It's another meatless Monday, and tonight we're going Asian. Nutty tasting Japanese soba noodles, made from a combo of buckwheat and wheat flour pair perfectly with crisped tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and a spicy peanut sauce. If you like, make extra and have it chilled for lunch the next day. And, if you like things spicy, feel free to add your favorite bit of heat to the sauce when pureeing.
2 garlic cloves, peeled
8 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
3 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package (14 ounces) medium-firm tofu, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
6 ounces winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wide pieces (1 1/4 cups)
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discard, caps thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. Put up a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and then drop in the garlic and cook for 1 minute to blanch. Lift the garlic out with a slotted spoon; don't drain the water.
2. In the same pot, cook the soba noodles until al dente; drain.
3. Meanwhile, in a blender combine the blanched garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Puree until smooth and then pour over the noodles tossing to coat.
4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add the tofu, working in batches if necessary and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes a batch. Transfer to the bowl with the noodles.
5. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the squash and carrots and cook, stirring frequently until the squash is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook until tender, adding a little water to the skillet if it's dry, about 4 minutes. Add the scallions and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add the mixture to the bowl with the noodles and toss to combine. Serve warm or chilled.