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What’s for lunch this week? I made a big batch of ingredients for Asian Udon Noodle Salad, with pan seared extra-firm tofu and a toasted sesame oil dressing.  This salad packs nicely in lunch containers and can be tossed together quickly at work!

I’m super excited for my Udon Noodle SAlad #lunchthisweek. Today’s recipe is my second post for my new series, Lunch This Week! Last week I shared the Hawaiian Salad recipe that we ate all week. We both thought it was delicious and the ingredients lasted all the way to Friday in the fridge!

Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing

I was in the mood again for a salad, but I also was in the mood for Asian food. Think of this Asian Udon Noodle salad as a deconstructed spring roll. It has the tofu, crunchy butter lettuce, carrots, zucchini ( or cucumber), peanuts, noodles, green onions and fresh herbs (basil, cilantro). I love combining a bunch of fresh herbs together, especially when there’s other crunchy fresh components like butter lettuce. 

Can I just talk for a minute about how much I love Trader Joe’s? I’ve pretty much been there weekly for the past couple months. It’s slowly replacing Tom Thumb on my weekly grocery trips. They have so many convenience products that aren’t full of preservatives. Yesterday for example, I bought their pre-washed butter lettuce (a huge bag for $1.99), a huge carton of fresh basil for $2.99, and high protein tofu (1 pound for $2.99).

Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing

I also bought — not for this recipe — BBQ sauce that didn’t have high fructose corn syrup, frozen chicken cilantro wontons (YUM), tomato basil hummus ($2.49) and salsa ($1.79). Trader Joe’s brand products are SO cheap and well made! I hope I always get to live this close to a TJ’s!  

I spent about 45 minutes prepping the ingredients for this lunch yesterday. I julienned the carrots, sliced the mushrooms, zucchini, basil and cilantro, and diced the green onions. I sliced a couple limes into wedges and chopped some roasted peanuts. The dressing ingredients were whisked together and stored in a mason jar with a lid, and the udon noodles were cooked and stored in a large container. I sliced and pan seared the tofu. 

This is a little more time-intensive lunch, but if you just concentrate, you can knock out everything you need in 30-45 minutes. Then during the week, you can easily assemble all of the ingredients in your lunch container. I choose udon noodles for this salad because they were higher in protein and fiber (8g and 3g, respectively) than thin rice noodles. But you can use whatever Asian style noodles you like– udon, rice, ramen, etc. 

Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing

I hope my weekly lunch series inspires you to pack your lunch! You can save so much money and eat more nutrient dense meals when you pack from home. If you meal prep your lunches, be sure to take a pic and tag me on insta#lunchthisweek

[Tweet “need an idea for #lunchthisweek? Try this Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing!”]

Here’s the directions to make your Udon Noodle Salad: 

Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing

Servings 5 lunches
Author Emily Weeks, RDN, LD


  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 6-8 cups butter lettuce
  • 1 lb large carrots, cut into strips (or 1 bag of matchstick carrots)
  • 2 cucumbers or zucchini, cut into strips
  • 2 cups fresh basil, julienned
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 5-6 green onions, sliced
  • 1 small pkg white mushrooms, washed and sliced

For the Tofu:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch rectangles
  • salt + pepper
  • soy sauce (just a splash)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • drizzle of honey
  • Sriracha to taste
  • salt + pepper

For garnish:

  • salted peanuts
  • lime wedges


  1. Cook the udon noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

  2. Prepare your salad ingredients: prepare the carrots, zucchini, basil, cilantro, green onions, sliced mushrooms. Place in individual containers or baggies to store in the fridge.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the tofu. Let sear until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side. Splash with a little soy sauce and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add to a container.

  4. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together and store in a container.

  5. To assemble for lunch, place 1/5 of all the ingredients except the dressing in a large container. Put the dressing in a smaller tupperware.

Asian Udon Noodle Salad with Pan Seared Tofu & Toasted Sesame Dressing


  1. I’ve never cooked udon noodles! Definitely something I’ll have to try.

  2. Love this series! And this salad looks super delish – so much good stuff going on in here!

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