Do you remember your first bite of pad Thai? I don’t remember exactly when or where mine took place, but I vividly remember my omg-where-has-this-been-all-my-life reaction to the first bite. Hello, spicy peanutty goodness.
It happened sometime during college, as did so many other first food experiences. My super picky younger self had survived on granola bars, two-ingredient salads and pizza throughout high school. In college, my friends introduced me to all the cuisines I’d been missing out on in bland suburbia: Indian buffets! Pad Thai! Vegetarian sushi!
I’ve eaten my fair share of pad Thai in years since. I’ve never tried making it at home, though, so I couldn’t resist this fresh, vegetable “noodle” spin on pad Thai in David and Luise’s new cookbook, Green Kitchen Travels: Healthy Vegetarian Food Inspired by Our Adventures.
This recipe is fresh, unique and delicious. It’s far from traditional pad Thai, which features rice noodles cooked in a sauce made with tamarind pulp and fish sauce. This is David and Luise’s creative interpretation of traditional pad Thai, and it doesn’t require the ingredients that can be hard to find in regular American grocery stores.
You may already be familiar with the couple’s blog, Green Kitchen Stories, which offers stunning, produce-driven recipes. David offered me a copy a while back, so I eagerly tore into the envelope when it finally landed on my doorstep. That’s when I had another omg-where-has-this-been-all-my-life reaction, but this time to a cookbook and its contents.
This book is gorgeous, you guys. Like, I want to make a cookbook but no cookbook of mine will ever compare to this book’s beauty. They filled it with photos of their travels and recipes inspired by said travels. (They snuck in a few of their adorable little Elsa, too.) It’s a coffee table-worthy cookbook that has been brightening up my kitchen island for days.
It took me a little while to turn carrots, daikon and zucchini into noodles with my julienne peeler, but there is no actual cooking required, so it came together fairly quickly. Once you have your vegetables and tofu prepped, you just whip up that zippy peanut dressing and toss.
I mentioned this in the recipe itself, but you’ll definitely want to store the “noodles” and dressing separately if you won’t be eating it all at once. The sodium in the dressing pulls out the moisture in the noodles so you don’t want to let them sit for too long. Otherwise, you’re good to go!
Kuhn Rikon julienne peeler, for turning vegetables into noodles
Microplane zester, for grating fresh ginger
No Noodle Pad Thai
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 generous servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Thai
A light, healthy take on pad Thai that uses raw vegetable noodles instead of rice noodles! Daikon, zucchini and carrot ribbons tossed in savory peanut sauce makes this salad-y dish irresistible. This meal is gluten free and easily made vegan.
- ¾ pound daikon radish, peeled
- 4 medium carrots, peeled
- ½ pound zucchini (or replace with an additional ½ pound bean sprouts)
- ½ pound (8 ounces) bean sprouts
- 4 green onions, finely sliced (white and green parts)
- 12 to 14 ounces organic extra-firm tofu, drained and very gently squeezed of excess moisture
- 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably black, plus extra for serving
- 4 small wedges of lime, for serving
- ½ cup peanut butter or almond butter
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- About 3 tablespoons water, to thin
- Prepare the vegetable noodles: Use a julienne peeler, mandoline, spiralizer or regular peeler to create noodles out of the radish, carrots and zucchini, if using. Transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl. Add the bean sprouts, onions, chopped cilantro and sesame seeds to the bowl.
- Slice the tofu: Halve your slab of tofu lengthwise through the middle so you have two large, 1-inch thick slabs. Stack the slabs on top of each other and slice them into 4 columns lengthwise, then turn the tofu and slice across the columns to make ¼-inch wide squares of tofu. Gently transfer the tofu to the serving bowl.
- Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary—the sauce should taste very bold at this point. (I added an extra little splash of tamari.)
- If you will not be serving all 4 portions immediately, portion off the amounts of vegetable/tofu mixture you need for now. Drizzle in enough dressing to coat the portioned amount. Use your hands to gently toss the mixture until every single strand is coating in dressing. Serve pad Thai with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of extra chopped cilantro and sesame seeds. Store leftover vegetable/tofu mixture separately from the dressing and dress just before serving.
Recipe minimally adapted from Green Kitchen Travels: Healthy Vegetarian Food Inspired by Our Adventures by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.
Make it vegan: Substitute agave nectar for the honey.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use tamari, which is gluten free, instead of another soy sauce.
Prepare in advance: David and Luise suggest that the salad and peanut sauce, stored in separate containers, can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.
If you love this recipe: You’ll also love my Thai Mango Cabbage Wraps with Crispy Tofu and Peanut Sauce, Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles, Peanut-Sesame Slaw with Soba Noodles and Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce.
