This Honey Tofu Pad Thai is a wonderful vegan meal. The noodles are marinated in toasted sesame oil and tossed with various vegetables, while the tofu is marinated in MORE sesame oil, honey and a bit of ginger for that salty sweetness everyone craves!
Let’s talk about cafeteria food. Specifically, college cafeteria food. Ok, ok dining hall food. If you went away to college then you definitely know what I’m talking about. If you commuted from home and continued to eat your mom’s home cooking, then stay out of this.
I recall touring various college campuses before my senior year of high school. During ever tour when the tour guides would talk about the food, they would always made it sound so good! So cool! So different and unique! I suppose that’s their job, huh? I was a college campus tour guide after all so.. I would know. The one college I toured—Ashland University—was said to have the BEST dining halls among schools its size. Of course I didn’t decide on Ashland and instead decided on Point Park. I am not here to bash Point Park as it holds a special place in my heart, but I am here to talk about the food options for freshmen.
First of all, it doesn’t help that most college students who decide to dorm their freshman year go from having home cooked meals to college campus food. That in itself makes it difficult to adjust. Larger college campuses have serval food options—they kind of have to—but smaller colleges, well, not so much. Point Park has two on campus dining options: the dining hall and the cafe. I’m not going to hate on the cafe and, as I’m typing this I’m really unsure if I feel like bashing the dining hall either even though I think that’s where this was going.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s a small college and there’s no need for a ton of food options because there aren’t that many students. Period, the end. Where I was attempting to go with all of this is to tell you about the first time I tried tofu. Or should I say, the first time I tried tofu in the dining hall. Yes, for the third time, I tried tofu for the first time in a college dining hall. Probably not the best idea but I was 18 and didn’t know any better. I’ve since forgiven myself. The only thing I really remember is thinking it was squishy. Perhaps is was the firm tofu rather than the extra firm tofu (which I can’t deal with even to this day), which would make complete sense. Either way, the squishiness turned me off from tofu for a very.long.time.
As a meat eater, I sometimes forget about tofu. My brother rants and raves about tofurkey the way I rant and rave about chicken sausage though, so I am constantly reminded of its existence. Sometime around last year I came around to trying tofu again and, as one would think, the extra firm tofu is anything but squishy and really, really delicious when marinated correctly. Like, with honey and toasted sesame oil, for example. The sesame oil compliments the veggies and adds flavor to the pad thai noodles while the honey adds a bit of sweetness to the entire dish.
All I gotta say is, I’m officially on board with tofu (thank goodness).
Honey Tofu Pad ThaiPrint Pin Rate
- 15 oz extra firm tofu
- 8 oz pad thai noodles
- 3 carrot sticks
- 3 leeks
- 1 leek
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Honey and sesame seeds for topping
- Prep tofu by draining it and cutting it into rectangular slices. Lay tofu out flat on a baking sheet and place a towel overtop. Place a thick pot or pan overtop of the towel, allowing the towel to soak up any extra moisture from the tofu. Leave the pan like so for 30 minutes.
- While that is happening, cook noodles in a pot over water over stovetop until soft.
- Use a vegetable peeler to slice the carrots length ways into long strips and set aside; Chop up leeks into bite-size pieces.
- Drain noodles and combine noodles, carrots, leeks, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp honey, and ginger into a large pan and stir; simmer on low.
- For the tofu, place in a large skillet with 1 tbsp sesame oil, toasted sesame oil and 1 tbsp honey. Cook on both sides until tofu is completely marinated; feel free to add extra toasted sesame oil if tofu doesn't seem to be marinated enough.
- Serve tofu overtop of noodles and drizzle with extra honey, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.
Q: Are you a tofu fan? How was your college dining experience?
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