Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Everthing but the Kitchen Sink" Vegan Pad Thai

Is it normal to stress over vegetables?  I hope you answered "yes" because that is EXACTLY what I'm doing. I'm only 3 weeks into my CSA share and already food is going to waste in the refrigerator! It's like I'm in an episode of the Amazing Race, just trying to keep up with Team Veggie. Oh no! There goes Mr. Tomato! Slow down, Mrs. Kale... we haven't even been properly introduced!!

To avoid the nervous breakdown that will inevitably result from seeing my hard-earned dollars chucked in the trash, I have come up with a new plan of attack - use as many fresh herbs and vegetables in each dish as humanly possible. If it even remotely looks like it might mesh with the flavor profile of what I'm cooking, I'm throwing it into the pan!

That's how I discovered "Everthing but the Kitchen Sink" Vegan Pad Thai! I'm not even vegan, but after I dumped a whole garden in the pan, there was no room leftover for the meat!

Image via independenttraveler.com
Pad thai is one of my all-time favorite dishes. Five years ago, I landed in this fair city bearing just one suitcase. That was it. There was barely enough room for my closet, much less pots and pans, plates, silverware or glasses! So needless to say, my first apartment lacked the tools for a properly functioning kitchen. And honestly, that was just fine with me because I was busy discovering the joys of 1) BLT's on a bagel from the corner deli (super healthy, right?), and 2) chicken pad thai from the tiny hole in the wall next door (c'mon, a filling $7 dinner in this city is a steal!).

Thankfully, things have changed since then, but I still miss my little pad thai spot! So the other day, Adam and I decided to try our hand at homemade pad thai. Neither of us had made it before, and now I'm not quite sure why! Minus all the veggie chopping, this dish is a cinch! Plus, when you make your own pad thai, you can avoid the MSG and preservatives that are oftentimes hidden in this delicious recipe.

And now, a photo play-by-play to guide you on your very own Asian culinary adventure...

Slice 1 white onion into long slivers.
Wash and slice a large handful of carrots (in this case, baby carrots... that's all we had) into very thin slivers.
Wash and slice 1 bunch of baby bok choy (only discard the very tip of the white end).
Wash and chop a heaping handful of broccoli.
Wash and roughly chop 1 bunch of scallions, including the white ends.
Look at all those lovely veggies!
Oh... and if you're into fungi (hehe), wash a handful of shiitake mushrooms thoroughly and slice thin.
Grab your sauce ingredients and get out a measuring cup. In your measuring cup, mix together 3 Tbs. tamari or low-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbs. rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. of your favorite hot sauce (we used sriracha), 1 Tbs. of mirin (sweetened sake) OR sherry and 1 Tbs. maple syrup or honey (this is enough sauce for about 4 servings).
Cook your rice noodles according to package directions. A 1/2 lb. of noodles will result in about 4 servings.
While the noodles are cooking, roughly chop a handful of peanuts to top your pad thai.
Do the same with a handful of fresh cilantro.
When your noodles are done, pour them into a colander and immediately rinse with cold water from the sink (to stop the cooking process and keep them from sticking together). Set aside. NOTE: You can run cold water over them again right before serving if they begin to stick again.
In a large saute pan, add 2-3 Tbs. of coconut oil and saute the onions, the white part of the scallions, carrots and white ends of the bok choy for 3 minutes or so over medium-high heat.
Now add the green parts of the bok choy, the broccoli and the mushrooms and continue to saute until soft.
Add your sauce and stir to coat. Cook for about 4 minutes more until most of the sauce has soaked into the veggies.
Turn the burner down to medium-low and stir in 14 oz. of coconut milk. Cook until the sauce reduces and begins to thicken, approximately 3-4 minutes. If you have them (we didn't... sad face), add 1 cup of mung bean sprouts at this point.
Once the sauce thickens a bit, you're done! Turn off the burner, then add the noodles and peanuts directly to the saute pan and mix thoroughly. 
Garnish with the green part of the scallions and the fresh cilantro. Serve with a few lime wedges
on the side for extra flavor!

Do I sense an "Asian Night" in your near future?

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  1. Brilliant step by step Lauren..one of the best I have ever seen!
    I used to use the same principle as the kids were growing up: 'garbage pail salad (meaning 'last stop before the garbage'!) 'everything soup' etc. Super to see new tricks with Pad Thai!
    Thanks : )

    1. So glad you liked it! I'm becoming better and better at using things up instead of letting them go to waste! Love that you had made sweet little Andrea "Garbage Pail Salad"! Love that! Thanks for reading, Viki!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Janelle! It was surprisingly simple! :)