Many years ago, back in my not-quite-vegan days, I would order Pad Thai at every opportunity. While it is easy to veganize by omitting the eggs, the noodles alone contain way more carbs than I prefer to eat in a day. Then there’s the sauce–which is normally made with cane sugar (more carbs) and peanut butter (the full fat kind, which–depending on the restaurant in question–is likely to be the commercial type–made with hydrogenated oil). I’ve made Pad Thai before (once from scratch and other times from a box) and always used natural peanut butter–but to achieve a result that actually tastes like peanuts it’s pretty necessary to use a generous amount which can result in caloric overload (upwards of 200, just from the peanut butter alone). I’ve started making pasta dishes with Shirataki noodles, and today I was thinking about Thai food and lamenting the fact that Pad Thai wouldn’t be the same without the noodles. And then I had the sudden epiphany that Shirataki noodles could replace the traditional rice or wheat noodles, and other substitutions could be used (i.e. stevia in place of cane sugar and defatted peanut flour to omit the need for peanut butter–giving the dish a noticeable peanut flavor without the fat gram overload).
Shirataki noodles are the perfect paleo alternative to wheat or rice noodles because they are made from “konjac yams” (the root of the Konnyaku Imo, a plant native to Japan)–which are essentially calorie free because your body can’t digest them (though they are edible, I assure you). If you haven’t used Skinny Shirataki noodles before, or don’t know where to purchase them–you have a few options. Most brands can be purchased online but I’ve only seen one brand at the grocery store (House Foods Tofu Shirataki), in the refrigerated tofu/soy product section and/or next to other types of fresh Asian-style noodles.
I would recommend using the fettuccine-style Shirataki if you buy one of the products by House Foods, since they bear the closest resemblance to the traditional Pad Thai noodle. Other brands are sold online, such as Miracle Noodle.
Or just visit the Paleoveganista online store for several options regarding the availability of Shirataki noodles. They are all good; I have never been upset with any brand :)
Skinny Pad Thai
8oz package Skinny Shirataki noodles (drained and rinsed)
16oz (2 cups) shredded purple cabbage
16oz (2 cups) grated carrots
12oz (1 1/2 cups) french-cut green beans (I used frozen)
16oz (2 cups) fresh spinach
8oz (1 cup) fresh mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup diced grilled or marinated tofu, optional
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. You can buy this premade or diy using raw / unhulled sesame seeds (toast them in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden).
Ingredients for the sauce
1 cup defatted peanut butter powder (PB2 is the only brand I’ve found at a grocery store, but you can buy defatted peanut flour
–which is basically the same thing–in bulk online for cheap).
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup warm water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves garlic, diced fine
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
a pinch or two of stevia, to taste (optional) *Note: be careful with this; it’s easy to add too much stevia, which can easily ruin a dish.
1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (or more, according to your spiciness tolerance/preference)
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal)
Optional Toppings / garnish
1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts or cashews
1-3 tsp chili garlic sauce, or 1/2 tsp. or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste
3 green onions, sliced
And of course, sriracha sauce (if you’re as obsessed with the stuff as I am)
Cook Skinny Shirataki Noodles according to the instructions on the package (this may vary depending on the brand you buy).
While the noodles are cooking, use a food processor or blender to combine the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and let sit for a few minutes to allow the flax seeds to work their magic (thicken the sauce).
Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir in the other ingredients. Serve garnished with mung bean sprouts, green onion, slice of lime, and garlic chili sauce or sriracha (if you like things extra spicy). Enjoy your freshly-prepared, vegan and paleo-friendly Skinny Pad Thai.