Crispy Air-Fried Tofu with Brown Rice Noodles

Topped with crispy air-fried tofu and a spicy peanut sauce, these lively brown rice noodle bowls will satisfy all your Thai food cravings. Fresh lemongrass infuses tender bok choy and aromatic scallions with a mild citrus fragrance, while earthy pad Thai noodles anchor the dish. The trick to getting the tofu crunchy and delicious is to squeeze out as much water as possible, then coat each cube with a seasoned mix of fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, and coconut aminos. Drizzle with a spicy date-sweetened peanut sauce for another layer of irresistible flavor, and garnish each bowl with fresh broccoli sprouts (optional) and a lime wedge. 

Tip: Because hot chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid contact with chiles as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands touch the chile peppers, wash your hands well with soap and water.

For more inspiration, check out these tasty ideas:

By Laura Marzen, RD, LD,


  • 2 medium pitted Medjool dates
  • ¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus ¼ teaspoon, optional)
  • 1 14- to 16-oz. package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 medium fresh Thai chiles or serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium heads baby bok choy, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 10 oz. dry brown rice pad Thai noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh broccoli sprouts (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)


  • For peanut sauce, in a blender combine the dates and ½ cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Add peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of the coconut aminos, the lime juice, and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cover and blend until smooth, scraping sides of blender as needed. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan.
  • Place tofu between folded paper towels. Top with a plate and a heavy can of food. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the coconut aminos; toss to coat. Let rest 5 minutes; toss again until all the liquid is absorbed. In a small bowl stir together cornstarch, ginger, and cayenne pepper (if using). Sprinkle half the cornstarch mixture over tofu; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch mixture over tofu; toss gently.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Arrange tofu in a single layer in air-fryer basket. Air-fry 8 to 10 minutes or until tofu is golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, thickly slice scallion whites and bias-slice greens. In a large skillet or wok cook scallion whites, lemongrass, and chile slices over medium 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add bok choy to skillet. Cook 6 to 8 minutes more or until lightly wilted, adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Heat Peanut Sauce over medium-low 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, whisking frequently.
  • In a medium bowl combine cooked noodles, vegetable broth, the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut aminos, and half of the peanut sauce; toss to combine. Add a little water if noodles are sticking together.
  • Divide noodles, vegetables, and tofu among four shallow bowls. Drizzle with the remaining peanut sauce. Top with scallion greens. If you like, top with broccoli sprouts and serve with lime wedges.

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About the Author

Headshot of recipe developer and nutritionist Laura Marzen by Theresa Schumacher Photography

About the Author

Laura Marzen, RD, LD

Laura Marzen, RD, LD, is known for developing approachable recipes using her attention to detail and relying on two decades of experience creating and testing recipes. She created and tested recipes while working in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen for over seven years. Since then, she has gone on to develop more than 1,000 recipes for national magazines. In addition to her work developing recipes, Marzen uses her passion for healthy eating to coach women on improving their digestion and health in a way that's practical and sustainable. She has consulted for authors Rocco DiSpirito and Joy Bauer and has appeared on both local and national news and television programs on behalf of Better Homes & Gardens and Living the Country Life. With her work coaching women to improve their health, Marzen has extensive knowledge on the topics of digestion, metabolism, inflammation and IBS. Marzen earned a B.S. degree in dietetics from Iowa State University. She followed that with a dietetic internship and classes in public health at the University of Iowa through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Learn more on her website. Photo by Theresa Schumacher Photography
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