What's For Dinner: Cilantro Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Cilantro is definitely a "love it" or "hate it" kind of flavor. I stand firmly in the "love it" category. But, while I think it tastes delicious, those who align themselves on the "hate it" side of things often think it tastes like soap. Recent research indicates that your genetics has a lot to do with your predisposition to love or hate cilantro. (In fact, I wrote an article about this research for my day job.)

All that to say, if you don't like cilantro, this recipe is not for you. But if you do like cilantro, oh man, is this noodle dish delicious. I love the cilantro dressing so much, I would totally whip up a separate serving just to drizzle all over salads, freshly sliced bread ... you get the idea.

Cilantro Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu (printer-friendly version)
makes 4-6 servings

8 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 3 cups broccoli florets
zest of one lemon
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 package extra-firm tofu

1. Drain the tofu and cut it into 1" cubes. Place the cubes on a towel and cover them with the towel's free ends. Place a heavy book or weight on top of the cubes to press the excess moisture out of the tofu. (Press the tofu for at least 20 minutes.)
2. Spray or wipe a large saute pan with a light coating of olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add about half the tofu cubes. Brown on each side (about 1-2 minutes per side). Repeat with the remaining cubes. Remove from the heat. Place the cooked tofu cubes in an oven-safe dish in a warming drawer or in an oven set to 200 degrees to keep warm.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. About 2 minutes before the cooking time is complete, add the broccoli florets.
4. Drain the noodles and broccoli. Place into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Set aside.
5. While the noodles are cooking, make the dressing. In the bowl of a food processor, combine together the cilantro, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, salt, and olive oil. Process until well-combined. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
6. Add the cilantro dressing to the bowl with the noodles and broccoli and gently toss to combine. Add in the tofu cubes and gently toss again. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

(adapted from this 101 Cookbooks recipe)