Feel Good Vegan Food! This 10-Ingredient Healthy Pad Thai is easy, simple, and totally delicious. This recipe has quickly become a new favorite for me and whoever is joining me for dinner. I love pad thai, but wanted to find a light, refreshing version that would actually nourish me while still tasting amazing. I’ve tried what must have been over a dozen test runs of healthy pad thai before finally discovering this version and am so excited to finally share this fantastic dish with you today! It’s gluten-free and plant-based like all my dishes and uses detoxifying almond butter instead of peanuts.
It’s so simple and that’s what makes it so fantastic. I mixed raw veggies in with the rice noodles for extra nutrients and crunch and they came out absolutely amazing. It’s so crazy – you think you’re eating a whole bowl full of pasta, but it’s actually half veggie goodness – pretty amazing!
The 3 really key ingredients for the sauce are the fresh lemongrass, fresh ginger, and sesame oil. Lemongrass is a staple in traditional thai cooking, adds an unbelievable flavor to any dish, and is available at most supermarkets. Both lemongrass and ginger are available in squeeze-out tubes in the grocery store, which will work fine, but the antioxidant boost and fantastic natural flavor are at their best when you’re using fresh ingredients. Plus, they’re cheaper fresh! Sesame oil is another ingredient that I use in all my stir fry dishes and Asian-style meals. It has a wonderful depth to it and gives a whole different flavor than if you were to use olive oil. It’s available in the ethnic section of almost every grocery store – try it out!
Good rice noodles can be a bit tricky and might require you shopping around a bit for the perfect brand. I used these straight cut rice noodles from A Taste of Thai that I bought at Whole Foods and they were fabulous. Be careful to follow the package instructions and not overcook the noodles. They cook surprisingly fast and no one likes mushy noodles 😉
- 4 ounces dry straight thai-style rice noodles
- 2 carrots, spiralized or peeled
- 2 large zucchini, spiralized or peeled
- 1 cup snow peas, julienned (thinly sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned (thinly sliced)
- ½ cup shelled edamame beans
- 1 lemongrass stick
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves, garlic
- 4 tablespoons, almond butter
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- A dash of sea salt
- Toasted cashews
- Sliced green onion
- Wash all your veggies and set aside for preparation. Start by either peeling or spiralizing both the carrots and the zucchini. You can leave the skin on the zucchini, but take the skin off the carrots. Next, julienne the snow peas and bell pepper. You want very thin sliced that will mimic the spiralized veggies. If your edamame is frozen, be sure to defrost it before mixing in with the rest of the veggies in a large bowl at room temperature. Set the veggie bowl aside as you move onto the next step.
- Next, start on the sauce. This is really easy – we’re basically just going to blend everything. Simply peel and roughly chop the ginger root, wash and roughly chop the lemongrass (take a whiff – doesn’t it smell amazing??), peel the garlic cloves, and add them to a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for about a minute until combined and set aside in a small bowl.
- You’re now ready for the rice noodles. These can be tricky, so carefully read your package instructions and be careful not to overcook. Some noodles require boiling in water, while others say to simply soak in hot water. Strain the noodles when they’re finished cooking, then add them to the large bowl with the veggies. Pour your sauce on top and stir all ingredients together.
- If you’re in the mood for extra toppings (which I always am), toast a handful of raw cashews at 350* for 3-5 minutes, and slice a handful’s worth of green onion. Add on top of the dish and you’re good to go!