The month of December was pretty tough for my family. I haven’t opened up about it yet, but we found out that my grandfather was sick. He underwent a very serious surgery and his recovery was tough. Luckily, he made it through, was released on Christmas Day and now, he’s better than ever. Us Italians, we’re thick-skinned and strong willed!
While he was in the hospital on the Upper East Side, our family was in his recovery room every day. It was comforting to have everyone around, because it’s easy to worry yourself into a panic in those sorts of situations.
To get some fresh air, we went in shifts to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch, which was just a couple blocks away from the hospital. I had been to Le Pain Quotidien before, but only for a coffee or a delicious French pastry. Never for a meal.
If you’ve never been to a Le Pain, I really suggest you go – they’re even great for getting some work done, tucked away in a little nook. Actually, it’s named a “bakery and communal table.” Pretty cool.
What did I get? The Organic Tofu & Shaved Cabbage Salad with Miso-Ponzu Dressing. It was a tough choice, because that menu is incredible – there’s the Organic Lentil & Avocado Salad, the Prosciutto, Pear & Fig sandwich and of course, the Paris, Ham & Gruyere tartine. Talk about fomo!
Yep, you need to go to Le Pain.
The salad looks very unassuming at first bite, but the miso-ponzu dressing is unreal. It makes the salad absolutely delicious – the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Every time we went back there for lunch (even on Christmas Eve!), I got that salad.
Recently, I found a note in my phone that simply say “miso-pon noodles.”
To make a long story short, these noodles would have never happened without those lunches back in December. And today, I give you this recipe, which combines crunchy veggies, baked tofu and zucchini noodles to create the perfect cold noodle salad.
I probably drank a cup of this miso-ponzu dressing before I signed off on it for the recipe. It’s just perfect.
This noodle salad can be made in advance for lunch – the longer the noodles sit in the sauce, the more the zucchini absorbs the flavors of the miso-ponzu. Just place it in a container, put it in the fridge and shake it up before you eat.
Well, thanks for listening. I hope you love this salad as much as I do. And, you can learn more about my Pops here, if you’re interested. He’s the love of my life!
What’s your favorite cold noodle salad?
Miso-Ponzu Zucchini Noodles with Tofu & Veggies
- For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup ponzu sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1/2 tsp canola oil optional
- For the rest:
- cooking spray
- 2 cups cubed extra-firm tofu
- soy sauce to drizzle
- 4 zucchinis peeled, Blade C
- 1 large red bell peppers thinly sliced
- 1 carrot peeled and julienned
- 16 snow peas thinly sliced in thirds
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- cilantro leaves to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the cubed tofu in a bowl and pour soy sauce on top. Mix together and then lay out the cubes on a baking tray coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over and bake another 10 minutes. When done, take out and set aside.
- While the tofu is baking, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside. Then prepare all of your veggies. Throw all of the veggies and the zucchini noodles into a bowl and toss to combine along with the prepared sauce. When the tofu is ready, add in the tofu, toss to combine and serve in four bowls garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro leaves.
- If you aren't serving immediately, save in a container with garnishes and place in the refrigerator. It tastes best as a cold noodle salad!