Quick & Healthy Pad Thai (Gluten Free)
Monday, April 29, 2013
I live in a foodie town. I mean people here take food seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it’s often parodied in many-an-episode of Portlandia.
The fact is, I could eat out for every meal of every day and probably not have one single forkful of food that isn’t tasty. Not one. Of course, I’d also be broke and not able to fit into my (one pair) of skinny jeans (because, really, who need two??). So, when I found myself craving Pad Thai, I decided to experiment with whipping some up at home.
Admittedly it is a loose interpretation of the traditional Thai specialty. No tamarind or palm sugar hanging around in my pantry. What I did have was a jar of powdered peanut butter (and a can of coconut milk, also not typically used in a traditional recipe).
Tradition is sometimes overrated.
Back to the powdered peanut butter. If you haven’t seen it, keep an eye out as it’s getting a bit easier to find in traditional grocers. It’s a pretty cool concept–remove all of the moisture (in the form of much of the fat) from peanuts and you have a peanutty powder that is ready to be used in many recipes including cookies, smoothies, cake frosting and yes, Pad Thai. And hello light and delish PB&J! The great thing is that 2 tablespoons have just 45 calories, under 2 grams of fat and 1 gram of sugar. Go to your cupboard and check the label of your regular, organic, all-peanut peanut butter.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Shocking, right?! Bring on the Pad Thai!
For this recipe I used gluten free rice noodles, you can use whatever Pad Thai noodle you prefer (you should be able to find them in the international section of your grocer). I also used a lot of veggies and went light on the noodles so everyone will get a generous portion without a lot of the calories the noodles typically provide in a dish like this (note, this is a great trick for many pasta and veggie dishes including primavera). Don’t be shy about substituting another protein if tofu isn’t your thing (chicken or shrimp would work nicely).
This dish is pretty easy to whip up, looks beautiful, and makes a great main course if you’re having a get together with a few friends.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Quick & Healthy Pad Thai (Gluten Free) www.kindred-kitchen.com
©2013 Kindred-Kitchen / Nancy Granada
Quick & Healthy Pad Thai (Gluten Free)
servings: 4 | time: about 40 minutes
2 TBSP. Peanut or canola oil, divided
1 14-ounce package super firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1″ cubes
1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
3/4 cup lite coconut milk
1 tsp. agave nectar
6 TBSP. powdered peanut butter
2 TBSP. fish sauce
1 TBSP. rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP. chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
2-3 TBSP. Thai Red Curry Paste (you could use chili paste, though it will be spicier, so make sure to give it a taste first)
2 16-ounce bags of frozen Asian stir fry vegetables
Handful cilantro, chopped
1 package Pad Thai noodles (gluten free if preferred)
6 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 lime, cut in half then in half again (quarters)
Salt and pepper
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. In the meantime make the Pad Thai ‘sauce’
2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, agave nectar, powdered peanut butter, fish sauce, vinegar, chopped garlic and curry or chili paste. Whisk until well combined and set aside (whisking every so often as you prepare the rest of the dish)
3. Heat 1 TBSP. of the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the tofu, sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until browned on all sides (should take about 7 or 8 minutes). NOTE: make sure the tofu is patted dry before adding to the pan–this will allow it to achieve a nice golden brown crust). Once browned, remove from pan and use the same pan for the veggies
NOTE: if the water is boiling at this point, add a pinch of kosher salt and the noodles, set the timer and cook according to the package directions
4. Heat the remaining TBSP. of oil in the heated pan. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, just until they start to release their moisture
5. Add the frozen veggies and saute over medium-high heat just until they are cooked through (about 7 or 8 minutes)
6. Add the tofu and sauce and toss well to combine. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes
7. Turn off the heat and add the cilantro. Toss to combine.
8. Quickly rinse the cooked noodles under cold water. Place first portion of noodles in a large bowl. Top with some of the the Pad Thai veggies and tofu and toss to combine. Place in a large shallow serving bowl, sprinkle with a few peanuts and chopped scallion and serve with a wedge of lime. Repeat for the remaining 3 servings