Recipe by Katie Mae
Do you love Thai food as much as I do? With all the oil, salt and sugar they put in their dishes, who wouldn’t like it? I haven’t been to Thailand yet, but I bet this is exaggerated in American Thai food.
Well, it turns out there is a group that does not like going out for Thai food – even if they used to enjoy it, they don’t now. That population is the people who have rejuvenated their taste buds. They have significantly reduced, or possibly even eliminated the sugar, oil and salt from their diet. By getting rid of the processed foods that unnatural and hyper concentrated in these chemicals, your taste buds become more much more sensitive.
This is a powerful move because it allows you to actually taste the rich flavors of real food. Interestingly, this is why people who eat a diet of pure whole plant foods truly, deeply enjoy the taste of simple meals. Yet, when asked about these same foods, often people eating the standard American diet cannot even fathom how anyone could actually want to put those foods in their mouth.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I fall into this “extreme” population avoiding refined sugar, oil and salt. Although, I do have a love for Thai food, I would much, much rather consume the delicious flavors of Thailand without all of the unnecessary chemicals that mess with my tastebuds.
In order to fully enjoy these traditional dishes the way I want to without getting sucked into the pleasure trap, I have to recreate them in my own way. At this point you probably guessed that this means without the sugar, oil and salt, and of course, without any animal flesh. I’ve done this with my Mexican and Italian eCookbooks, and now it’s time to transform the beloved Thai cuisine.
Here’s one of the first creations for the Asian PLANTZ eCookbook: a Ginger-Spiced Phad Thai recipe.
If you start with quality foods and add the right amount of herbs and spices, you don’t need the sugar, oil and salt to make a dish flavorful. I think you’ll notice that that with this recipe.
I’m also going to share some extra ideas for getting lots of variety with the same dish. Keep reading below to learn about the different options for noodles that you could use in this recipe.
Makes 4 servings
Ready in minutes
Stores days in fridge
- 2 large carrots
- ½ small head of purple cabbage or ¼ large head
- ½ bunch green onions, diced
- 1 recipe of Ginger Pad Thai Sauce
- 8 oz gluten-free noodles of your choice
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1½ cup mung bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts or sliced almonds
1. Grate the carrots using the fine or medium grater on the food processor or a box grater. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with the cabbage and add to the bowl. Add the green onions.
2. Prepare the Pad Thai sauce (recipe below) before cooking the noodles.
3. In a medium pot bring water to a boil to cook the rice noodles in. Once the water is boiling, prepare the noodles according to the directions on the box. This will vary depending on the type and brand of noodle you use. Be careful not to overcook them. Strain noodles and then return them to the empty pot.
4. Add the sauce and sesame seeds to the pot and turn the heat to low-medium. Stir so all the noodles are coated. Now gently stir in the veggies. Warm the dish to your liking. Transfer the recipe to a large serving bowl or individual bowls. Top with bean sprouts and peanuts just before serving.
If you mix bean sprouts into the dish and you end up having leftovers, the sprouts will lose their crunch and appeal. If there’s a chance you’ll have leftovers, I suggest only topping them to the portion being eaten.
This dish is also delicious served room temp or chilled. For room temperature, after straining the noodles transfer them to a large bowl where you can mix in the veggies and sauce. If you’d like the dish chilled that cover that bowl and put it in the fridge for an hour.
Ginger Pad Thai Sauce
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1½ cup water
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 teaspoons almond or sunflower butter
- 1 tablespoon Tamarind paste
- ½ – 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Add dates and water to a blender. Let the dates soak as you prepare the other ingredients and add them each to the blender. Blend until the sauce has a smooth consistency.
2. If it’s too thick it may cause noodles to stick together, and in that case you may want to thin out the sauce by adding a little more water. This can be done after it is mixed in with the pasta and veggies.
3. Set sauce aside until ready to use.
In our abundant food system, it seems we have countless choices when it comes to pastas, EVEN when we narrow it down to gluten-free pasta. I’ll give you a more inclusive article on all the gluten-free pastas in the future. For now, here’s six different choices that I think work well with this Pad Thai recipe.
White Rice Noodles: These are used in traditional Thai cuisine. They don’t have much flavor, but they do a great job absorbing the oils of the dish and in delivering you lots of flavor. Although, these make the dish taste great, they are a highly refined product. I do like the wide shape of these too, which you can find with white rice versions, but not brown.
Brown Rice Noodles: These are the best choice for getting a similar mouth feel as the traditional white rice noodles, while providing more nutrition. They are made from brown rice so they don’t have as much of the fiber and nutrients striped from them. Yet, they seem to be fairly light like the white rice noodles.
Fettuccine Noodles: Not all fettuccine noodles are gluten-free, but these ones are and this specific brand is also made from brown rice, which is great. This product would be closest to what most people think of when they hear gluten-free pasta. The shape works well with this recipe because the fettuccine noodles are flat like traditional Pad Thai noodles. The one reason I don’t like using these type of brown rice pasta is because it seems significantly more dense than the variety made specifically for Pad Thai.
Zucchini Noodles: These are fabulous because they are made from one whole food with absolutely no refining. These can be made by putting a zucchini (with or without the peel) through a fun gadget, called a spiralizer. This option is perfect for weight-loss by decreasing the amount of calories in your dish. They’re also a good choice for people that want more raw foods in their diet, and those that are trying to avoid all grains. I like the crunch that zucchini noodles add to a recipe. You can also make sweet potato or carrot noodles in the same fashion.
Asian Root Noodles: Another great option for a lower calorie meal are these Miracle Noodles made from an Asian root vegetable, called. They are more processed than the zucchini noodle, but because it’s made from a vegetable and the main component is fiber I’d say they are also a healthy choice. The fiber is great because it keeps our bowels regular, and slows down our digestion, which slows the rate at which we absorb glucose. This makes it great for diabetics, and anyone that that wants to feel full longer. The zucchini noodle also has lots of fiber, however I think the Miracle Noodle gives you a mouth feel that is slightly closer to what you may be used to with Pad Thai, than the zucchini noodles would.
Seaweed Noodles: The noodles made from seaweed. There’s different varieties out there, but the most common type are known as kelp noodles. These are very similar to the Miracle noodles as far as texture, but with slightly more crunch. My first experience with these was when I worked at raw food restaurant. I thought they were a really fun way to freshen up traditional pasta dishes. You get the best flavor with these when you soak the noodles in a sauce or marinade, for anywhere between 1-24 hours.
This should give you a little more understanding about many of the noodle choices available to us. I hope it inspires you to try out some fun variations to this Pad Thai recipe.
The bottom line is: if you’re like me – you love Pad Thai, but have been dreaming of a healthier alternative – than you definitely want to make this recipe. Please share it with your Pad Thai loving friends, and let me know how you like it by leaving some love in the comments section below.
If you have any feedback, let me know that too. It will help for the final version to be put in the eCookbook. Lastly, if you like this post, please pass it on through your social media networks. Thank you so much for the support!
Did you like this recipe? If so, please share it. Your voice matters in spreading the plant-based message and transforming our food system. Salud!