This recipe has been a long time coming.
While doing some experimentation with my diet in the winter, I really missed our weekly takeout order of Pad Thai. Due to some restrictions, I wasn’t able to have it, so I decided to make a version that was friendly to my gut while still tasting delicious.
Spoiler alert: This is my new favorite Pad Thai recipe that trumps takeout every time. It’s that good!
Origin of Pad Thai
Pad Thai is believed to have originated in Thailand during World War II. It was born out of a combination of a rice shortage and Thailand’s prime minister wanting to create a national dish.
It’s traditionally made with rice noodles (which were borrowed from Chinese cuisine), egg, tofu, dried shrimp, and a salty-sweet-sour sauce. The sauce is usually made simply with palm sugar, tamarind, and fish sauce or soy sauce. You can find an authentic preparation here from Hot Thai Kitchen!
Our highly modified (not traditional) version is inspired by the flavors and concept of Pad Thai, but skips the rice noodles and includes nut butter and other ingredients in the sauce.
How to Make Noodle-Free Pad Thai
This recipe is simple, requiring just 30 minutes to prepare!
And LOOK at all those veggies! Noodle-free Pad Thai never looked so gorgeous and delicious.
To replace traditional rice noodles, I went with carrot “noodles,” collard greens, thinly sliced bell pepper, and cabbage. Look at all those gorgeous plants you’re going to eat!
And let’s not forget the sauce, which I played around with quite a bit until perfecting: almond butter, lime juice, coconut aminos (or tamari / soy sauce), maple syrup, and chili flake. That’s it! So simple, savory, spicy, sweet, and insanely delicious.
For more “oomph,” I added a bit of crumbled tofu to mock the egg in traditional Pad Thai, but this is completely optional, especially if you’re soy-free. I even included some options below for those looking for soy-free protein sources!
I hope you all LOVE this healthier Pad Thai! It’s:
This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you want something satisfying and healthy on the table FAST. It is delicious on its own, but it would pair especially well with these Thai Spring Rolls, Thai Yellow Curry with Mango, and Curry Roasted Cashews.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Noodle-Free Pad Thai (30 Minutes!)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 3 1/2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub tamari or soy sauce if not GF // plus more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flake (or sub 1 tsp chili garlic sauce- Huy Fong Foods brand)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup (12 g coconut sugar // plus more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (sub water or omit if low/no-fat)
- 1 medium serrano pepper (seeds + stem removed, thinly sliced // omit for less heat)
- 1 small bundle green onions (ends removed + thinly sliced)
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1 medium red bell pepper (cored and thinly sliced lengthwise)
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce if not gluten free // divided)
- 4-5 large carrots (peeled and ribboned with a vegetable peeler // ~4 cups packed)
- 6 leaves collard greens (large stems removed, stacked + thinly sliced // ~2 cups packed)
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger (optional // or 1/4 tsp ground ginger as original recipe is written)
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated turmeric (optional // or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric)
FOR SERVING optional
- Fresh cilantro
- Crushed peanuts / peanut sauce
- Red pepper flake
- If serving with tofu: Add tofu to a small mixing bowl and season with coconut aminos, chili garlic sauce (or pepper flake), and turmeric (optional). Stir and set aside.
- Add all sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime juice for acidity, coconut aminos for saltiness, red pepper flake or chili sauce for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water), pepper, onions, cabbage, bell pepper, and half of the coconut aminos for veggies (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written). Cook for 3 minutes, stirring/tossing frequently.
- Add tofu to a corner of the pan and sauté until slightly browned, stirring frequently – about 3-5 minutes.
- Add carrots and collard greens and remaining half of the coconut aminos for the veggies (1 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and stir. Sauté for 2 minutes. Then add Pad Thai sauce and freshly grated ginger and turmeric (optional).
- Sauté over medium heat until warmed through and collards are slightly wilted – about 3 minutes – stirring frequently.
- Taste and adjust flavor of dish as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, red pepper flake or chili garlic for heat, coconut aminos for saltiness, or lime juice for acidity.
- Divide between serving plates and enjoy. Serve as is or with peanut sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serves 2 as an entrée or 4 as a side.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without additional garnishes or toppings.
*This recipe is Pad Thai-inspired and not authentic. It is my healthier take on a classic dish I love and am always looking for ways to recreate.