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How to Cook Healthy, Vegan Pad Thai Noodles
I'm cooking and adapting my own recipes to make the most delicious, vibrant, and beautiful vegetarian dishes. I prepare delightful portions with big flavors so you feel good and satisfied after every gourmet meal. This vegetarian Pad Thai noodle dish is one of my favorites and is very big on flavors. I highly recommend cooking this dish.
Just for your information, this is a very detail-oriented plate, and it does require a little more time and patience in the kitchen because of the many fresh ingredients required. With that being said, it is very well worth the extra effort. Read my tips and shortcuts to help make things come together smoothly!
Get healthy and lean by removing meat and processed food from your diet. I did this a couple of years ago and have been feeling great ever since. I hope you enjoy this recipe and have fun cooking it in your kitchen. Please cast your vote, leave comments, and follow me. It's greatly appreciated. Cheers!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 10 min
- 1 package Thai rice noodles, thick ribbon type
- 1 cup bean sprouts (optional), rinsed and dried
- 1 1/2 cup green chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I prefer olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil or chili oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated
- 1 whole shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon turnip, finely minced
- 1/3 cup extra-firm tofu, finely chopped
- 1/2 lime, reserved
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chili pepper, ground
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons vegan fish sauce or soy sauce (see ingredient tips below)
- 1 jar Pad Thai noodle sauce, vegan
For the garnish:
- 2 teaspoons chopped lemongrass
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups snipped green chives or cilantro
- Lime juice from 1/2 of a lime
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Put the noodles in a glass bowl and add enough warm water to completely cover them. Let them soak and, as they start to soften, mix them gently with your hands to get them separated. Don't let them get too soft. Drain some of the warm water away and add more during the soaking process. If you're in a hurry you can boil them for a few minutes instead of soaking them, but take care not to overcook them—this is very important!
- While the noodles are soaking, drain the tofu and dry it with paper towels, then chop it into very small cubes. Add half a tablespoon of sesame or chili oil to a wok and heat it up, then you can add the tofu and cook it until golden. Push the tofu up the sides of the wok. Drain softened noodles and put them in a fine-mesh sieve to drain.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil to the wok along with the remaining sesame or chili oil, and heat it up. Add the chili, sugar, turnip, garlic and minced shallot to the wok, and stir-fry it quickly, keeping the ingredients moving all the time with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula so nothing sticks or burns. When everything is soft, you can add some beansprouts (these are optional but very good in Pad Thai) and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the drained Pad Thai noodles to the wok and stir well, then add the Pad Thai sauce and vegan fish sauce or soy sauce, and stir well until everything is combined. You might not need all the sauce—it depends on the size of the jar, so use your judgment. Taste the dish to ensure the flavors (hot, sweet, sour and neutral) are well balanced. Add more sugar, fish sauce or soy sauce, or chili if need be.
- Now you can transfer the noodle mixture on to a warmed serving platter (or individual serving plates) then scatter the tofu on top. Now sprinkle over the lemongrass and peanuts, and the green chives or cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over everything, then serve your delicious vegan Pad Thai immediately, with hot sauce on the side.
- Last but not least, pour a wonderful glass of wine and enjoy!
It's all about the garnish!
Fresh Lemongrass for Garnishing Noodles
Lemongrass adds a wonderful flavor and aroma to Pad Thai noodles and helps bring this dish together in a very traditional Thai cuisine style. Lemongrass is a tall, narrow, long-lasting grass native to India, and it has many health benefits. It's used in many different ways, including cooking, teas, and essential oils.
For our lemongrass Pad Thai noodles recipe, I am going to slice into the inner portion of the long stalk to reveal the many layers of leaves that surround the softer insides.
Let's get started!
- Prewash the portion of lemongrass that you will use for this dish.
- Slice down one of the lemongrass stalks to reveal the softer inside layers.
- Remove some of the stiff outer layers.
- Chop the bottom portion of the stalk and mince it finely.
- Sprinkle the fine portions on top of the noodles and serve.
This herb lasts a long time in the refrigerator, so place the remainder of the grass into a Ziploc bag and store. I will be posting a therapeutic lemongrass tea recipe soon.
Pad Thai Noodles and Company: Gluten-Free
Enjoying a healthy vegan lifestyle doesn't mean having to give up delicious dishes such as Pad Thai. You just need to know how to prepare it in a vegan way. This famous recipe from Thailand is made with rice noodles and a variety of aromatic ingredients such as garlic, chili, lime juice, and more. Pad Thai dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and was made popular in Thailand during World War II. It has since become one of the most famous Thai recipes of all.
Ingredient and Cooking Tips
- The key component in this dish is, of course, the rice noodles. Choose the thick ribbon variety and make sure you either soak or boil them until they are just tender. Soaking them too long or overcooking them will make them soggy so take care to get them to al dente and no softer.
- You will also need either sesame oil or chili oil for stir-frying, plus extra-firm tofu that holds together much better than soft tofu or the silken variety. We are adding chili, sugar, shallot, turnip, and garlic to the dish, along with a jar of pad Thai sauce (check the label to make sure your brand is vegan-friendly).
