‘I think I’m going to need a bigger bowl.’
Somewhere along the halfway cooking point, I realized I’d overdone things as usual, and what I intended as a little rainy day snack had turned into a meal fit for a party. With two types of noodles, 4 cups of chopped and shredded vegetables, multiple entries from the bean family, as well as peanuts two ways, I suspect this dish will supply me with lunch and dinner for a week, with plenty packed in the freezer for later.
This dish starts as Vegan, but easily lends itself to the cooked proteins and scrambled eggs associated with more traditional Pad Thai dishes. You can make this completely gluten-free using Tamari in place of the Soy Sauce. I love the peanuts in this dish, but for those with nut allergies, toasted and ground sunflower or sesame seeds bring a similar richness to the dish.
Vegan Pad Thai-Inspired Noodles
Copyright 2016 by Lauren Bradford
(aka The Food Puzzler)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 15-20 people
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 scallions, each rinsed, ends trimmed and cut into three pieces
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 package edamame noodles (I used Explore Cuisine’s organic brand, available at Market Basket in the pasta aisle)
1 package rice noodles
4 cups water
2 tbsp PB powder plus 1 tbsp peanut butter
3-5 cloves of garlic depending on size, sliced
3 tbsp peanuts plus more for garnish
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 package tofu of choice, water pressed out and chopped into small dice
1 package (about 3 cups) shredded carrots
1 each zucchini and summer squash, spiralized
1 package (about 4 cups) bean sprouts
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons Sesame oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tbsp garlic powder (half for the pasta water)
1 tbsp salt (half for the pasta water)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and scallions, trim and cut the scallions into three pieces each, and place on one sheet pan.
3. If you purchase pre-cut butternut squash, cut into even pieces if needed and place on the other sheet pan. If you have a whole squash, cut in half width-wise and then length-wise, and remove the seeds. Peel one of the quarter pieces and dice into relatively even size. The pieces and quarters will cook fine for these purposes all together on one sheet pan.
4. Coat the items on both pans in 1 tablespoon of the oil, enough just to coat, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and garlic powder.
5. Roast at 350 degrees, with the chickpeas and scallions being done in about 15 minutes and the squash in about 25 minutes. Reserve on the sheet pans, you can even keep them both in the oven with the oven off.
6. While these items roast, in a large pot bring the water to a boil with 1 tablespoon each of the salt and garlic powder. Cook the edamame noodles to package directions but don’t drain, just remove the noodles, place on your serving platter and toss with 1 teaspoon each of the soy sauce and sesame oil to prevent sticking.
7. Then, place 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, and the two tablespoons of peanut butter powder in the pasta water and stir to combine. Place the rice noodles in this mixture, pressing gently to submerge the noodles. Cover, turn off the heat, and let the noodles sit.
8. After about 5 minutes, the noodles should be done and most of the pasta liquid will be absorbed. Test the noodles for doneness, then stir to combine everything fully. Transfer the rice noodles and all remaining liquid (it will be absorbed by the still-warm pasta) to the platter with the edamame noodles and combine.
9. Scrape down the sides of this same large pan, so the rice starch doesn’t burn, and now place in it the remaining 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil, garlic, lime zest, and peanuts, remaining salt and the red pepper flakes. Cook on a medium-low heat until the garlic is softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
10. Add the tofu cubes, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and the lime juice, and continue cooking until the tofu is warmed through. Then add the zucchini, summer squash, carrots and sprouts, and with two large spoons begin tossing to cook them evenly, about 10 minutes.
11. Add in the squash, chickpeas and scallions, and toss to combine.
12. Remove from the heat and spoon onto the platter. Top with additional roasted peanuts, if desired.