Pad Thai Noodles, with the rich comforting peanut sauce, is perhaps the most popular dish at Thai restaurants, but it is difficult to find a vegan version. I know it has always been one of my personal favorites. Most Pad Thai Noodle preparations include meat and eggs and fish sauce. Even if a Thai restaurant menu offers a vegetarian version, be aware that many sauces used in Thai cooking contain fish sauce and restaurants may not disclose this. I found a vegan option for Pad Thai at P. F. Chang’s which was delicious (see my post on P. F. Chang’s), but the dish contained a lot of added oil and fried tofu.
Here is my attempt to make a healthier, oil-free, vegan Pad Thai , with lots of vegetables. I used two boxes of organic brown rice pad thai noodles. In retrospect, I would have liked the dish better with the same amount of vegetables and one box of noodles, for a lighter dish. On the other hand, my grandson would have preferred all noodles and sauce and no vegetables, so clearly it a matter of personal choice. I did not use the traditional tamarind and bean sprouts just because I didn’t have any on hand. Use you imagination and add your favorite ingredients.
Note–While there is no added processed oil in this version, there is still going to be some fat in this dish due to the peanut butter and tofu, so it is not great for a weight loss regime, but excellent for a treat!
First, I checked to see what vegetables I had available, and assembled my ingredients. Then I prepared the peanut sauce.
I blended the sauce, using peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, water and a little hot sauce. I used a Magic Bullet to blend the sauce. As an option, you can add a little sweetener. I used just a tiny bit of pomegranate molasses.
Next, I heated a large pot of water for boiling the noodles and blanching the vegetables , and started preparing all the vegetables that I planned to mix into the pad thai noodles–sliced celery, slivers of red bell pepper, sliced red cabbage, shredded carrots, and frozen broccoli florets. You can use different vegetables–whatever you like.
I also chopped some cucumber, cilantro, and green onions that I reserved to sprinkle raw on top of the pad thai
When the water was boiling, I added the dry noodles and cooked for 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, I added all of the vegetables (except for the green onion, cilantro, and cucumber) right into the pot on top of the noodles and blanched the vegetables for about 30 seconds. Then I drained the noodles and vegetables into a colander and returned them to the pot, and poured on the peanut sauce.
I diced the tofu and heated it up in a sauce pan with a little water and a splash of tamari.
Next, I folded the tofu into the noodles, vegetables and sauce.
Time to plate it up!! Add the cilantro, green onions, cucumbers and wedges of lime. If you like it spicy, sprinkle on some chile flakes or hot sauce. This true comfort food!
Vegan Oil-free Pad Thai Noodles
- 2 boxes pad thai rice noodles
- 1 package firm tofu, cubed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Vegetables for Noodles
- 2 cups Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 3 cups small broccoli Florets, fresh, or defrosted
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup peanut Butter
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp hot sauce or chile flakes
- 1 T sweetener (optional)
Vegetables for Garnish
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves,
- 1 cup green onions, sliced
Heat a large pot of water to boil
Prepare the sauce by blending all of the sauce ingredients
Prepare all of the vegetables
Cube the tofu
When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and boil for 1 minute. Then add the vegetables for the noodles, but reserve the garnish. Blanch the vegetables for 30 second. Drain the pot into a colander and return the drained noodles and vegetables to the pot. Add the sauce.
Water sauce the cubed tofu with 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp tamarin until warm. Add the tofu to the pot and gently mix into the noodles.
Serve with Garnish Vegetables.