Raw Vegetable Pad Thai
Fun fact: I didn’t eat my first bite of pad Thai until arriving jet-lagged, dirty, slightly confused, and adventure-ready in Bangkok, Thailand. Until that time, Thai food was never something that appealed to me, as I assumed it was all greasy noodles and fried foods reminiscent of general tso’s chicken, or something like that.
My how quickly I learned. When in Thailand, I embarked on a little culinary adventure to learn what the heck Thai food really entailed. From (very broken and short) conversations with residents in the town where I lived, Mukduhan, to an organic farm in Chiang Mai, and down south on the islands when grabbing mango and jackfruit at the night market, I learned more about how food grows, the herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, and the way that preparing a proper Thai dish must be balanced and considered. Long story short: Thai food is diverse, extraordinary regional, salty, sweet, spicy, bitter, and every bit as wonderful as the country itself. Of course, it’s not all greasy noodles too.
This recipe isn’t quite pad Thai either. Yes, I’ve called it ‘pad Thai’ for blog’s sake, but it’s really just a refreshing vegetable salad with delicious herbs and spices, shaved carrots, spiralized zucchini, red cabbage, cashews, and an almond ginger sauce that you’ll want to drizzle all over your life. Seriously. Instead of using rice noodles, I’ve used my favorite spring and summer vegetable: the zucchini.
Summer Squash Season.
The arrival of warm weather brings with it bountiful harvests of summer squash, like zucchini, to the farmer’s markets and grocery stores. And my will it grow – be prepared to be up to your eyeballs in summer squash very, very soon. Back to the veg: zucchini is an underrated superfood and an extremely versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It is a superb source of important antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which help to support proper eye function. Zucchini also contain other essential vitamins and minerals such as copper, manganese, Vitamin C to help the body repair tissues and absorb iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, zinc, Omega-3’s, B Vitamins and fiber for blood sugar regulation, calcium, iron, and more. A little tip: to obtain all the antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral benefits of zucchini and other summer squash, eat the flesh, skin, and seeds of the veggie!
Nutrition aside, this light salad is the perfect dish to make ahead and have on hand all week long for a quick lunch or dinner. To make it more protein packed, feel free to add in grilled organic chicken, wild salmon, sautéed tempeh, or chickpeas for a protein boost. The freshness of the cilantro along with the crisp raw veggies and divine sauce has pretty much nothing to do with authentic pad Thai, but it’s certainly reminiscent of delicious Thai flavors.
Spiralized zucchini + crisp red cabbage + sweet carrot ribbons + flavorful cilantro + heavenly almond and ginger sauce = a vegukate take on pad Thai.
Raw Vegetable Pad Thai
Pad Thai Veggies:
2 medium sized carrots
½ small head red cabbage
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ cup chopped peanuts or cashews, to garnish
Almond Ginger Sauce:
¼ cup creamy almond butter
1 ½ Tablespoons coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
Juice of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic
1 ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Dash of cayenne pepper
Water, to thin
For the veggies: spiralize zucchini and place in a large bowl. If you don’t have a spiralizer, simply use a vegetable peeler to peel zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel carrots into long thin strips and add to bowl. Roughly chop red cabbage into long strips and add to bowl along with roughly chopped cilantro. Set aside to make sauce.
In a high-speed blender combine all almond ginger sauce ingredients. Add water to thin out consistency if necessary. Blend on high for 30 seconds, or until sauce is smooth and creamy. Add more cayenne if you’d like more spice!
Pour ½ sauce over veggies and toss to combine. Add sauce as needed to coat veggie noodles evenly – you may have leftover almond ginger sauce (yay!). Divide pad Thai into bowls and garnish with chopped cashews or peanuts.
-You can sub peanut butter for almond butter in the sauce easily. I’ve never tried cashew butter or sunflower butter, but I would expect the flavor to be milder.
-Leftover sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
-Veggie pad Thai noodles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
-Add more protein to this dish with grilled organic chicken, wild salmon, sautéed tempeh, or chickpeas!