- The finished dish is served with chives or cilantro, peanuts and lime juice, although you might prefer to serve lime wedges on the side so people can add their own lime juice.
- The beansprouts in our vegan pad Thai noodles recipe are optional, but we recommend adding them because they give a nice crunch to the dish as well as a contrasting fresh flavor.
- If you are unable to find vegan fish sauce, consider coconut aminos (a seasoning made with coconut sap and sea salt) or soy sauce if you don't mind a little extra saltiness in the dish.
- Some people like to add sliced green onions as an extra garnish while others might use pickled turnip or radish (from a jar) rather than fresh. Check you have all the necessary ingredients and head to an Asian food market if not.
- It is best to make this dish in a large wok, so you have space to cook the tofu first and push it up the wok sides, then cook the other ingredients in there too, but if you have a smaller one, remove the cooked tofu to a plate and warm it back up just before serving the final product, so the pan is not too crowded.
- This recipe makes 4 small servings or 2 large ones.
- Some people might like to spice this up further, so perhaps offer hot sauce (Sriracha or similar) on the side.
Wok's talk about cooking noodles!
The Wok of Choice From Elite Chefs
This is my ultimate cooking tool in the kitchen. When it comes to cooking Asian dishes, you want a pan that heats quickly and stays hot. I've personally owned my All-Clad 14" copper wok for about four years now. I absolutely love it! This wok loves to be used, it has the ability to be very attentive to heating evenly and hot on all surface areas. This assures me while cooking on high, all my vegetables and noodles will get cooked at the same time quickly. This large surface wok is made with the best quality thick metals and is built to last. I could feel the difference in my hand right away when I started cooking with this utensil for the first time.
The wok's handle is very well balance and comfortably fits into my hand. I enjoy the weight of the cookware while it sits on top of the burner. The handle is riveted in the same quality heavy duty material used to make the entire pan. Also a great plus is; this pan is safe for all cook tops and conduction ovens.
Sometimes it requires both of my hands to toss my food. I really din't mind it because, I know that it's built to last. And probably the last wok, I will ever need to buy. I always use this pan to make my Vegan Pad Thai noodles, and they turn out great every time. My only wish for this design is, to just be a little bit deeper around the the edges. This wok seems to be a little shallow compared to other's. I guess, I can't complain! Maybe I should be a little more careful when it comes to tossing my noodles around on the stove top. Sometime a vegetable jumps out here and there. Is it a big deal? No. Not really! If you compare the pros with the cons, it's nothing to be concern about. Unless you really love making noodles fly!
Is This Really Gluten-Free?
Yes! Pad Thai noodles are normally made from rice noodles, which are gluten-free. Make sure to double check your labels just to see that they are made from rice and not wheat.
© 2016 Asher Socrates
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 05, 2016:
Great to hear @kittythedreamer! Even replacing one of your meals a week with something vegetarian will make a great impact on your health and environment. Thank you very much for the compliment and I will. Cheers!
Kitty Fields from Summerland on March 04, 2016:
I'm not a vegetarian but this looks delicious! I might have to give it a try. In regards to your writing style and hub quality, great job! Keep up the good work. :)
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on March 03, 2016:
Enjoy @vocalcoach! These noodles are very addicting. I find myself wanting to make vegan pad Thai once a week.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on March 03, 2016:
Wow - this vegan recipe sounds yummy and will try it out this weekend. Thanks for sharing.
SweaterSpud from Springfield on February 28, 2016:
This sounds really yummy I look forward to trying this week
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 27, 2016:
@lisaroppolo they add such a wonderful texture. And thank you very much for your compliments.
Lisa Roppolo from Joliet, IL on February 26, 2016:
Awesome recipe! I definitely will try it. I like the addition of the turnip. I know they are an acquired taste for some, but I love them.
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 26, 2016:
I'm happy to be of help @MsDora. If you have enough lemongrass to share, please keep me in mind. Thank you!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 26, 2016:
Asher, I do need to follow you. I have lemon grass in my yard, and never used it in cooking; now I will. Thank you for the recipe and instructions.
Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on February 25, 2016:
This interesting and thorough article arrived at the right time. I have been pondering the idea of wok cooking. Thanks for the recommendation and hints helping me choose one. This recipe will be a good one to launch that adventure and is very tempting with its ingredients. I see easily a great choice.
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 22, 2016:
Anytime @marleneb! I hope you enjoy this meal. Thank you very much for commenting and visiting.
Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 22, 2016:
I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat meat with every meal. This recipe looks delicious and easy. Thank you for the extra instructions on how to prepare the lemongrass.
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 20, 2016:
Absolutely! You can substitute the tofu with any protein you would like.
Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on February 20, 2016:
What can you use in place of tofu in this recipe? Can you use peanut butter or vegetarian riblets?
Asher Socrates (author) from Los Angeles, CA on February 19, 2016:
Great question! The most common sauce and available at your local grocery store everywhere is made by Thai Kitchen and called Pad Thai noodle sauce and come in an 8 ounce jar. I will add a some more information about the sauce and an optional homemade recipe soon.
Thank you for your comment.
Here's a link below
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 19, 2016:
this is an awesome meal but where can i buy the pad thai noodle sauce?