It’s comfort food time of year, people. And yet, I’m typing this up on a Monday morning with a large mug of herbal tea and a cold-pressed green juice that tastes like celery and cucumbers – two foods I’m not super fond of – but the point is, while my body really needs all the hydration and vitamin A it can get (120% in my green juice!), I’m just having all the feelings for soups and casseroles and banana bread right now.
You friends DO NOT want to see the failure that tried to be Slow-Cooker Banana Bread yesterday. It’s rubbery and just, BLEH. Slow cookers are magical for certain menu items, but bread is not one of them. Let’s leave it at that.
Also, because I can’t just “leave it at that,” what are the merits of slow-cooker banana bread? You still have to combine all the ingredients in a bowl and pour it into the slow cooker. Why wouldn’t you just pour it into a loaf pan and stick it in the oven? So confused, but I tried to do it anyway. Ekk. Lesson learned.
Let’s start talking about this Thai Tomato Peanut Soup. It started as Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, but I’m obsessed with tofu at the moment, so then it was Thai Tofu Noodle Soup. And there were the crushed tomatoes. Why not add a little of those? But you can’t add just a little because it comes in a 28-ounce can. Theoretically, you could add just a little, but then what do you do with the other 20 ounces? So, eh, why not. Throw in those tomatoes. (FYI, I found out the hard way – better to overestimate the size of the stockpot you will need.)
And then, here’s where it gets risky: To add peanut butter or to not add peanut butter? Before the tomatoes, when it was simply Thai [Insert Protein Here] Noodle Soup, peanut butter sounded excellent. That’s a key component of what makes it “Thai” anyway.
HAVE NO FEAR. Crushed tomatoes + peanut butter works. Oddly. Weirdly. I don’t know how or why. Because even thinking about it now is instinctively making my nose crinkle. But it works. Just trust me on this.
This makes a lot of soup, so I’ve been eating it for BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) whenever I’m home because I’m telling you, it is that good. So toasty warm with a side of the good feels. It’s got the slurpy kind of carbs and crunchy thick peanut butter and the best part is that we can still pretty much call it healthy because all the veggies and lean proteins.
I have no clue how a seemingly simple dish like Slow-Cooker Banana Bread can end up in disaster, but a risky “throw it in there, don’t care” recipe like Thai Tomato Peanut Soup can turn out so dee-lish. Funny how life is.
Thai Tomato Peanut Soup
- 1 14- ounce package extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 6 ounces rice noodles
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 14- ounce can bean sprouts drained
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions some reserved for garnish
To prepare the tofu, place whole block of tofu between two plates. Firmly press down the top plate to drain excess water from the tofu. Pour out water into the sink. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a large stockpot, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and tofu and stir-fry 1-2 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir the peanut butter and tomatoes until well-combined. Add this to the stockpot with the vegetable broth and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to simmer another 5 minutes. Stir in the bean sprouts and scallions and remove from heat.
Garnish with extra scallions, if desired.