A few weeks back my friend Briana and I hosted a workshop entitled “Getting adventurous with your veggies”, which aimed to empower attendants with nutritional knowledge and practical skills to encourage and enable them to get a little more adventurous with their veggies.
I’m a huge fan of eating loads of vegetables and I know from my own personal experience as well as talking to others that it can be hard to think of exciting and interesting ways to prepare vegetables. And when you’re not used to eat them – particularly if you eat a lot of processed, sugary or salty foods – fresh or plainly cooked veggies aren’t that exciting. I remember when growing up, I used to hate “new potato” seaso, when Dads crop of freshly harvested spuds would find their way onto our dinner plates steamed a la naturale, rather than in their usual form of mashed with a good splash of full cream milk, dab of butter, and liberal dosing of salt.
Nowadays I love fresh veggies – the fresher the better! – but from past experiences I can completely understand where this notion that “vegetables are boring” comes from. So if this is you – or if you are a fan of veggies but just a bit stuck on ways to cook them – then this ones for you.
This dish incorporates vegetable noodles mixed with some shredded cabbage and capsicum, plus some fresh herbs, seeds, and a deliciously creamy yet light sauce. We made this for the guests at our workshop and it was a hit!
I’ve used tofu as my protein but you could use whatever you want here – tempeh, prawns, chicken. We kept the pad thai a little simpler at the workshop and just used veggie noodles with seeds and the sauce, but I’ve made a bit more of an effort here to make the dish a more colourful. We eat with our eyes first and if a meal is visually appealing it can more enticing to eat, so lately I’ve been trying to put more effort into presentation of food. Further, different coloured vegetables have different nutritional content, so it’s important to eat a variety of different coloured veggies to ensure you’re getting maximum nutritional benefit.
Vegetable noodle pad thai
100g firm tofu, sliced
2 medium zucchinis, spiralised
1 large carrot, spiralised
1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage
1/2 smal red capsicum, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh mixed herbs (coriander, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint)
2 spring onions, sliced
¼ cup chopped nuts (peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds)
½ Tbsp coconut oil
Pad Thai sauce
¼ cup coconut milk
1 heaped Tbsp natural peanut butter or unhulled tahini
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp fish sauce, optional
Make the sauce by adding all ingredients in a small bowl and stirring until combined and smooth.
Heat coconut oil over medium to high heat. Add tofu and fry a few minutes until starting to brown. Add zucchini, carrot, cabbage, capsicum and half the spring onion. Stir well to coat. Add the sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, around 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve topped with the remaining spring onion, fresh herbs, nuts and a small handful of bean sprouts.