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Easy Vegan Pad Thai Recipe

Marcelle enjoys preparing delicious meals for family and friends. She especially loves creating original, plant-based, vegan recipes.

As the national dish of Thailand, pad thai is traditionally made with rice noodles, fish sauce, egg, spices, vegetables, peanuts, and often shrimp or tofu. This low-sodium, vegan adaptation for pad thai changes up the ingredients with flavorful results. Whole wheat pasta takes the place of rice noodles, and the sauce uses a combination of peanut butter, teriyaki, and sriracha sauce, minus the fish sauce. Easy and fast, make this recipe for a delicious weeknight family dinner!

vegetarian-recipe-healthy-pad-thai

Dialing Back the Sodium

Asian food often carries extra high amounts of sodium, especially restaurant dishes. A small serving of pad thai at Noodles & Company (nutritional information taken from their website) packs 1030mg of sodium, while the regular size pushes that number to 2000mg of sodium!

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Dialing back that sodium in your diet is the advise you'll hear from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC advises that people aged two and older consume less than 2300mg of sodium per day. Adults over the age of 51, certain populations, and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease should keep sodium levels at or under 1500mg per day. The Noodles & Company pad thai example above would max out your daily allotment for sodium in just one regular-sized serving. Too much sodium in your diet increases your risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Fortunately, you can eliminate much of the sodium in pad thai and other Asian-inspired dishes by cooking at home and being smart when choosing ingredients. The recipe below makes it easy for you by including plenty of healthy and low-sodium ingredients. Enjoy this famed Asian dish at home for just 167mg of sodium per serving.

vegetarian-recipe-healthy-pad-thai

Easy Pad Thai Recipe

Add a little Asian flare to a weeknight dinner with this easy dish that you can prepare in just over 30 minutes. Almost any vegetables will work and you can add tofu or other protein substitutes.

Find PB2 in the organic section of most grocery stores or order it online from Amazon (see below). Kentuckyaki is a little harder to find but it is worth it for the flavor and lower sodium content. Fresh Market carries it and you can easily buy it online.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

20 min

35 min

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat linguine, or spaghetti noodles
  • 1/4 cup Kentuckyaki sauce (see below), or other low-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tablespoons PB2 powdered peanut butter (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or other hot chile sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly minced or ground
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in chunks
  • 2 cups other chopped vegetables, (such as green onions, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, or mushrooms)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, (optional)
  • fresh chopped cilantro, (optional)
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Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, set aside.
  2. Combine Kentuckyaki sauce, hot water, PB2, Sriracha sauce, and ginger. Stir with a whisk.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, ginger, and chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently until tender soft, about 6-8 minutes. (Note: Add softer vegetables, such as mushrooms, towards the end of cooking.)
  4. Add sauce mixture, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Add pasta and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring well. Top with cilantro and peanuts.

Two Must Have Ingredients for Pad Thai

Try using these two ingredients when making the sauce. You will keep both the calories and sodium levels down this way. Ordering through Amazon is a great way to get pantry staples delivered to your home for less.

This delicious teriyaki-style sauce cuts back on sodium and enhances flavor by mixing in other ingredients with soy sauce, like Kentucky bourbon and sorghum, cider vinegar, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. One tablespoon contains 105mg of sodium. In comparison, 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce contains over 400mg and the same amount of soy sauce (the "lite" version) packs in a whopping 1650mg of sodium!

Use this powdered peanut butter to lighten the calories and fat content of this recipe. A two tablespoon serving of PB2 contains 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. By comparison, the same serving of peanut butter more than quadruples to 200 calories and 16 grams of fat. It's also much easier to mix and work with than peanut butter.

This product is perfect to use in smoothies. You can make a peanut butter and banana smoothie or use the chocolate PB2 for a chocolate peanut butter shake.

Cook Pasta

Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside.

Make Pad Thai Sauce

Combine Kentuckyaki sauce, hot water, PB2, Sriracha sauce, and ginger. Stir with a whisk.

Combine Kentuckyaki sauce, hot water, PB2, Sriracha sauce, and ginger. Stir with a whisk.

Select Vegetables

Choose a variety of vegetables for this dish. Pictured here are just a few suggestions.

Choose a variety of vegetables for this dish. Pictured here are just a few suggestions.

Cook Vegetables

Heat the oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, ginger, and vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently until tender soft, about 6-8 minutes.

Heat the oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, ginger, and vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently until tender soft, about 6-8 minutes.

Add softer vegetables, such as mushrooms, toward the end of the cooking time.

Add softer vegetables, such as mushrooms, toward the end of the cooking time.

Add Pad Thai Sauce

Add sauce mixture, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Add sauce mixture, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Add pasta and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring well. Top with optional cilantro and peanuts.

Add pasta and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring well. Top with optional cilantro and peanuts.

Sources

"Salt." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. .

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