Pad Thai is so delicious, even non-adventurous eaters seem to love it (could it be the familiar yet exotic peanut sauce?) and now that I’ve learned a carb-free, no-fry raw recipe I’m obsessed. It may actually be easier to make than traditional pad Thai; no boiling noodles, no frying, which means no cleaning up oil splatters or greasy pans, and very few ingredients. That’s why I decided to make an entire Raw Thai food menu for my date tonight: raw pad Thai and spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce. And because there is no meat or dairy, and it doesn’t have to be kept warm or cold it’s easy to make some, or all, of the meal ahead leaving me more time to spend with my date!
Last week (I’m telling you raw food lasts!) I whipped up Stacy Stower’s recipe for raw peanut sauce so that’s all ready to go. The funny thing is, the recipe contains no peanuts perfect for those with allergies who still love the tasty nut. Raw almond butter is actually the main ingredient giving this recipe a massive calcium boost—almond butter has 111 milligrams per two tablespoons while peanut butter has only 16 milligrams!
1 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons fresh peeled and chopped ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
3 tablespoonds tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 small garlic cloves
1/2-1 serrano pepper (you can use any spicy pepper. Jalapeno is
another good choice)
Mix all ingredients in a blender. Add more water if you prefer a thinner dip/sauce.
With the peanut sauce out of the way, it’s time to prep the pad Thai. For the “noodles” I julienned a yellow squash, zucchini, carrot, and green papaya using a handy julienne peeler and tossed the veggies with a mixture of lemon juice, tamari, and olive oil. But don’t do this too far ahead or the squash and zucchini will get mushy! The papaya on the other hand, is heartier and can be marinated ahead. When my date arrives all I have to do is layer my veggie “noodles” on top of a bed of mixed greens, toss on a few cherry tomatoes and diced avocado, drizzle with the peanut sauce, and sprinkle on a few raw cashews.
Another benefit of these raw Thai food recipes is the way you can reuse ingredients for both parts of the meal, which for the spring rolls include: spring roll wrappers, lettuce leaves, tomato, avocado, and the veggie “noodles.” For the spring rolls I went a little un-raw and used rice paper wrappers but, if you want to stay 100 percent true to the diet, use romaine hearts to make lettuce wraps instead.
Before raw week began, I had never worked with rice paper wrappers before so Stacy taught me a few tricks (get more here along with photos). First, to soften the wrappers you run them, one at a time, under warm water just until they still feel a little too hard so the slippery suckers don’t get too sticky. The warppers will soften as you work with them. Second, under fill your spring rolls and keep the filling toward the center. Check out the picture above. See how there’s a boarder all the way around the filling? Next, take a few nicely colored, un-marinated, julienned vegetables and lay them along the bottom. This is just for looks as they show through the wrapper. On top of that, layer a few torn lettuce leaves, a slice of avocado, sliced tomatoes, and a little bit of marinated veggie “noodles.”
To wrap the spring rolls, fold up the bottom first and tuck it tightly around the filling. Fold the two sides inward pulling tightly and then roll upward. It’s a lot like rolling a burrito and the trick is to wrap tightly, otherwise your spring rolls will be floppy! Check it out, they are so cute! I was pretty proud of my first spring roll (pictured left). I’m pretty sure my date will be dazzled.
Tonight, all I have to do is plate my pad Thai, and put out the additional peanut dipping sauce to go with the spring rolls when my guest arrives. If there’s any left that’s what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow! Once assembled, these recipes last just a few days. Maybe he'll take home a doggy bag! Now all that remains is to decide what drink to make…probably one of these raw cocktail recipes. Too bad margaritas don’t really go with Thai food!
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.