Step away from the Asian take-out flier that someone (someone???) magnet pinned to your fridge.
Yes, you’re tired after a long day. Yes, you’re starving. Yes, you don’t feel like slaving in the kitchen. Yes, you have a craving for something a bit different from your usual grub. Yes, you just happen to have an Asian fast-food flier that someone stuck to the front of your fridge door, just begging you to call the phone number pasted across a mouth-watering collage of fried noodle bowls and colorful rice medleys.
Yes, that take-out menu is dripping with all the things you know you have to avoid to get healthy and lose weight, like hidden waist-expanding deep-fried fats, jacked-up sodium, high-glycemic carbs and artificially sweetened sauces. Yes, you will regret it. Yes, you will desperately wish you were wearing your loosest pair of elasto-band sweat pants afterward. Yes, you will wonder why someone set herself up for a major weight loss hijack by stabbing that fast-food flier to the fridge to begin with. Yes, you will wish you had chosen a healthier lower-calorie option for dinner instead.
This easy home-made spin on Pad Thai is bursting with all the exotic Asian flavors that you crave, while staying light and low-calorie. Vegan, plant-based, high in protein and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you’ll be left lingering over this deliciously satisfying noodle bowl – not left lingering with guilt.
Healthy Vegan Pad Thai
8 oz. wide brown rice noodles
8 oz. tempeh*, cut into cubes
1 cup frozen shelled soy beans
1 cup bean sprouts
½ cup broccoli sprouts
¼ white onion, chopped
1 bunch green onion, green and white ends separated, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp sesame oil (plus extra for pan-frying)
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp chili paste or Sriracha (or to taste)
Lime wedges and red chili flakes for garnish
(*tempeh is a very mild-tasting fermented tofu that you can find in the freezer section of Asian grocers or regular grocery stores. If you can’t locate it, you can substitute with regular extra-firm tofu)
In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, maple syrup, chili paste and 3 tablespoons of sesame oil together. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and heat to boil.
Once the water comes to a boil, lower to a simmer, place a steamer basket over top, add in the frozen soy beans and cover. Steam for about 4 minutes, or until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Rhen remove the steamer basket from the hot pot and shut the heat off.
Place the dry rice noodles into the hot water in the pot, using a pair of tongs to submerge all of the noodles and to separate and swish the noodles around. Once the noodles are soft and flexible (this should only take a few minutes), drain out all of the water and set the noodles aside.
In a wok, heat a drizzle of sesame oil. Sauté the chopped white onion and the white chopped ends of the green onion, until soft and translucent. Add in the ginger and garlic, continuing to sauté for about 30 more seconds, until the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Scrape the sautéed root vegetables onto a separate plate and place the wok back on the hot burner.
Drizzle another bit of sesame oil on to the hot wok and add the tempeh cubes. Sauté the tempeh, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides. Add in the bean sprouts and soy beans and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add the cooked onions, garlic, ginger and noodles back into the wok, and pour the sesame soy sauce over top. Toss and stir everything together very well. Toss in the peanuts, broccoli sprouts, chopped green onion tops and cilantro, mix everything together well.
Serve in small bowls topped with a pinch of red chili flakes (optional) and a lime wedge.
Nutrition Facts per 1 ¼ cup serving: 353 calories/13g total fat (2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol)/44g total carbs (3g dietary fiber)/16g protein