Cold Pasta Salad With Broccoli

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If you love peanut sauce but don’t eat peanuts, this is the recipe for you. Creamy, satisfying and not too spicy, this noodle dish is vegetarian family fare at it’s best.


Cold Pasta Salad With Broccoli


  • 2 (14-ounce) blocks of extra firm tofu, pressed overnight*
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or gluten free soy sauce
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves, green germ and hard bottoms removed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (27 grams) palm or light brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons peeled, grated ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Sesame Sauce

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¾ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar of red curry paste, we prefer Thai Kitchen
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) palm or light brown sugar
  • 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek, optional
  • ½ teaspoon tamarind paste


  • 1 (16-ounce) package rice noodles, thin long Thai preferred
  • 4 cups (285 grams) broccoli florets cut in bite-size pieces


Marinate the tofu:

  1. Slice the tofu in ½-inch thick pieces. Place carefully in a large plastic bag or a non-reactive casserole dish.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, until fragrant and the sugar is completely dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes or until lukewarm (you don’t want it to melt the plastic bag).
  4. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Make the sesame sauce:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.

Reconstitute the noodles:

  1. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour very hot or boiling water over to cover completely.
  2. Let stand until noodles are very soft, pliable and edible, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain.
  4. Steam the broccoli in the microwave or in steamer until crisp tender.

Grill the tofu:

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Using a napkin and tongs, rub the grates liberally with canola oil. Place the tofu on the hot grates and cook until grill marks appear on both sides and tofu is heated through, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, cut the tofu in ½-inch dice.

To serve:

  1. Toss the noodles and broccoli in a large serving bowl. Scatter the tofu over the noodles.
  2. Pour the sauce over the top.
  3. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Kitchen Tips

*Pressing firm or extra-firm tofu is an important step. It will help the tofu absorb more of the marinade, and prevent the pieces from crumbling through the grill grates.

To press tofu:

  1. Remove from box and rinse under cold water.
  2. Place tofu on a rimmed plate or baking dish lined with 3 or 4 paper towels. Place 3 or 4 paper towels on top on the tofu and place another plate or heavy stable flat object on top.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Plenty of liquid will come out. Do not press soft tofu as it will turn to mush.

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