This one takes some effort, but it’s totally worth it! This is one of my favourite salads- adapted from the Szechuan noodle salad from my Rebar cookbook.


-1 block of extra-firm tofu (optional)
-sprinkle of salt
-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
-3 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

-2 tablespoons sesame oil
-1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-3/4 cup water
-3 tablespoons agave syrup
-3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
-juice of two limes
-2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

-1 lb soba noodles
-4 scallions, chopped
-1 grated carrot
-1 red pepper, julienned
-1/2 long cucumber
-1 avocado
-1/4 cup toasted cashews


Start by heating the olive oil in a small pan. Chop the tofu into bite-size chunks, and sprinkle with salt. When the oil is hot, add the tofu and cook until most sides are golden brown. When the tofu is done, place it in a small bowl and set aside.

Using the same pan, lightly toast the sesame seeds (it should only take a minute because the pan will already be hot). When they start to pop, spoon into a small bowl and set aside. Repeat this process for the cashews if they are still not toasted.

Start cooking the soba noodles according to the package directions. Remember to rinse them in cold water after they are cooked, otherwise they end up slimey. Drain and set aside.

For the dressing, heat the sesame and olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes, and sauté briefly until fragrant- be careful not to let it burn. Stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the agave and stir to dissolve. Mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water in a bowl, and add to the warm liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Set aside in the fridge to cool.

To serve, mix the noodles, scallions, carrot, red pepper, cucumber, and tofu with the dressing. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds, cashews, and avocado.

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