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
What a gorgeous salad. I love pad thai, but it can certainly be a real calorie bomb. Digging this healthier version!
Absolutely delicious! This is a keeper for sure.
Thank you, Gina!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
This is definitely my kind of meal. I love the look of that book too! There are so many yummy recipes appearing on blogs, and they all looks fabulous!
Katie (Veggie and the Beast)
That picture of Cookie! I love it!
Also love the sounds of no-noodle pad thai. I’ll need to check out their new book. Great photos!
Sara @ Cake Over Steak
This looks so great! I’ve tried the noodle-free pad thai from Minimalist Baker and loved it, so I will have to try this one as well. And I neeeeeed that cookbook!!!
That picture of Cookie is priceless! I’m a big fan of Pad Thai, but the versions I’ve had have been mostly noodles – LOVE this all vegetable version…
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
Oh goodness, this is gorgeous! I also had my first bite of Pad Thai in college, while living in Australia. It was a game changer for me! Now, give me allll the peanut sauce!
As usual, Cookie steals the show (and now I know what to make with my new peeler!).
Thanks, Colleen! See you tomorrow.
Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
I actually HATED pad thai the first time I had it. I have no idea what I was thinking. I’m slightly ashamed ;) I love this healthified version, because as much as I love take-out, I probably shouldn’t eat it every day :)
Well, I’m glad you came around to pad Thai! So good.
Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen
Pad Thai felt so foreign to me when I first tried it (also, likely in college), yet now I eat it all the time. Totally loving this healthed-up version…it looks so fresh & beautiful!
It is DELICIOUS! So fresh and yummy. I gobbled up my portion. Perfect for a hot Summer evening. You are absolutely right about waiting to dress it just before eating, otherwise it would get watered down and soggy.
Thank you, Robin! Glad you enjoyed it!
valentina - sweet kabocha
I need a serious spiralizer in my life :3
You have to love vegetable noodles! What a great way to pack as many veggies as possible into a tangy, spicy dinner. I heart Thai food!
It’s been too long since I had Pad Thai though I actually remember the exact situation when I had it for the first time. This version sounds amazing. We can’t find daikon over here, though.
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
Oh my gosh.. I need this book, AND this dish! Pad thai is one of my favourites and like you said, I’m also very much upset by the fact that it took me so long to discover. The noodle-less one I make is usually just zucchini noodles, but I love the idea of spiralizing daikon and carrots too! And peanut sauce?! Don’t even get me started! ;)
Davida @ The Healthy Maven
I have been gawking over their recipes for years (and yours too of course!) so it’s due time I buy their book. Such a gorgeous and delicious recipe!
This recipe looks great and I’m excited to try it, especially the veggie noodles! But I did want to mention that this isn’t really a version of pad thai. The hallmark ingredients in pad thai sauce are tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar. Peanuts are just a garnish. I don’t say this be critical (and I realize the recipe originated elsewhere) – I’d just love to also see a real “healthy pad thai” recipe as well! Thanks for all you do creating, finding and researching these recipes :)
Thanks for pointing that out, Ashley! I thought something wasn’t quite right about peanut sauce and pad Thai, but I just went with the cookbook’s titling. I’ll work on that healthy, vegetarian, more authentic pad Thai recipe. :)
I’m making this for dinner tonight and I’m loving it so far! I only have one comment and its along the lines of Ashley’s. Next time I’m going to skip the honey and go for a sweetner that has less of a distinctive taste and is closer to palm sugar. Otherwise, awesome recipe! This is satisfying the needs of 2 beegans, one low carb dieter, and one non dairy-high protein-low fat dieter tonight. Thanks!
Thanks, Mary! Hope you all enjoyed it!
This recipe looks great!
I always thought “Pad Thai” was a dish with a tamarind-lime-sugarcane-like dressing?!
Saskia, you’re totally right! I didn’t question the cookbook’s titling of this recipe… but maybe I should have. Regardless, it’s a delicious Asian-inspired, noodley dish.
Wow ! This sounds totally divine. I have pinned it and definitely will be trying it….thank you :-)
Looks great! Thanks for ideas for great dinner;)
<3 I will certainly try this one very soon!<3
Wow! That’s healthy, delicious, colorful dish!
I love Green Kitchen Stories. I think I need to get this book! Love the idea of a no-cook pad thai. Your dishes always are so colorful and refreshing!
When you write that something will keep for a couple of days do you mean “a couple” meaning two, or do you mean “several” meaning 3-4?
