Vegan cilantro pesto soba noodle bowl with seared tofu and broccolini! You'll want to put this cilantro-pepita pesto on EVERYTHING!
Remember last week when I shared these quinoa and grilled vegetable tacos with cilantro-pepita pesto? Otherwise known as the taco of my dreams. Well, being the smart young lady that I am, I made sure to whip up extra cilantro pesto to make this tasty vegan soba noodle bowl later that week.
I'm having a moment with noodles these days, especially soba noodles in Asian noodle salad form. I've been making something similar at least once a week. Because as much as I love salads in the summer, I also love substance. And carbs.
Have you ever cooked with buckwheat noodles? Despite the name, buckwheat is a gluten free grain that has a rich, nutty, and slightly bitter flavor. It's almost purple in appearance, which makes for a pretty little noodle bowl. If you're not sure if you'll like it, you can find soba noodles that are 100% whole wheat or a mixture of buckwheat and wheat, but I went all the way buckwheat here. Sounds weird, but I love bitter food - brussels sprouts, coffee, a cold IPA, radishes, dark chocolate, kale...you get it ;) So this soba noodle bowl with buckwheat noodles, broccoli rabe (aka broccoli's bitter, but tastier cousin), and cilantro (also bitter) is right up my alley.
Ummmm, you guys...while I was googling bitter foods, I discovered this article --> Scientists Say Psychopathic People Really Enjoy Bitter Foods. Now I'm worried about myself. I promise, despite what the article says, I don't enjoy torturing people...but I do want to destroy this soba noodle bowl ;)
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Vegan Cilantro Pesto Soba Noodle Bowl
This recipe for cilantro pepita pesto makes double what you'll need, so save the rest for making tacos or freeze for later.
Leaves from 3 bunches of cilantro, washed and dried
1 cup pepitas, toasted
2 jalapenos, seeded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Soba Noodle Bowl:
8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb tofu, pressed dry and cut into slices or cubes
8 ounces broccolini, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup water
First, make the pesto. Place the cilantro, pepitas, jalapenos, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Slowly stream in olive oil while the processor is running until the pesto is creamy and smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add buckwheat noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to use.
When water is coming to a boil, start on tofu. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add tofu and sear on one side, flipping after a few minutes when golden. Cook about 10 minutes total until tofu is lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside until ready to use.
Heat additional tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add broccolini. Cook about 5 minutes until lightly browned on one side, then flip, season with salt and pepper and add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, another 5-7 minutes.
Place half the pesto in a large bowl. Add buckwheat noodles and toss to combine. Toss in broccolini and tofu. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.