Vegan Pad Thai is one of our favourite dishes to order at a Thai restaurant. This version is full of flavour and packed with veggies. Perfect for a one bowl meal.
The popularity of Pad Thai dates back to the late 1930’s. At this time, noodles were being promoted over rice in Thailand. Rice noodles use 50% less rice for the same serving size of rice alone. At that time, rice stocks were in danger. This was due to less production in the fields during the war, along with flooding at the time. The government created and promoted the dish and marketed Pad Thai heavily. We guess that that their campaigns worked. Pad Thai is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand and is also popular around the world!
It is often difficult to find a fully plant based version of Pad Thai at restaurants. This is because the traditional dishes typically include meat, eggs, sometimes shrimp and fish sauce. This Vegan Pad Thai version still manages to have the Unami flavour that fish sauce provides but we use coconut aminos instead.
Coconut aminos are similar to tamari. However, they are made with the fermented sap of a coconut palm tree. Tamari is made from fermented soy beans. Coconut aminos are a salty-sweet condiment, but are less salty than tamari with a hint of sweetness. We love to use it in a variety of dishes such as our Asian Lentil Balls. It is more expensive than tamari or soy sauce though, so we use it a little more sparingly.
This Pad Thai dish is better when served fresh and hot. If you leave this dish for too long, or reheat it, the noodles may tend to get too soft and sticky. Try to have your timing down. When the noodles are ready, quickly drain them and toss them right into the same pot as the vegetables. If your veggies are ready ahead of the noodles, turn them off (or on low) while you finish cooking the noodles.
Toppings are optional, but we love the flavour of the green onions, the little crunch (and extra calcium) of the sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime, which balances out the dish.
- 1 block tofu (about 300g)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tsp seseme oil
- 1 red pepper
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cup broccoli florets (small)
- 250 grams rice noodles
- 3 green onions, sliced
- seseme seeds (optional)
- limes wedges (optional)
Pad Thai Sauce
- 1 inch piece ginger, minced
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar (or other liquid sweetener such as Agave)
- 3 tbsp crunchy sunflower butter or peanut butter
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 lime, juiced
- If you have a tofu press, place the block of tofu in the press and let sit for 30 minutes. Alternatively, wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel, place it on a plate and put something heavy on the top. The goal is to press some of the moisture from the tofu.
- While the tofu is sitting, make the sauce. Measure out all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium sized bowl and then whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Peel and mince the garlic cloves.
- Cut the top off the red pepper and cut it in half, widthwise. Remove the seeds and core of the pepper. Cut each half of the pepper into strips.
- Peel the carrot. Cut it into 2 or three equal length pieces that are similar in length to the red pepper. Julienne the pieces into thin strips.
- Cut the stem off the broccoli and compost or save the stem for stock, soup or juices. Cut the broccoli into small florets.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Drain and pat the tofu dry and place the block on its side and slice in half. Stack the two halves. cut into equal cubes – about 24.
- Toss the tofu cubes with the garlic powder and sea salt and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- While the tofu is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, place a large pan or a wok on the stove on medium heat and add 2 tsp of sesame oil.
- Add the garlic, carrot strips, red pepper strips and broccoli florets to the pan. Sauté for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the water boils, add the noodles and cook according to the directions on the box. Rice noodles tend to cook faster than regular pasta. Don’t overcook! Drain the noodles in a colander.
- Add the noodles to the pan with the vegetables, along with the sauce and the tofu cubes. Stir to coat.
- Portion into bowls and top with sliced green onions, sesame seeds and a wedge of lime, if desired.
- This recipe makes 3 large bowls or 4 smaller portions.