Since I live alone, when I make something that contains four servings I am hoping (if I like it) to eat it once a day for the next 3 days unless it is something that can be frozen. I would, of course prefer a recipe for 1 or 2 servings!
Hi Ellen! I think you could easily divide this recipe by two. I use “a couple” to mean two or so days, and “several” or “a few” to mean 3 or 4. I have not actually stored the noodles separately from the dressing to see how long they last, so I just quoted the cookbook author’s suggestion.
Looks wonderful and so healthy!!!
That is such a super-cute picture of your pup!! This recipe – as everything in the book – looks perfect!
Tessa | Natural Comfort Kitchen
LOVE the GKS blog! Haven’t got my hands on the book yet, so thanks for sharing the recipe. Their food is so simple yet amazing–I’m always wondering how I missed some of the flavor combinations they use in their cooking.
I am SO excited to get the book! Everything that family creates is infused with an amazing amount of beauty. And this sounds so, so good. Wheee! Haha, have a great weekend, Kate :)
Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine
The first time I had pad thai… I ordered it without the peanuts because I have a serious allergy. Took a bite, and it was terrible- something tasted seriously not right. My dining partners didn’t agree, and gobbled it up. It was much, much later that I found out the sauce is made with tamarind- a relative of peanuts that I am also allergic to– double whammy!
But this recipe with lime juice instead of the tamarind could easily be adapted with almonds- and I’d love to try! Love the no noodle part :)
Uh oh! I’m glad this recipe could work for you. Please let me know how it turns out with almond butter!
Tia @ Tia's Kitchen
This sounds wonderful! I have problems with going out for Thai now that I have developed so many food allergies. The cross contamination gets me. And makes me sad because I LOVE Thai food. This will be great to make at home.
Just to let you know, as for the gluten free version, I have found tamari sauce with gluten in it. I don’t know why since it isn’t supposed to have it. It’s best to just tell people to use gluten-free soy sauce. You can find that.
Thanks, Tia! I am also surprised to hear about tamari with gluten in it. I have only ever seen San-J brand tamari and it is gluten free. Thanks for letting me know.
What would be a good substitute for daikon radish?
Hey Gabs, you could substitute zucchini for the daikon.
Daniëlle / Eet Echt
My first bite of Pad Thai.., was in Thailand.
I love it!
I loooveee pad thai, but it’s so hard to find a truly veg version! Love that this is raw and totally light with the veggie noodles, but still super big on flavor!
Priya @ Edible Uncomplicated
I’ve been wanting a spiralizer for a while, and this makes me want one even more! As soon as I get one, I’m going to try this recipe with cooked zucchini noodles.
This looks DELICIOUS and would be great for a packed lunch at work! I am not fond of plain tofu, unseasoned and uncooked. Did you find that it still had that raw taste, or did it pick up the peanut sauce? I wonder if it might be smart to marinate the tofu in the peanut sauce for an hour or so in the fridge? Or maybe use your crispy tofu instead. Hmmm…
Hey Kristen! I feel you on the plain tofu. I think you’d be better off skipping the tofu or adding crispy tofu instead!
How amazing! I love love pad thai and also remember thinking ‘what have I been doing?!’. Delicious and healthy take on one of my favourite dishes.
bev @ bevcooks
Hoooooow abouuuuuuut YES.
(had way too much fun with ya this weekend! AKA: I hurt.)
So fun! Let’s hang out again soon.
Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen
I shouldn’t look at your blog at dinnertime, Kate! Your pictures are just too good! I love all Thai food, especially when it involves a peanut sauce. This version looks great – and not too thick, thanks to the water. I’m excited to try it out!
I also don’t remember the exact place I had pad thai, but my reaction was exactly the same as yours. This looks like the perfect healthier version!
I love their book too and this is on my list of things to make!
I came across your blog while searching for vegetarian recipes and I absolutely love it! My boyfriend and I are just learning to cook and have been attempting your recipes almost nightly. We made a few of your drinks for friends this weekend too :) Can’t wait to try this new one. Thanks!
Courtney, that’s so great to hear! Thank you! I’m glad you guys found my blog.
I love it when Cookie gets in the act. I’m digging the idea of this, will have to get myself a copy of the book. And I bet your cookbook would (WILL!) be every bit as gorgeous.
Cookie is always acting up, so she makes it easy. :) Thank you, Heidi! Let’s catch up soon.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
Love this healthy, veggie loaded spin on Pad Thai – I’m pretty sure I could eat this for a week straight!
