Sesame Lime Noodles/Quinoa

Wed, 02/03/2011

My boys love noodles of any type:  spaghetti, rice noodles, linguine, soba and the list could continue. Noodles are fun to eat and can accompany almost any type of food.  But one thing I particularly love about noodles is you can cook just what you need, and even if you do have extra leftover, freeze them easy peasy.

This recipe is one of my boys’ favorite Asian noodle recipes.  They love the hint of lime in the dressing, and so do I.  And while R and G savor their lime noodles, while I prepare the food I cook up some quinoa, which works just as well for this mom.

One of my favorite things about this dish is it uses a great healthy eating strategy:  I prepare the dinner a la carte and offer the boys many different vegetable topping choices.  I give them the directions, “choose 2 or more vegetables for your dinner.”  They love having choices and I love knowing that no matter what they choose, they’re getting a healthy meal.

Sesame Lime Noodles/Quinoa

For the noodles:
1 pound rice noodles (or whatever noodles, quinoa or even rice you care to use)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
2 carrots, thinly sliced or julienned
1 bell pepper, diced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup steamed broccoli florets -OR- 1 cup sliced cucumber
½ cup roasted peanuts
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

For the dressing:
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the noodles, quinoa or rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, heat the vegetable oil.  Toss the tofu in the turmeric (adds color and antioxidants, but is completely optional).  Add the tofu to the skillet or wok and cook 4-5 minutes, or until slightly browned.  Let the tofu sit undisturbed on each side to allow the browning to develop.  Once cooked, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for the salad dressing, stirring well to combine.  Set aside.

To serve, place ¼ of the noodles, quinoa or rice on a plate.  Top with desired vegetables and tofu.  Stir again and pour approximately ¼ of the dressing on top.  Top with fresh cilantro, if desired and peanuts.

Serves 4.