By popular demand I am serving up this Choose Your Own Adventure Style Pad Thai recipe (sans sexy photos because #momlife). I am calling it this because the secret to the dish is the sauce, and what you serve it on is totally up to your own personal taste.
The sauce is vegetarian, but you can add egg, chicken, beef, or shrimp as your added protein, and please everyone around the table. You can also add whatever veggies you want, omit what you don’t like. Last but not least, you can even sub the rice noodles for a spiralized veggie noodle like a butternut squash, or sweet potato and you add a bit more depth to your nutrient profile.
So here it is, in all its glory.
For the main dish:
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1.5 cups of shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup of shredded carrot
- 1 bunch of green onions diced (keep the white separate from the greens)
- 1 red/orange/yellow pepper thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 pack of firm tofu pressed and cut into thin sheets * optional you can use half this amount and add your cooked protein of choice as well
- 2 tablespoons of your oil of choice (I like coconut oil or olive oil)
- 1 pack of rice noodles (or sub for spiralized veggie noodles)
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts for garnish
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup tamari (can also use soya)
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove of minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) of coconut palm sugar (this is to taste, you can also use brown sugar if this is what you have on hand)
- Water (to taste)
- If using tofu, I like to fry it up separately to add later. I bring 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a high heat, add the tofu and crisp on each side (about 2-4 minutes per side). Remove from the pan, let cool, and then chop into bite size pieces and set aside. If using any other protein, now is the time to pre-cook that and set aside.
- For the main dish, 1 tablespoon of oil on med-high heat. Add garlic & the whites of your green onions, toss until fragrant. Lower the heat to medium and add the veggies, tossing occasionally until they are slightly wilted.
- For the noodles, if using rice noodles bring water to boil & add the pack of rice noodles. Remove & strain when they are no longer chewy, but soft & translucent.
- If using a spiralized veggie noodle, you’ll want to toss those in once the main veggies are wilted and cover for a while until the noodles are cooked through, but not mushy.
- While the veggies are cooking, you can whisk all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. I like to use a pump whisk for this, if you have a mini blender that can work well too. Water is to taste, if you find it is too salty or acidic you can play with the addition of water. You can also start with less sugar and add to taste. Choose your own adventure!
- Once veggies are wilted, you can add 3/4 of the greens of your green onions, your cooked protein of choice, and your rice noodles (if using).
- Coat with the sauce, tossing the noodles and veggies to ensure everything is coated. Let sit covered, on low heat until the sauce bubbles on the bottom.
- Serve immediately, using the remaining 1/4 of the green onions and the crushed peanuts to garnish.