Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com
Dairy Free, Dinner, Food, Gluten Free, Paleo

CARROT CASHEW ZOODLES WITH CRISPY SESAME TOFU

Did you know I have dinner with my college girlfriends (almost) every week? We’ve been doing it since 2008 — so over the years, we’ve shared a lot of meals together. At our last girl dinner, we were chatting about what each of our signature dishes are — I was curious about what they’d say my signature dish was, because I strive to keep things fresh in my kitchen! The answer was ‘something fresh and Asian-inspired, or a make-your-own entrée salad’. And fair enough! Those are my favourite things to eat (and to serve when I’m entertaining). You’ll find lots of those recipes here on the blog!

So, I decided to turn one of my ‘signature dishes’ on its head and use new ingredients in new ways. I revisited tofu, which I’ve marinated with savoury, sesame flavours and finished with a golden crisp. I made the creamiest Asian-inspired sauce with no peanut butter in sight (hint: the secret ingredient is cooked carrots)! It was also my first time making zoodles (spiralized zucchini ‘noodles’) and I’ll chat more about it in this post. My Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu is an ultra-light, ultra-fresh spring stirfry brimming with clean, plant-based protein. Cheers to stepping outside of your comfort zone in the kitchen!


Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

Just look at all those veggies! If you’re craving something fresh, colourful and satisfying, you’ll love my Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu. I’ve been experimenting a lot with cooked carrots lately in smoothies and sauces, and the Creamy Carrot Sauce in this recipe is to die for! It’s smooth and decadent, and takes on Asian-inspired flavours so well. Paired with a veggie stir-fry atop a bed of zoodles, sprinkled with Crispy Sesame Tofu and toasted cashews, this is a perfectly balanced dish — which is one of my favourite things about Asian flavour profiles! There’s a healthy mix of freshness, acidity, sweetness and spice, with a touch of richness here. This stir-fry makes a beautiful, light spring dinner — and it pairs so well with a crisp white or dry rosé (especially on a patio with a few friends)! Bring on spring!

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

There are a lot of steps for this dish, but you only need one skillet for cooking. Personally, my skillet of choice is cast iron! It’s ancient and belonged to my father (who’s no longer with us). My Mom gifted it to me a few years ago because she didn’t use it — and now I couldn’t live without it! He used it almost daily and even packed it for camping trips. I have such vivid memories of him cooking all kinds of things in there over a roaring campfire. And her never cleaned it with soap. When I was younger I thought that was strange, but now I totally understand why! Over all these years it’s become perfectly seasoned, and it’s one of the most treasured items in my kitchen. Did you know cooking with cast iron also infuses natural iron into your food? It’s true — and it’s great way for plant based eaters to add more iron to their diets without supplements. My blogging chum Dana over at Killing Thyme recently wrote a super helpful (and hilariously written) post about caring for your cast iron — hop over there if you’re looking for more information or tips!

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

This dish comes together pretty quickly however, because the vegetables only take a few minutes to cook through. I’ve divided the recipe up into sections to make it easier to navigate, or you can scroll down towards the bottom of the post for a printable version! I promise it’s an easy dish to make, just with a few more steps (and ingredients) than usual. If you’re looking for a vegan option, just find a good substitute for the fish sauce (which I personally haven’t, so please share if you know of one!).

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


CARROT CASHEW ZOODLES WITH CRISPY SESAME TOFU


Serves 4 – 6

Start by marinating your tofu. If you’re just starting dinner and you only have the time to marinate the tofu that it takes you to prepare everything else, that’s okay — but the more time it can marinate, the better. If you’re planning ahead, prepare the tofu marinade the night before, or the morning you’ll make the recipe.


CRISPY SESAME TOFU


Ingredients

• Two 350g packages extra firm tofu
• 2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 2 tbsp sesame oil
• Juice from 2 limes
• 2 tbsp grated ginger
• 2 cloves grated garlic
• 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

1. Remove the tofu from the package and place it between 2 sheets of paper towel. Pushing down with your hands, squeeze the excess liquid out from the tofu blocks.
2. Slice the tofu into 1″ cubes.
3. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and wisk together.
4. Add the tofu pieces and toss until thoroughly coated with the marinade.
5. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook, up to 24 hours.
6. When ready to cook, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a skillet.
7. Drain any excess tofu marinade into a separate bowl. Reserve for later.
8. Toss the tofu pieces in 3 tbsp of cornstarch, until fully covered.
9. Add the tofu pieces to the skillet, cooking for up to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
10. Transfer to bowl with the remaining marinade, toss and set aside.

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


TOASTED CASHEWS & SESAME SEEDS


Ingredients

• 3/4 cup cashews
• 1/4 cup sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

1. Wipe down skillet and heat 1 tbsp coconut oil.
2. Add cashews and sesame seeds, stirring constantly until slightly toasted.
3. Set aside.

