Thai food is one of my absolute favourite cuisines, I love how fresh and flavourful everything is. I love a lot of Thai food, but there is one clear winner for me every time and that is the classic pad Thai. The sour sauce on the noodles and crunchy veggies are just so good! However, most pad thais in restaurants aren’t exactly the healthiest things in the world and aren’t always vegan or gluten-free. While this recipe isn’t entirely traditional, it certainly delivers on flavour and satisfies my noodle craving like no other!
In my opinion there are a few crucial ingredients to a good pad thai:
- Crunchy veggies: this can be whatever you prefer, but I love carrot, pepper, red cabbage and beansprouts
- Tender, but not mushy rice noodles: be sure not to overcook your noodles!
- A sweet and sour sauce, I love to use plenty of lime juice, tamarind and a bit of veggie fish sauce to get that perfect flavour.
You will see in this recipe that I add a few less traditional ingredients like tempeh and almond butter, but trust me, it is so good! I much prefer the texture of tempeh to tofu and I think the flavour goes so well with pad thai. The almond butter adds a lovely depth to the sauce without all of the usual oil and sugar that goes in to a pad thai.
Vegan Pad Thai
- 100g tempeh or tofu
- 1/4 red cabbage shredded
- 1 small carrot julienned or spiralised
- 1 red pepper finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, sliced or half for less spice
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 2 inches ginger root peeled and minced
- 2 spring onions, sliced whites of – save the greens for garnish
- 1 handful bean sprouts
- 100g dry rice noodles roughly 2 nests
- 1/2 lime juice of
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp palm/coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 spring onions greens of
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander
- 1/2 lime cut in to wedges
- 2 tbsp chopped peanuts or cashews
- Boil a kettle and pour over the rice noodles in a large bowl. Let sit for 3 minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil (or another oil suitable for high heat) in a large wok. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes.
- Slice your tempeh. Add to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes, until lightly golden.
- Add the red cabbage, pepper, whites of the spring onion and carrot. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the veggies are just starting to soften.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
- Add the noodles, beansprouts and sauce to the pan and toss well to coat evenly in the sauce. Season if desired, but the sauce has plenty of salt in it already so I tend not to. Cook for 2 minutes until heated through.
- Serve sprinkled with the greens of the spring onion, coriander, cashews and lime wedges.