These Protein Power Noodle Bowls are chock full of goodness: crispy baked tofu steaks, chickpeas, sweet and spicy sunflower seeds, vegetables, avocado, and an addictive tahini sauce tying it all together.SKIP TO RECIPE!
As much as I love travelling, there’s nothing like returning to familiar sights, sounds, faces, and routines. I just got back home after running a half-marathon in Toronto, and as much as I enjoyed a change of scenery and stepping outside of my comfort zone, it’s a relief to be reunited with my bed, my kitchen, my yoga mat, and a more relaxed pace. I’m not a big city girl, so being in downtown Toronto (Canada’s largest city) is quite overwhelming.
The one nice thing about being in a bigger city is that there are many more plant-based dining options there, and we enjoyed meals at Fresh, Virtuous Pie, and Earls (which now has a vegan menu!). Menu items of note include the Clubhouse Wrap, Adrenal Tonic, Ice Cream Sundae, and Superfood Hot Chocolate from Fresh, the Ultraviolet Pizza and Rocky Road Ice Cream from Virtuous Pie, and the Teriyaki Tofu Bowl from Earls.
It was also fun to walk around Evergreen Brickworks, Rosedale, Little Italy, and Trinity Bellwoods Park. Toronto definitely has character, and it really is a fun place to visit for a weekend in the big city. That being said, I am much more in my element in small to medium-sized cities. I feel like my cortisol has once again returned to normal levels now that I’m home.
The inspiration for these Protein Power Noodle Bowls initially came from a meal that I enjoyed at Fresh Restaurant the night before my first marathon in October. I took the idea and ran with it, and this recipe is the delicious result.
These bowls are made up of the following components:
-Crispy baked tofu steaks
-Sweet and spicy sunflower seeds
-Addictive lemon tahini sauce
They are packed with protein, fibre, healthy fat, and antioxidants, and make the perfect meal to fuel for a race or hard workout! You can also make them ahead of time as a meal prep for the week. Simply keep the lemon tahini sauce in a separate container and drizzle it on right before you eat.
The key to crispy tofu every time is tossing it in arrowroot, oil, and tamari before baking it. I didn’t come up with this idea- recipes are all over the internet. Since learning this trick, I’ve noticed my family and friends gobbling up tofu like never before!
Protein Power Noodle Bowls
Crispy Tofu Steaks
- 1 block (454 g) firm or extra-firm tofu
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch/powder
Lemon Tahini Sauce
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
Sweet and Spicy Sunflower Seeds
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and diced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped into matchsticks
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 medium tomato
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup stemmed cilantro, for garnish
- 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (1 14-oz can)
- 1 230 g box soba noodles
- Make the Crispy Tofu Steaks: Slice the tofu into 16 even triangles. Place in a medium bowl and add the olive oil, tamari, and arrowroot. Shake the bowl to evenly distribute, then lightly toss.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tofu triangles in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
- While the tofu is in the oven, make the Lemon Tahini Sauce: Place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to create a dressing-like consistency. Transfer to a container or jar and cover until ready to serve.
- Once the tofu is out of the oven, reduce oven temperature to 350°F and line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sunflower seeds in a medium bowl. In a small dish, whisk together the maple syrup, cayenne, salt, and melted coconut oil. Drizzle over the sunflower seeds and toss. Pour the sunflower seeds onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
- Next, cook the soba noodles according to the directions on the package while you chop the vegetables.
- To assemble the bowls, evenly divide the soba noodles between four bowls. To each bowl, add 4 triangles of tofu, a scant 1/3 cup of chickpeas, even amounts of the vegetables, 1/4 of the avocado, a couple of spoonfuls of the sunflower seeds, and a couple of generous spoonfuls of the lemon tahini sauce.
If you make this recipe and post it to Instagram, make sure to tag @upbeet.kitchen and #upbeetkitchen so I can see!