One of my favorite guilty pleasures is ordering in pad Thai and eating it while curling up on the couch and watching a good movie. Whenever I do this, it always feels like such an indulgence—which it is, because the ingredients used are far from healthy. But the last time I was curled up indulging in my big bowl of pad Thai, I realized I could easily whip up the dish myself using organic, high-quality ingredients that make it taste just as delicious, but much healthier.
The recipe I came up with is protein-packed, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free and low-sodium, plus it has no preservatives, added sugars or processed ingredients. Now I can curl up on my couch with a bowl of Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai without feeling like I am indulging!
Before you get to cooking this recipe, let’s chat about three key ingredients!
You’re probably wondering, “How is this recipe vegan and protein-packed?” Well, did you know there are many plant-based foods packed with protein? Just because a food doesn’t contain animal products, that doesn’t mean it can’t be protein-packed! So, what’s in this Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai that makes it so “protein-packed”? Edamame! Rather than using regular wheat or rice noodles, I swapped in edamame noodles. One serving of edamame noodles contains 24 grams of protein! Most plant-based protein sources are not considered complete proteins, as they do not contain all nine essential amino acids and have to be combined with other foods to form a complete protein. I love edamame is because it’s one of the only plant-based proteins that contains all amino acids and is considered a complete protein, just like animal protein sources.
I personally try to stay away from soy sauce. It not only contains gluten, GMOs and toxic additives like MSG, but it’s also heavily processed and extremely high in sodium. When cooking this Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai, I always use gluten-free tamari instead. It has a much smoother taste and provides many health benefits, unlike soy sauce. It’s rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, contains much less sodium and can help with digestion. Another great alternative for soy sauce is coconut aminos, which is also packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and can easily be used in this recipe in place of tamari.
Is peanut butter healthy for you or not? The truth is, it all depends on the type of peanut butter you buy! To keep my Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai as clean as possible, I always choose a peanut butter with peanuts being the only ingredient. Believe it or not, most peanut butters contain more than just peanuts. Many times, the peanuts they’re made from have been roasted in fattening oils, like palm or vegetable oil. They’re also typically high in sodium and contain added sugars. But what makes peanut butter even worse is that non-organic peanut butter can contain toxic pesticides and fungus. Yuck! That’s why I always stick with organic peanut butter when making this Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai.
Check out the video below to see this Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai recipe come to life!
Protein-Packed Vegan Pad Thai
1 package edamame noodles*
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 cup chopped red pepper
½ cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. coconut oil
½ cup peanut butter*
1 tbsp. sriracha
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ginger powder
2 to 3 tbsp. gluten-free tamari*
1 tbsp. raw honey*
1 tsp. salt
Cook noodles according to box directions. While noodles are cooking, melt peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften. Add all sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and stir until well-combined. Set aside. Add coconut oil to a heated pan on the stove. Once melted, add chopped cabbage, red pepper and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cooked noodles and sauce to the pan with the vegetables and stir until evenly coated.
Makes 6 servings