Healthy Sesame Noodle Bistro Box

Every once in a while I like to post a savory recipe on here. The other day I was browsing the Starbucks website looking for nutrition facts when I came across this sesame noodle bistro box idea. I've never actually had a sesame noodle bistro box since I always use the drive-through if go to Starbucks, and I'm not the type of person to pay the high price for their food. Every once in a while I get a bakery item and a cafe americano, but I usually like to bring my coffee and smoothie or muffin from home. It's cheaper and healthier, and there's no waiting in line in the morning. That was the idea behind this bistro box. I've been trying to save money at the hospital by bringing my own lunch from home since hospital food can actually get pretty pricey if you're buying it on a regular enough basis. It's also usually fried or processed, and I hate to say it, but the greens and veggies on the salad bar can taste a little funky.

The first element of this is the cold sesame peanut soba noodles. They're cold so they can easily pack into a lunchbag with an ice pack. They're packed with fresh veggies like broccoli, red pepper, and sugar snap peas to add a little bulk and crunch. The peanut-sesame sauce alone would have been enough for me to put in a post. I ended up with leftovers and dipped everything from veggies to crackers in it. Yum!

The Starbucks version includes baked tofu with lime glaze which I made a homemade version of. Making homemade baked tofu is super simple, I can't believe I've never done it before. A lot of places actually sell baked tofu that's all ready to go, but I find making it to be just as good. And don't get me started on the sweet chili lime glaze. Wowzah! I'm gonna be making this and drizzling it on everything for a while. For serious.

Last, but not least, is a homemade cucumber salad. This is also super easy!!! Hypothetically, this is just about calorie free. I added nutrition info to the sesame noodles and baked tofu, but cucumber salad is a freebie. I'd pack a ton of it if I were you since it can really fill you up or make a great snack. It's spicy and vinegary, and if you're a fish sauce lover you could add a couple teaspoons of it to make it even tastier. Eat up!

Peanut-Sesame Sauce

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbl rice vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tbl sesame oil
1 tsp chili paste (or chili flakes)
1 tbl ginger, grated
1 medium garlic clove, grated

In a medium microwave-safe bowl add the peanut butter. Microwave in 15 second intervals until the peanut butter becomes softened slightly. Add the soy sauce and whisk to combine - it will seem to loosen at first but will then become very thick. Add the warm water and whisk again until the mixture becomes thick, creamy, and thinned out slightly. Add the rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, chili paste, ginger, and garlic. Whisk to combine. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. (Alternatively you can whiz everything in the blender, but I find it less of a hassle to use one bowl to whisk everything together.)

Cold Sesame Soba Noodles

10 ounce package buckwheat soba noodles
1 broccoli crown, chopped small
1 red pepper, 1/2" chop
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
1 recipe peanut-sesame sauce
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the buckwheat soba noodles and cook for about 4-5 minutes (depending on package instructions). Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Toss with the broccoli, red pepper, and sugar snap peas. Add as much peanut-sesame sauce as desired and toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to eat.

 Nutrition Facts - 6 servings - Per Serving:
  Calories - 370
  Total Fat - 17 g
  Total Carbohydrate - 47 g
     Dietary Fiber - 5 g
     Sugars - 4 g
  Protein - 12 g

Homemade Baked Tofu

1 package firm tofu
1 tbl canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt

Drain the tofu. Place the tofu on top of four our five thick paper towels with a thick kitchen towel placed underneath the paper towels. Place another four or five paper towels on top of the tofu. Cover with a plate and place one or two heavy cans on top of the plate. Let drain for 30 minutes. Replace the paper towels and drain for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Chop the tofu into 1/2" cubes. Toss evenly with the canola oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in an even layer on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool slightly before using.

Sweet Chili Lime Glaze

3 tbl sugar
3 tbl soy sauce
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 tsp chili paste (or flakes)

Mix all ingredients together. Heat in a saucepan until boiling, whisking constantly. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by half.

Sweet Chili Lime Glazed Tofu

1 recipe baked tofu
1 recipe sweet chili lime glaze, uncooked

Add the tofu and uncooked glaze to a skillet. Heat until the glaze begins to boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until reduced by half. Serve hot or chill and serve cold.

Nutrition Facts - 6 servings - Per Serving:
Calories - 80
  Total Carbohydrate - 7 g
     Dietary Fiber - 1 g
     Sugars - 4 g
  Protein - 9 g

Asian Cucumber Salad

1 english cucumber
2 carrots, julienned (optional)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tbl sugar
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tsp chili flakes
water (optional)

Peel the cucmber and slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Slice the cucumber thinly with a mandolin and place in a medium bowel. Add the carrots, if using, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and chili flakes and toss to combine. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to use. Alternately, place the cucumber salad in jars. Add water to come to the top, seal, and let marinate in the fridge for one day. Serve as pickles.

Source: Peanut-Sesame Sauce adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Sweet Chili Lime Glaze adapted from Vegan Yum Yum.

4 Response to Healthy Sesame Noodle Bistro Box

March 8, 2012 at 5:58 PM

This looks so wonderful and fun. My kids would love to eat with their food in all these little compartments. I love sesame and noodles together. YUM!

March 9, 2012 at 1:38 AM

Love the idea of sesame noodle bistro box! It's so pretty!

March 9, 2012 at 10:44 AM

ooh, I love all of these flavors, peanut sesame sauce, chili lime glaze, baked tofu, soba noodles. We lived in Japan and it was amazing how well we adapted to their food. We will eat a lot of Japanese food here in Texas because the Asian population here is huge.

March 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Mmm, lovely! Especially the cold soba sound to die for :)

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