Summer Sights & Tahini-Lime Noodle Salad

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For some reason it doesn’t really feel like summer.  I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but I have a feeling it’s because  “summer” usually feels like a break to me – a time to catch my breath and recharge for the school year.

But, now that I’ve graduated, this is pretty much the start of the real world, not a vacation.  I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, but this summer seems to mark the end, rather than the start of a break.  Case in point – my roommate moved out this week, and I’m only just now realized how huge my apartment feels without all his stuff and furniture.

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That space used to hold a TV / entertainment stand where the crap on the floor is, a big table in front of the couch, and a kitchen island right up against the couch.  Now so much glorious floor space!

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And still this is all I’ve got of a kitchen.  Win some, lose some!  I’m moving soon anyway, and I’m hoping for a little more kitchen space.

I did, however get a chance to stop by the Union Square farmers market and check out some of the bounty this season has to offer.

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Gorgeous strawberries, first of the season – unfortunately they were kind of tasteless.  Better luck next time?

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Radishes.  So pretty, so tasty!  Check out that bright pink!

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A bite of Vermont maple candy (YUM!).  Basically pure sugar.  I’m not entirely sure how one can eat more than a bite of this stuff, it’s so sweet.

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Pretty flowers – which I can’t really justify spending money on, but often wish I could!

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The bounty.  I walked out with a super-dense loaf of sourdough rye (that was good, but not fantastic), deliciously crunchy and spicy white radishes, and local herb goat cheese.  The cheese was clearly the star of the show.

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And was immediately schmeared on the bread upon returning home from the market.

And, now that it’s summer, I’ve been inspired to get a bit more creative in the kitchen here and there.  I wish I could say this was a regular occurrence, but I’m not going to lie.  Even if I have time to cook, I still eat eggs for dinner. No shame.

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But, on one fateful day, I happened upon all these elements for this noodle salad, and things just seemed to come together with little effort on my part.

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Mung bean starch noodles – you’ll often see them on the menu at Thai restaurants as glass noodles.  There’s only one ingredient in them. Mung bean starch!  So they’re naturally gluten-free.  They come dehydrated, so all you have to do is pour boiling water over then for a few minutes to “cook” them.

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Sautéed mushrooms.  I’m all about mushrooms lately – gotta get that vitamin D!

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Creamy tahini-lime dressing.  I don’t know how to photograph sauce.

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Smoky maple baked tofu.  This worked SO well!

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Fresh cilantro – for the cilantro-haters out there, mint could easily take its place.  But never leave out the fresh herbs!

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Put it all together (the noodles are under all the other stuff I swear!).

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Mix it up, and enjoy!

Tahini-Lime Glass Noodle Salad (vegan, gluten free)

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Makes: 2-4 servings

Tahini-Lime Glass Noodle Salad (vegan, gluten free)

This light and refreshing noodle salad makes a perfect summer lunch, appetizer, or light dinner. It's the perfect combination of sweet, savory, salty, smoky and spicy - and best of all, it's naturally vegan and gluten free!


    For the Sauce:
  • 3 T tahini
  • juice of 1/2 to a whole lime
  • 1 T tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 T honey or agave
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • For the Tofu:
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, liquid pressed out
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T tamari / soy sauce
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • For the Noodle Salad:
  • 1 package mung bean starch noodles
  • 1-2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • oil for cooking
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro or mint
  • smokey maple-baked tofu, cut into small pieces
  • tahini-lime sauce


    For the Tofu:
  1. Once most of the liquid is pressed out of the tofu, cut into slices about 1cm thick. Lay the slices on a greased baking sheet.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the marinade. Brush over both sides of the tofu slices, and let it sit for a few minutes to soak in.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
  4. For the Noodle salad:
  5. Boil some water, pour over the dry mung bean starch noodles. Cover, and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the noodles, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  7. Heat some oil on a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms, cook for about 5 minutes - stirring frequently - until mushrooms are tender. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce, and set aside.
  9. Once all everything has cooled a bit, toss together in a mixing bowl. You may want to cut the noodles, the ingredients mix better this way.
  10. Serve and enjoy, or refrigerate and serve chilled!


Feel free to use any soy sauce alternative here - Bragg's, tamari, nama shoyu, coconut aminos, whatever floats your boat. I used honey in the sauce, so my version was not entirely vegan, but I'm confident it would be delicious with agave. If you don't want to bake your own tofu, there are many pre-made packaged baked tofu products that would work very nicely in this recipe. As far as the noodles go, I buy my in the Asian specialty market, but I know you can get them at Whole Foods and many other grocery stores in the Asian section.

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I ate this for lunch the next day, and the day after.  I have to say, I was rather impressed with myself for dreaming up this recipe on the fly!  Hope you enjoy.

What makes a characteristic summer for you?

Have you ever tried glass noodles? They’re one of my favorite options at Thai restaurants, and now at home!

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