10 July 2012

Peanut Noodles and Tofu Salad Rolls

This past week I was lucky enough to host one of my favorite travel bloggers, Hannah from Further Bound. She was here for the annual World Domination Summit held in Portland and needed a place to stay for a night. In short, I'M SO FREAKING GLAD SHE ASKED!  It was such fun to finally have a conversation with someone I've admired for so long for her writing, honesty, and amazing accomplishments.

I had planned this great warm weather dinner of gazpacho and fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. Apparently all thought of this plan went out the window the previous weekend when I went grocery shopping. I needed a vegetarian meal since Hannah is veggie. While I will definitely make quite a few vegetarian dishes for us throughout the week (it's cheap!), I tend to serve more meat-centered dishes when entertaining guests. I don't know why...just feels fancier. Anyway, I felt the need to do something special and since I completely forgot to plan for my Spanish-esque meal, I luckily had stumbled across this recipe for peanut noodle salad on Cook's Country's website. I decided some nice salad rolls that I had seen in the most recent Sunset Magazine would make a nice addition, too (dad would be so proud...)

Rice paper...much easier to deal with when you read the instructions on how to use them
The nice thing about this meal was that I was able to make it for Shawn to eat earlier in the evening since he needs to eat when he comes home or he starts to get this sad, deprived puppy look on his face (sorry hon, it's true), but it kept wonderfully for me and Hannah to eat later in the evening. It's also finally summer here in Portland, so cold meals are a necessity.
This meal comes together quickly once all the ingredients are ready, but chopping and prepping time can run a little long. You can easily either prep all the ingredients ahead of time and put together at the last minute, or even make the night before. The sauce on the peanut noodle salad does tend to thicken over time, but a little bit of warm water should loosen it up a bit.

Get the Peanut Noodle Salad recipe here.

Tofu, Shiitake and Spinach Summer Rolls
Sunset Magazine
Makes 6*

6-8 rice paper wrappers (8 in. diameter)
4 green onions, sliced
1 block of extra firm organic tofu
Fresh mint
Fresh cilantro
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms (I used frozen and it worked), sauteed in 1 T canola oil
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
Sesame oil
Canola or grapeseed oil 
2 cloves garlic
Soy sauce

For the tofu
Cut a 10 oz block of tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, then gently press dry between doubled paper towels. Whisk 2 T canola oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1 t each sesame oil and soy sauce in shallow bowl. Dip tofu slices to coat both sides. Heat 1 T canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat; cook tofu until crisp, 15 minutes. Let cool; slice lengthwise into thin strips.

For the rolls
Dip rice paper into water for 10-15 seconds until starting to soften. Place on plate and let sit another 10 seconds. Add spinach, tofu, mushrooms, little bit of each herb, and green onions on lower portion of rice paper. Carefully roll like a burrito, tight but be careful not to tear the paper. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Citrus Soy Dip
Sunset Magazine

Whisk 2 T reduced-sodium soy sauce with 1 T lemon or lime juice, 1 t toasted sesame oil, 1 T light brown sugar, and 1 t chili garlic sauce or 1 minced fresh Thai chile in a small bowl.

*It's VERY easy to increase the quantity--most packages of rice paper comes with way more sheets than you'll probably ever need. I made 8 of these rolls using about the same amount of filling as suggested.


  1. Yum! And I was looking for a noodly, peanutty dish for tomorrows heat wave. Thanks! and hi!

    1. Well, that's convenient! You can also use spaghetti noodles. I just tend to like pasta with a better bite.

  2. Ah, I can still taste those amazing noodles now! Thank you so much for going to all that effort Carmel, and making me feel so welcome on my trip. Meeting you face-to-face and finally getting to taste your amazing cooking after reading your blog for so long was a dream come true! Your culinary skills are amazing, as are you my dear xxx