I really like the word umami. It’s my go to word for when a dish comes together just right, a serendipitous melding of flavors texture and taste. This may be wholly incorrect but it’s the Sandhya definition of umami and I’m sticking with it. This dish is the definition of umami. It’s rich in flavour; salty and sweet coconut aminos, sharp and tangy rice vinegar, smooth and sweet maple syrup and spicy sriracha. The textures are multilayered; chewy and elastic rice noodles, crunchy carrots and cucumber, smooth and creamy avocado, topped with crispy tofu. And the taste? Well it’s delicious.
This is where a spiralizer comes in handy. The girls love watching it at work making ridiculously long coils of carrot and cucumber noodles. And they munch away at whatever remnants are leftover, bonus!
If you haven’ heard of coconut aminos I highly recommend it as a soy sauce replacement. We can’t get enough of the stuff, it’s milder and less salty than soy sauce but has a hint of sweetness at the end. The ingredient list is simple, aged coconut sap blended with mineral rich sea salt. Coconut aminos are good for you too with less sodium than soy sauce and a remarkable amino acid content.
This is a very versatile recipe; throw in whatever vegetables you have around like peppers, cabbage or celery. The trick to any of these ingredients is to cut them very long and thin, you want to mimic the shape of the rice noodle.
You will have leftover sauce that could be used as dressing, a dip for dumplings or gyoza or a marinade. This is a family favorite at our house, hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- ½ to ¾ of a pack of medium width rice noodles - Y&Y brand 5mm width is my favored brand
- 4 carrots - peeled
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cups spinach
- 4 green onions
- 1-2 ripe avocado
- 1 cup coconut aminos
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sriracha sauce (to taste)
- 1 pack firm tofu
- 1 tbsp oil - neutral tasting
- sesame seeds to garnish
- To make dressing mix coconut aminos, sesame oil, maple syrup and rice vinegar and sriracha sauce. Whisk until combined.
- Using a sprializer prepare carrots and cucumber into noodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a peeler to create thin julienned strips instead. Place in salad bowl.
- Chop green onions and spinach and add to bowl.
- Cook rice noodles according to instructions on the package. Taste frequently to ensure the noodles don’t get overcooked. They are done when still slightly firm and chewy. Rinse noodles in cold water thoroughly until you can feel that most of the starch has been removed. This step is very important as it prevents the noodles from clumping together.
- Add rinsed noodles to the salad bowl.
- Add dressing ½ a cup at a time to noodles and vegetables. Taste and add more dressing as needed.
- Cube avocado and add to salad. Stir it in gently.
- To make crispy tofu cube firm tofu and add to a very hot non-stick pan on medium high heat with 1 tbsp oil. Stir when tofu starts to get golden brown. Watch so to ensure the tofu doesn’t burn.
- Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature.
-To make this a kid friendly recipe omit the sriracha sauce from the dressing and add it to individual bowls as desired.
-If you would like to eliminate the tofu from the recipe add toasted cashews or hemp hearts instead.