Spring, Summer, Light Meals, Salads

Salt & Pepper Tofu & Crunchy Green Noodle Salad

This salad is so scrumptious, with its tantalising combination of aromatic fennel, cucumber ribbons, fresh herbs, soft rice noodles and crispy salt and pepper tofu, all topped off with a tangy Asian dressing and the crunch of toasted coconut flakes and cashew nuts.

Although there are quite a few ingredients here, it takes no time at all to whip together, is completely gluten free, and there's barely any cooking involved. I recommend using a mandolin to slice the fennel and cucumber as thinly as possible, if you have one – otherwise you can use a peeler or sharp knife.

Feel free to change the salad ingredients as you wish, or to whatever you happen to have in your cupboard. You might also want to swap the cashews for peanuts or almonds, or omit them altogether if you have a nut allergy.

But honestly? I love this balance of ingredients exactly as it is. It really is an absolute winner, and I have a feeling it will be made on repeat in my kitchen for some time to come.



For the salad

200g dried rice noodles

1 bulb fennel, sliced as thinly as possible

½ cucumber, sliced into ribbons

4 spring onions, finely sliced

100g green beans

½ large red chilli, sliced

Small bunch of dill, roughly chopped

Small handful fresh mint leaves

Juice of ½ lime

1 tsp sesame oil

For the dressing

½ cup sweet chilli sauce

½ cup tamari sauce

2 tbsps sesame oil

Juice of 3 limes

For the salt and pepper tofu

280g block of extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 heaped tbsp cornflour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

100ml light oil, such as groundnut

To serve

75g toasted cashew nuts

¼ cup toasted coconut flakes

1 red chilli, sliced

1 lime, quartered


  1. Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain, rinse under a cold tap, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the fennel, cucumber, spring onions, green beans, chilli, dill and mint leaves in a large bowl. Add the lime juice and sesame oil, gently toss everything together, and set aside.
  3. Whisk together your dressing ingredients and set aside.
  4. Add the tofu to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the cornflour, salt and pepper. Add the flour mix to the tofu, and toss to coat evenly.
  5. When you're ready to serve, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the tofu in batches, cooking on each side for 2 to 3 mins before turning. The tofu should crisp up quickly, but try not to let it burn.
  6. When each batch is ready, remove the tofu from the pan using a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen towel.
  7. Divide the rice noodles and salad between four plates, and top with a few pieces of crispy tofu, a sprinkling of toasted cashew nuts, coconut flakes and sliced chillis, and a drizzling of your dressing. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

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