One-Skillet Vegan Pad Thai

Feature Recipe | One-Skillet Vegan Pad Thai  

Take my word for it….a quick description to tease your palette:  
A tangy sweet and sour sauce with a notable (and welcomed) kick of heat tossed with rice noodles, sautéed broccoli florets and pan-fried crispy tofu nuggets. Fresh ingredients – such as bean sprouts, cilantro and lime wedges – embellish this classic Thai-inspired dish and tease the senses.

Why this recipe: 

I grew up with limited exposure to ethnic dishes…some Chinese take-out here and there and certainly lots of pizza, but for the most part we followed the average Canadian diet with a mix of meat and veggies. I was excited to try Pad Thai (vegetarian-friendly) for the first time when Janik’s brother lived with us during the “dating chapter” of our lives. Unfortunately I don’t recall the details other then my mouth being on fire and gently protesting the copious amount of chili peppers LOL.  Since that day I’ve always wanted to make a mouthwatering Pad Thai-inspired noodle dish with a more tempered flavour profile – so here it is!  The mild, slightly sweet flavour of the white miso paste balances the savoury, umami-like flavour of the tamari sauce and heat from the chili peppers to produce a lovely sauce you’ll want to pour on just about anything. The tofu nuggets that crest this dish have a crispy exterior marked by a subtle note of rosemary – deliciously simple on its own but when paired with the crimson-coloured sweet and sour sauce it’s an explosion of flavour 😊

helping hand: 

This dish can be made using just one skillet – that is apart from the bowl used to soak your rice noodles 😊  For a hassle-free cooking experience with minimal fuss and cleaning be sure to follow these steps:

1/Pan-fry coated tofu cubes in skillet
2/Sauté broccoli florets in skillet.
3Prepare your sauce in skillet. 

Get inspired with these Vegan Rhapsody favourites:  
Since my kids are big fans of “oodles of noodles” I’m not surprised by the abundance of noodle-based dishes we’ve amassed in our recipe collection. These recipes have three elements in common:

Base:  noodles, rice or quinoa make up the ‘flavour foundation’ in each dish 
Sauce: from nut butter to juice, each sauce features a complex medley of flavours designed to tantalize the palette  
Protein Power: whether marinated or plain, unadulterated bean curd is at hand tofu takes center stage in each dish

Here’s a few of our favourite recipes for the noodle fan in you (or someone you know): 

Almond Butter Sauce with Crispy Tofu & Ramen Noodles
Thai-Style Peanut Sauce with Pan Fried Tofu & Noodles
Roasted Pineapple Sauce with Crispy Tofu 

Enjoy~

Ingredients

Noodles:

8-10oz pad thai rice noodles*

Crispy Tofu:

2 pkgs 350g extra firm/firm tofu rinsed and pressed, cut into cubes 

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt 

Olive oil (for pan-frying)

Sauce:

1/4 cup tomato paste**

1/4 cup white miso

2/3 cup tamari sauce

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tsp crushed red chili flakes 

This & That: 

Olive oil

1 large broccoli head, florets & thinly sliced stems

4 garlic cloves, minced

Himalayan pink salt

3 scallions, finely chopped

½ cup lose fresh cilantro 

½ cup  bean sprouts 

Garnish (optional):

Lime wedges

Roasted peanuts

Fresh cilantro

Bean sprouts

Method

Prep It

1/Prepare crispy tofu: 
-Add flour, cornstarch, dried rosemary and salt to a large plastic/Ziploc bag.
-Toss half the cubed tofu in the bag (approx. one 350g package). Seal the bag and shake until the tofu is evenly coated.
Important! You want to coat the tofu in two batches to prevent clumping.
-Add a few glugs of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (not smoking) transfer a batch of coated tofu cubes to the skillet one at a time – prevent them from touching one another as much as possible.
Important! Pan fry the tofu in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet. The end result will be crispier tofu!
-Pan fry the cubes until golden brown and crispy.
-Transfer the pan-fried cubes to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess grease. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm orcook at low heat (325F) to keep crispy.
2/Add a few glugs of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and sauté until well cooked – char is just fine😊 Set aside.
3/Add the sauce ingredients to a small prep bowl. Mix well; set aside.
4/Cook rice noodles as directed; set aside.

Make It  

1/Add a few glugs of olive oil to a skillet on medium-low heat. Toss in the minced garlic and cook briefly – just enough to soften it. 
2/Add in roughly half the sliced scallions and fresh cilantro – stir until it starts to wilt, no longer.  
3/Add reserved sauce mixture to skillet. Gently stir until the mixture starts to bubble. 

Serve It

1/Pour sauce over plated rice noodles. Top with sautéed broccoli florets, bean sprouts and remaining scallions & cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges (optional). 

Recipe Notes

*I tested this recipe using BRAND HERE organic brown rice noodles. Simple ingredients, great taste. Avoid cheaper rice flour-based varieties if you can!

**Don’t substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce or purée. Did you know: Tomato Paste is made by simmering tomatoes slowly for several hours. The result is a rich, thick sauce with intense tomato flavor. 
Tomato Purée is made by cooking tomatoes briefly to soften. The tomatoes are then processed until a thin sauce-like consistency is reached.

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About Meagan Lamontagne