| Vegan Pad Thai with Vegetable Noodles
Recipes are rated from 1 to 5 forks, with 1 fork being the easiest and 5 forks the most challenging.
The traditional taste of Pad Thai without refined sugar and using only whole food, plant-based ingredients. Vegetables replace the rice noodles to make this a colorful and light dish. Rather than using traditional fish sauce, I use wakame seaweed to provide the flavor of the ocean. Flaxseed meal provides the thickening for the sauce that is typically provided with eggs in Pad Thai.
Instructional images follow the recipe.
Ingredients for sauce::
- 1 Tablespoon Tamarind Paste - See notes below for options (Tamarind Concentrate) (Tamarind Paste)
- 3 large Medjool dates (substitute 5 smaller deglet noor dates)
- 1 1/2 cups Boiling water (or as needed for tamarind and dates)
- 1/2 teaspoon Powdered wakame seaweed (grind in a coffee/spice grinder) (view or buy here)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh squeezed lime juice (substitute 1 Tbs rice vinegar)
- 1/4 cup Low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or similar hot sauce
Ingredients for Pad Thai::
- 1 medium Parsnip
- 2 medium Carrots
- 1 small Zucchini
- 2 small Green onions (scallions)
- 1 cup Mung bean or soy bean sprouts
- 6 ounces Extra-Firm Tofu (half of a standard package)
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tablespoon Peanut oil, avocado oil, or canola oil (optional)
- 1/4 cup water
Ingredients for garnish::
- 1/2 cup Cilantro (lighlty packed)
- 1/2 cup Unsalted peanuts - lightly crushed
- 1 medium Lime sliced into 4 or 8 wedges
- Thinly sliced tops from the green onions
Tamarind and Date Preparation:
Tamarind is considered a fruit, and it grows in a pod on trees that originate in the tropics. It provides a unique sour and sweet flavor that can't be replicated. Tamarind is available at most Asian grocery stores or online, and comes in a variety of options. The instructional image for this recipe shows a "seedless" tamarind paste that is thick and somewhat dry. Most of these "seedless" options still contain parts of seeds, so it's preparation is more involved. A more liquid version of prepared tamarind concentrate is also be available and is easier to use.
If using tamarind paste with seeds, chop the tamarind paste into small pieces and soak in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a fork to "dissolve" the tamarind into the water, and then strain the tamarind liquid using a small strainer while pressing the tamarind paste with the back of a spoon. Refer to the instructional images if necessary.
If using prepared liquid tamarind concentrate, mix 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate with 3/4 cup of water.
Remove the pits from the dates and soak in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Add the tamarind mixture, dates along with the soaking liquid, tamari or soy sauce, flaxseed meal, wakame powder, Sriracha, and juice from one lime (or rice vinegar) to a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Use a vegetable peeler to make long noodle like strands with the parsnip, carrots, and zucchini. Alternatively, use a vegetable spiralizer to make the noodles. Refer to the instructional images if necessary.
Thinly slice the green onions, separating the dark green tops from the white and lighter green portions. Reserve the dark green tops for garnish.
Mince the ginger and garlic and chop the cilantro if not already done.
Rinse the tofu and press with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch cubes.
Place the peanuts into a small plastic bag and lightly crush with the back of a pan.
Putting it all together:
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil if desired, and add the tofu. Cook the tofu for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and white parts of the green onion and cook for an additional 30 seconds while stirring.
Add the parsnip, carrot, and zucchini noodles along with 1/4 cup of water and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until the vegetables begin to wilt.
Add the sauce and stir, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Add the bean sprouts, 1/2 of the chopped cilantro, and 1/2 of the peanuts.
Serve garnished with the remaining green onions, cilantro, peanuts, and additional Sriracha if desired.
The tamarind paste with seeds is cut into small pieces and soaked in boiling water.
Press the soaking tamarind with a fork to help it dissolve in the hot water.
Strain the tamarind, pressing with the back of a spoon to get as much of the tamarind pulp as possible.
Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender, and blend until the dates are puréed.
Use a vegetable peeler to make fettuccine style noodles from the parsnip and carrots.
Use a spiralizer to make noodles with the zucchini, or use a vegetable peeler as done with the carrots and parsnip.
Ingredients prepped for final cooking
Putting it all together:
Heat a wok or large fry pan and oil if using. Add the tofu and cook until it begins to brown.
Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and cook while stirring for 30 seconds.
Add the noodles, stir and cook for a minute or two.
Add 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook for about 4 minutes.
Stir and cook until most of the water has evaporated and the vegetable noodles begin to soften.
Add the sauce and stir to combine.
Add the sprouts, half of the chopped cilantro, and half of the crushed peanuts.