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

Spiralize 3 zuchinnis and set aside.

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


CREAMY CARROT SAUCE


Ingredients

• 3 carrots
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 tbsp sesame oil
• Juice from 1 lime
• 1/2 tbsp Sriracha
• 1/2 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tbsp shallot
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Chop carrots and add to a microwave safe dish.
2. Cover with 1/4 cup water.
3. Microwave for 4 minutes.
4. Add cooked carrots and water to your Vitamix (or similar), along with the rest of the ingredients.
5. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.comCarrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


VEGGIE STIRFRY


Ingredients

• 2 carrots
• 3 celery stalks
• 1 package snap peas
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• 1 small head of brocolli

Directions

1. Wipe down skillet and heat 1 tbsp coconut oil on high heat.
2. Add veggies, and sauté until slightly softened but crisp — about 3 minutes.
3. Set aside.

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.comCarrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

Now it’s time to combine it all!

Directions

1. First, grab the bowl of zoodles, and add the stir fried veggies while they’re still hot.
2. Add the Creamy Carrot Sauce to the bowl, and toss to combine.
3. Plate the zoodle mixture.
4.
Top each plate (or the serving platter) with the Crispy Sesame Tofu and a sprinkling the toasted nuts.
5. Chop cilantro and garnish.
6.
Cut lime wedges to serve with each plate (or the platter).
7. Voila! Serve immediately and enjoy. 


CARROT CASHEW ZOODLES WITH CRISPY SESAME TOFU
Serves 4
My Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu is an ultra-light, ultra-fresh spring stirfry brimming with clean, plant-based protein. I revisited tofu, which I've marinated with savoury, sesame flavours and finished with a golden crisp. I made the creamiest, Asian-inspired sauce with no peanut butter in sight (hint: the secret ingredient is cooked carrots)! It was also my first time making zoodles (spiralized zucchini 'noodles') and I'll chat more about it in this post.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
45 min
CRISPY SESAME TOFU
  1. • Two 350g packages extra firm tofu
  2. • 2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  3. • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  4. • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  5. • Juice from 2 limes
  6. • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  7. • 2 cloves grated garlic
  8. • 1 tbsp coconut oil
TOASTED CASHEWS & SESAME SEEDS
  1. • 3/4 cup cashews
  2. • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  3. • 1 tbsp coconut oil
ZOODLES
  1. • 3 zucchinis, spiralized
CREAMY CARROT SAUCE
  1. • 3 carrots
  2. • 1/4 cup water
  3. • 2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  4. • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  5. • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  6. • Juice from 1 lime
  7. • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha
  8. • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  9. • 1/2 tbsp shallot
  10. • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
VEGGIE STIRFRY
  1. • 2 carrots
  2. • 3 celery stalks
  3. • 1 package snap peas
  4. • 1 red pepper
  5. • 1 yellow pepper
  6. • 1 small head of brocolli
GARNISH
  1. • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
CRISPY SESAME TOFU
  1. Start by marinating your tofu. If you're just starting dinner and you only have the time to marinate the tofu that it takes you to prepare everything else, that's okay -- but the more time it can marinate, the better. If you're planning ahead, prepare the tofu marinade the night before, or the morning you'll make the recipe.
  2. Remove the tofu from the package and place it between 2 sheets of paper towel. Pushing down with your hands, squeeze the excess liquid out from the tofu blocks.
  3. Slice the tofu into 1" cubes.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and wisk together.
  5. Add the tofu pieces and toss until thoroughly coated with the marinade.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to cook, up to 24 hours.
  7. When ready to cook, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a skillet.
  8. Drain any excess tofu marinade into a separate bowl. Reserve for later.
  9. Toss the tofu pieces in 3 tbsp of cornstarch, until fully covered.
  10. Add the tofu pieces to the skillet, cooking for up to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  11. Transfer to bowl with the remaining marinade, toss and set aside.
TOASTED CASHEWS & SESAME SEEDS
  1. Wipe down skillet and heat 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  2. Add cashews and sesame seeds, stirring constantly until slightly toasted.
  3. Set aside.
ZOODLES
  1. Spiralize 3 zuchinnis and set aside.
CREAMY CARROT SAUCE
  1. Chop carrots and add to a microwave safe dish.
  2. Cover with 1/4 cup water.
  3. Microwave for 4 minutes.
  4. Add cooked carrots and water to your Vitamix (or similar), along with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Blend until smooth and set aside.
VEGGIE STIRFRY
  1. Wipe down skillet and heat 1 tbsp coconut oil on high heat.
  2. Add veggies, and sauté until slightly softened but crisp -- about 3 minutes.
  3. Set aside.
Now, it's time to combine it all!
  1. First, grab the bowl of zoodles, and add the stir fried veggies while they're still hot.
  2. Add the Creamy Carrot Sauce to the bowl, and toss to combine.
  3. Plate the zoodle mixture.
  4. Top each plate (or the serving platter) with the Crispy Sesame Tofu and a sprinkling the toasted nuts.
  5. Chop cilantro and garnish.
  6. Cut lime wedges to serve with each plate (or the platter).
  7. Voila! Serve immediately and enjoy.
Notes
  1. If you're looking for a vegan option, just find a good substitute for the fish sauce (which I personally haven't, so please share if you know of one!).
JustineCelina https://justinecelina.com/
Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

