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Easy Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe

Updated on February 5, 2017
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Marcelle enjoys preparing delicious meals for family and friends. She especially loves creating original, healthy vegetarian 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, vegetarian 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!

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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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Dial 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.

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Easy Pad Thai Recipe

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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 or again, it can be purchased easily online.

5 stars from 7 ratings of Healthy & Easy Pad Thai

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 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)

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.

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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 including: 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!

#1 Kentucky Teriyaki Sauce

Use this product 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.

#2 Powdered Peanut Butter

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 4 servings
Calories 366
Calories from Fat54
% Daily Value *
Fat 6 g9%
Carbohydrates 74 g25%
Fiber 10 g40%
Protein 15 g30%
Sodium 167 mg7%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cook Pasta

Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source

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. | Source
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. | Source

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. | Source
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. | Source

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Sources

"Salt." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/salt/>.

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    • My Bell profile image
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      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thank you for your kind comments, Valerie. Just back from a cruise and I'm going to make this tonight to begin my "slim down" after cruising.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes! This looks like a perfect recipe for me to try, and your pictures are gorgeous!

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Not sure either, bdegiulio, but I do love your comment! I always eat low sodium and create and use my own recipes. Please let me know what you think of the recipe once you have it.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi again Marcelle. Not sure what happened to my first comment but the "More at job" makes no sense? Not sure what happened.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Marcelle, this looks great. We love Pad Thai and will have to give this a shot. I do worry about the sodim so this recipe is perfect for me. More at job.

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thank you, Shraddh.. . The beauty of this recipe is that it is actually really easy to make. The sauce has just a couple of ingredients and hopefully the pictures will help walk you through the simple steps. I do hope that you try it. I'm sure you don't give yourself enough credit and that you are a fine cook :).

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      shraddhachawla 2 years ago

      Looks tempting ! Would surely give it a try, though I am not a very good cook. Thanks for sharing the Pad Thai recipe.

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thank you, First day! Please comment how you liked this recipe when you make it. Again, thanks!

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Pad Thai I one of my favorites! Thanks for posting.