweet potato peanut noodles with crispy tofu

Serves 3-4

for the sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 Tbsp. water

for the tofu

  • 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed to remove excess moisture
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, for frying
  • Salt and pepper

for the noodles

  • Olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled (I used frozen)
  • 1 large sweet potato, spiralized into linguine-like strands

for garnish

  • Avocado, cucumber matchsticks, cilantro, and more lime wedges and cilantro

make the sauce

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, sriracha, honey, lime juice, and water. Whisk to combine, adding more water if necessary to reach desired consistency.

make the tofu

Cut the pressed tofu into whatever shape you prefer; I like cubes or triangles. Place the cut tofu in a freezer bag with 3 tablespoons of corn starch and salt and pepper to taste, seal the bag, and shake well to distribute the corn starch evenly among the tofu pieces.

Set a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the tofu in a single layer. Flip the tofu once the bottom has fried to a golden brown color. When the cornstarch has formed a golden crust on all sides, remove the tofu from the pan and place on a paper towel–lined plate. Set aside.

make the noodles

Wipe out the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and place it over medium heat. Add the diced onion to the pan and sauté for about three minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Then, add the edamame and spiralized sweet potato. Sauté until the sweet potato has reached an al dente texture, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Toss the vegetables with the tofu and the sauce. Garnish with avocado, cucumber matchsticks, cilantro, lime wedges, and more sriracha, if desired. Serve immediately.

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