I’m often asked where I source kitchen things or props, so I’ll start including links to them if I can find them! First, I’ve been loving this Santoku Knife from Sabatier. It’s super light, easy to handle and it’s razor sharp. It makes recipes that require a lot of chopping a breeze! I’ve also been lusting after the entire Artisanal Dinnerware Collection from Chapters Indigo for so long that I’ve decided to start picking up a few pieces each time I visit the store (which is pretty often — it’s one of my favorite places to shop for kitchen / entertaining things and home decor!). I love the warm, imperfect, natural look of this handmade dinnerware. It is expensive, but I totally think great dinnerware is worth the investment. The linen napkins are also from Chapters Indigo, and I use them all the time. 


Santoku Knife c/o Sabatier | Artisanal Dinnerware Collection | Classic Linen Napkins


Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com

I found the spiralizer I used for the zoodles at Superstore on Tuesday for $14 (on sale) and it works really well. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a link, but it comes with 3 attachments. The attachment I used for this recipe makes spiralized noodles, but you can also make straight, flat noodles and use it to slice long veggies, too. I’m excited to experiment with it!

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


STILL HUNGRY? MORE FRESH, ASIAN-INSPIRED DISHES OR ENTREE SALADS (HA!)


Tangled Thai Salad with Ginger Peanut Sauce

Pomegranate Hibiscus Salmon Salad

New Year Detox Salad with Pink Tahini Dressing

Vegan Southwest Quinoa Bowls

Crudité-Style Niçoise Salad

Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu // JustineCelina.com


What’s your comfort zone in the kitchen? I think the dishes that people default to making are so interesting. I’d love to hear what yours are (and feel free to drop me a link or the recipe)! If you try my Carrot Cashew Zoodles with Crispy Sesame Tofu, let me know — I love it when you guys make my recipes and give me your feedback! You can tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, or use the hashtag #justinecelinarecipes in your recreations so I can find them! I also have a board on Pinterest for my recipes, if you’re looking for some more inspiration.


Thank you to Brit + Co and The Feed Feed for featuring this recipe.


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Your purchases help to support JustineCelina.com!

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20 Comments

  • Reply Dana March 10, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    This looks absolutely scrumptious. The photos are stunning and I just want to dive right in. Asian inspired dishes are my favest faves!

    Thanks for the nod and the link back! So happy you’re enjoying your cast iron skillet, and even more so, I love that it means something to you having been your late father’s. Mine belonged to my late grandmother, and it’s just so sentimental to me.

    Cast iron club forever! o/

    • Reply Justine March 10, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Aww, thanks for the comment, Dana. When I was younger I never would have imagined I’d care so much about a cast iron skillet, but it really is so special to me. I’m always happy to link up to fellow bloggers who’re doing awesome work, and I learned so much from your post. Thanks for the Facebook share, and for the love! 🙂

  • Reply Mel | The Refreshanista March 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    This looks delicious! I love the sound of all those flavours. Genius to make a carrot-based sauce! Yum!

    • Reply Justine March 11, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Hey thanks, Mel! I have to say that it’s pretty tasty. 🙂 The idea for the sauce was actually inspired by a smoothie recipe of mine, where I use cooked sweet potato to make it creamy.

  • Reply Samantha My Kitchen Love March 11, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Light and fresh indeed! A great way to take seasonal produce and turn it on it’s head. As always, love the light and bright photos.
    I have get togethers with my junior high school friends too; it’s great having the routine and familiarity.

    • Reply Justine March 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Wow, Junior High?! That’s going way back — so cool! Thanks for the sweet words, Samantha!

  • Reply Misty Blue March 11, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    This looks amazing, and your photography is incredible. I can almost taste this as I read how its prepared, too.

    • Reply Justine March 11, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Hey Misty! Thanks so much. Funny, it was a last minute adventure to shoot for this post and I almost reshot the images! Now I’m glad I didn’t — thanks for the lovely compliment!

  • Reply Julia March 11, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Looks totally delicious Justine. Like something I would love to have on hand this afternoon. Oh, beautiful pictures and writing as always.

    • Reply Justine March 12, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Thanks so much, Julia! If you do try the recipe, let me know how it goes. 🙂

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