This sesame tofu and eggplant recipe makes a wonderful light lunch, and is surprisingly vegan. The eggplant is julienned then tossed with a spicy Asian style marinade before it’s cooked down into soft noodles. The tofu slices are crusted with sesame seeds then pan seared and caramelized with soy sauce.
I love these eggplant noodles because the spongy texture allows them to soak up all of the flavors. I love zucchini noodles too, but sometimes it’s nice to use something that’s a little more like actual pasta. The best part – no special equipment needed! In my area we are having a produce shortage and I haven’t seen decent zucchini in months, so I’m glad to discover that eggplant works just as well – if not a little better.
If you’ve never cooked with tofu before then keep in mind that the firmness of tofu will matter for the recipe. I used organic firm tofu, because soft or silky would fall apart too easily. If you can find extra-firm then that would work great too.
If you hate cilantro, or don’t like spice, then feel free to leave those ingredients out.
The recipe has two components, so it will take a little time to prepare but is still relatively fast. I included instructions for keeping your noodles warm in the oven while you fry up the tofu slices. If you plan on eating a serving and saving the rest for later, then you can skip this step.
Yields 4 servings of Vegan Sesame Tofu & Eggplant
- 1 pound firm tofu, block
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, ~31g
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons Swerve confectioners
- 1 whole eggplant, ~458g
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup soy sauce
1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Remove the block of tofu from it’s packaging and wrap with some paper towels. Place a plate on top of it and weigh it down. I used a really large tin of vegetables in this picture, but you can use anything handy. Let the tofu sit for a while to press some of the water out.
2. Place about ¼ cup of cilantro, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and Swerve into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together.
3. Peel and julienne the eggplant. You can julienne roughly by hand like I did, or use a mandolin with a julienne attachment for more precise “noodles.” Mix the eggplant with the marinade.
4. Add the tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the eggplant until it softens. The eggplant will soak up all of the liquids, so if you have issues with it sticking to the pan, feel free to add a little bit more sesame or olive oil. Just be sure to adjust your nutrition tracking.
5. Turn the oven off. Stir the remaining cilantro into the eggplant then transfer the noodles to an oven safe dish. Cover with a lid, or foil, and place into the oven to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet and return to the stovetop to heat up again.
6. Unwrap the tofu then cut into 8 slices. Spread the sesame seeds on a plate. Press both sides of each piece of tofu into the seeds.
7. Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the skillet. Fry both sides of the tofu for 5 minutes each, or until they start to crisp up. Pour the ¼ cup of soy sauce into the pan and coat the pieces of tofu. Cook until the tofu slices look browned and caramelized with the soy sauce.
8. Remove the noodles from the oven and plate the tofu on top.
This makes a total of 4 servings of Vegan Sesame Tofu & Eggplant. Each serving comes out to be 292.75 Calories, 24.45g Fats, 6.87g Net Carbs, and 11.21g Protein.
|Vegan Sesame Tofu & Eggplant||Calories||Fats(g)||Carbs(g)||Fiber(g)||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)|
|1 pound block firm tofu||253||13.51||9.23||2.9||6.33||29.29|
|1 cup (31g) chopped cilantro||7||0.17||1.17||0.9||0.27||0.68|
|3 tablespoons rice vinegar||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil||480||56||0||0||0||0|
|2 cloves garlic, finely minced||9||0.03||1.98||0.1||1.88||0.38|
|1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1 whole (458 g) eggplant||114||0.82||26.93||13.7||13.23||4.49|
|2 teaspoons Swerve confectioners||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1 tablespoon olive oil||119||13.5||0||0||0||0|
|¼ cup sesame seeds||155||13.41||6.33||3.2||3.13||4.79|
|¼ cup soy sauce||34||0.36||3.14||0.5||2.64||5.19|