Peanut butter noodles with perfectly crisp hoisin fried tofu. This is a lunch or dinner that is hearty, filling, and wonderfully flavorful. A full vegan meal in a bowl!
At a veg fest last year, in panel after panel one question kept coming up in the Q&A’s. “But what about protein?”
It’s the cliché question that vegans have gotten since the beginning of time. I’m 99% sure it’s what the snake asked Eve in the Garden of Eden. (You know she & Adam were vegetarians before the apple fiasco, right? Look it up!)
And yet, it still took me by surprise.
With plant-based burgers popping up in restaurants and chains, and vegan cookbooks lining the shelves in mainstream stores like Target, it seems like veganism is everywhere.
So it was eye-opening that even with all of the press that veganism has been getting of late, that question remains. Without eggs, dairy, milk, or meat in a diet, where do vegans get protein?
The High Protein Vegan Cookbook
In her newest cookbook, my pal Ginny McMeans of Vegan in the Freezer, gives the long answer to that protein question.
The High-Protein Vegan Cookbook shows just how easy it is to meet daily protein requirements by eating a vegan diet with a variety of plant foods.
The book starts with a primer on protein, as well as highlighting some vegan protein heavy hitters – seitan, tofu, and tempeh. There’s a two-page chart with top vegan sources for protein.
And then it’s time for the recipes. There are 125 of them – all with beautiful, color photographs.
The recipes include appetizers, breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. As well as a section on making your own seitan from scratch.
Peanut butter noodles
As a hardcore peanut butter fan, I had no choice but to make Ginny’s peanut butter noodles with fried hoisin tofu. (In the book, the recipe is listed as fried hoisin tofu with peanut sauce-touched udon.)
It brings some of my favorite flavors together – sticky peanut sauce, sweet & savory hoisin, crispy tofu, and udon noodles.
And as you’d probably guess, it is packed with protein too – 33 grams to be exact.
I’ve written before about my love for udon noodles – specifically the thick, frozen noodles found in Asian grocery stores.
(You can see the noodles I buy plus preparation tips in my cheesy udon noodle bowl recipe with Brussels sprouts.)
While the recipe in the High Protein Vegan Cookbook doesn’t call for those thicker frozen udon noodles specifically, that’s the kind I used.
A heads up on the timing:
Don’t feel put off by the long preparation time of an hour and five minutes. For 30 minutes of that, you’re just marinating the tofu in hoisin and soy sauce. So in reality, you’ll only be in the kitchen for a little over a half hour.
The fried hoisin tofu is totally irresistible. I snacked on it while finishing the noodles. In fact, I wished I had more for leftovers the next day!
The hoisin sauce lends sweetness to the salty, umami-rich soy sauce. And a coating of cornstarch means the exterior is wonderfully crisp.
How to make peanut butter noodles with fried hoisin tofu:
- Marinate cubed tofu in hoisin sauce and soy sauce. (I used super firm vacuum packed tofu, so that I wouldn’t have to press it first. It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products. If you have water packed tofu, you’ll need to press it ahead of time.)
- After the tofu has marinated, remove it from the liquid, and coat it in cornstarch.
- Fry the tofu cubes in oil and set aside.
- Boil your udon noodles. (If you’re using frozen udon noodles, they will need less boiling time since they’re already fully cooked. Just follow package directions.)
- Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, and peanut butter to a saucepan. Combine. Then add the drained udon noodles to the peanut sauce. Throw in baby spinach, and cook until it wilts.
- Remove from heat, divide noodles between two bowls, and pile them up with tofu. Dive in!
Here are more recipes from the High Protein Vegan Cookbook:
- A Touch of the Tropics rice bowl
- Three layer tacos with kale slaw
- Lemon strawberry protein muffins
- Chickpea salad crostini
- Peanut butter snack squares
Pro tip: In addition to the peanut butter noodles recipe I’m sharing today, I made the peanut butter snack squares (above). Once they had cooled, I cut them into individual squares, wrapped them separately, and popped them in the freezer.
Not only does that make them handy for a lunch bag snack, they’re also a tasty treat right out of the freezer! Something about freezing them makes their texture even better.
Peanut butter noodles with fried hoisin tofu
- Mix the hoisin and 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the cubed tofu, toss, and let marinate for 30 minutes.
- Place the cornstarch on a large plate. Remove the tofu from marinade and lay out on cornstarch, tossing to coat all sides. (Add more cornstarch/potato starch, if necessary.)
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the tofu to the hot oil and fry on all sides. Set aside.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and cover. Bring to a boil and add the udon. Cook for 5 minutes and drain. Set aside.
- Add the broth, peanut butter, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce to the same saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 2 minutes, then add the udon back into the pan. Coat the udon with the sauce. Add the spinach to the pot and stir into the sauce and noodles. Continue cooking, on low, for about 3 minutes until the spinach wilts.
- Remove from the heat and divide between two bowls. Place half of the tofu on top of each bowl of udon. Drizzle the remaining hoisin mixture over the top.