When I first get a cookbook, I like to sit down with a giant pad of post-its, and mark every recipe that I want to make. While flipping through Appetite for Reduction, this was the first recipe that grabbed my attention and screamed, “Make me!”

You see, a good number of my close family friends are Vietnamese, and so I grew up eating some amazing Vietnamese food, but unable to cook it myself. I’m a sucker for pho and anything with lime or coconut, and rice noodles just make me giddy. When I looked over the ingredients for this salad, I knew I would have to make it.

I’m not a big fan of raw green beans, so I substituted those for bean sprouts, giving a more authentic taste. I also didn’t have any chili garlic sauce or Sriracha on hand, so I used a bottle of chili sweet sauce. Since I used leftover, already cooked rice noodles, I just drizzled the remaining marinade on top of the salad. I served everything on top of spinach and iceberg lettuce.

Well, the tofu came out amazing. I don’t have a grill, so I just pan fried them. I love the marinade, and it was just spicy enough to give a good kick, but not too spicy. The lime juice really brought it all together, as well as the mint. I thought the red onion was too overpowering, so next time I’ll definitely add less or slice them even thinner. Substituting in bean sprouts was a great idea since their fresh crunch really contrasted well with the marinated rice noodles.

This was a great dish, but next time I think I’ll add in some basil, reduce the red onion, and actually roast and chop up the peanuts with the mint.

But the tofu! Oh, it was gorgeous.

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