This simple stir-fry is like a vegan version of orange chicken served over a delicious bed of zoodles. This delicious zucchini noodles recipe is wholesome, faster than takeout! Recipe reprinted with permission from Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook by Maria Lichty (Grand Central Publishing, 2019).
2 tablespoonsvegetable or canola oilplus more if needed
2teaspoonsgrated fresh ginger
1teaspoongrated orange zest
1/4teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes
1teaspoontoasted sesame oil
4smallzucchinispiralized, or 4 cups store-bought zucchini noodles
4scallions(white and green parts) thinly sliced, for garnish
sesame seedsfor garnish
Make the Tofu
To get your tofu nice and crispy, drain it first: wrap the tofu block in paper towels and set on a plate. Place a heavy object on top of the tofu to press it down (for example, a large skillet with a few cans or books on top). Let the tofu sit for 15-20 minutes so the excess water can drain. Unwrap the paper towels and cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
Transfer the tofu cubes to a large bowl or zip-top bag. Add the soy sauce and gently mix until the tofu is well coated. Add the cornstarch and gently toss to coat the tofu. It will get pasty, and that is okay. Set aside.
Make the Sauce
In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
Make the Stir-Fry
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches so you don't crowd the pan, add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until browned and crispy. Transfer the cooked tofu to a plate or bowl. If you need to add more oil in between batches, you can.
When all the tofu has been cooked, add the garlic, ginger, orange zest, and pepper flakes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Return all of the tofu to the pan and slowly pour in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat.
Make the Noodles
In a second large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 1 minute, tossing with tongs so all of the zucchini noodles soften slightly. Don't overcook them; they'll get mushy.
Divide the zucchini noodles among four plates and top with the tofu, sliced scallions, and sesame seeds.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook by Maria Lichty (Grand Central Publishing, 2019).