I made this for dinner last night and it is so so yummy! Today I put it in lettuce cups with lots of avocado and toasted peanuts on top for lunch, and tomorrow I’m going to use it as rice paper roll (spring roll) filling and the dressing as dippy sauce.. haha it will be like inside out pad thai!
just to note, I didn’t have enough PB so I used 50/50 PB and tahini and it worked great. I also didn’t have tofu, so I (gently) added in avocado instead
Made this for dinner. I thought it was kind of boring. I think it’s better as a starter salad, not as an entree. Tasted more like a vietnamese salad than thai.
I just bought Green Kitchen Travels myself and I’ve been poring over the pages every day for the past week! So far I’ve tried the gorgeous raw chia jam but I’m so excited to delve into more of the recipes. This pad Thai looks beautiful Kate. Such a great spin on a traditional version… much better for the body, too. I am sure that Luise and David would love your version of their recipe and the beautiful accompanying photos!! xx
Made this last night. I didn’t have peanut butter so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out with the natural almond butter I had on hand so I super cheated and used a ready-made Thai peanut sauce I had stashed for last-minute use. I’m not proud of that fact but I couldn’t wait to have the noodle-less pad thai. Oh my, the combo of veggies, the crunch, the colors, the flavors … it all screamed out HEALTHY. I love eating raw when I can. The flavors seriously burst in your mouth and this was no exception. I will definitely make this again very, very soon and make the peanut sauce in this recipe as I do try to make everything from scratch. And oh, husband and son loved it!!!!!!
The colors in this dish are lovely!! Whoa! I cannot wait to try this version of Pad-Thai!
I must tell you, I was on the bus yesterday reading this on my phone and I nearly cried! Sounds extreme over Pad Thai but I’m in my first trimester of my first pregnancy and last week I just started to think things like – I don’t know what to eat, meeting all my nutrition needs really well every day is so hard, I’m sick of cooking (I love to cook), my taste buds have gone funny, people questioning my vegetarianism etc. Just reading your infectious enthusiasm for this book and the recipes you dog-eared made me so excited about food again and filled me with a little quiet joy. Thanks.
Hey Gracie, thank you for your sweet comment! I’m glad my post could make you feel a little better. Sounds to me like you and your baby are doing great. Hang in there!
My fiance an I love your recipes and we’re excited to try this one!!
Regarding your cookbook comment, PLEASE make one! We would certainly love to purchase one (or a few)!
Thanks, Brent! Working on it! :)
I absolutely hate daikon so I used cabbage instead. It was delicious. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
Thanks, Joelle, glad you enjoyed it!
I wanted a quick Pad Thai that I could make in my kitchen and this was just it! For those of you who want to make this I subbed in Sriracha for the Red Chili, and Cinnamon/Allspice for the ginger and it turned out fine!
Thank you, Anna! Glad you enjoyed this one!
I’m a little apprehensive about making this dish, but that picture of cookie licking her lips won me over. Haha! Hilarious shot!
felicia | Dish by Dish
I just wanted to say that your blog is gorgeous! Love the photography and the light in your photos.
I’d love to include your No-Noodle Pad Thai in a vegetarian meals roundup that I’m preparing for Parade Magazine (to be published in Sept).
If you’re fine with it, could I use one of your photos with a linkback to your original post (https://cookieandkate.com/2014/no-noodle-pad-thai/)?
Let me know your thoughts & thanks so much in advance!
Thank you, Felicia! Yes, as long as you aren’t publishing the recipe, that’s fine! Thanks for the promotion!
I came across this meal while looking for a recipe to break in my new spiralizer. It was really fantastic! I used agave in place of the honey, and I also roasted my tofu in a little sesame oil. It doesn’t really remind me of traditional Pad Thai, but I think I like this better anyways. I would have taken a picture but we threw it down way too quickly. This will definitely be added to our rotation.
Thanks, Lisa! Glad you enjoyed this one! I just got a spiralizer, too. So fun.
Wow, this was a nice twist on dinner! Thanks for sharing this awakening taste buds recipe!
I modified mine to what I had available. I added Cucumbers, Pears, Yellow Onion. Replaced Sunflower Butter. Eliminated the Tofu & Green Onions. Yum!!!
Thank you, Constance!
Made this for dinner tonight… but- I did a hot version! Sauteed my tofu, added the “noodles” and sauce. It was great!
Sounds great to me! Thanks, Sarah!
Used my spiralizer for this and it was a hit! Thanks so much!
Hooray, thanks Amy!
this has been one of my favorite recipes for a while now! I add sliced jalapeños and a bit more red pepper flecks. I like it spicey. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes!
How would using tempeh instead of tofu work?
I’m not sure. I’ve actually never cooked with tempeh!
This was wonderful!! I added a few rice noodles, because why not!? Wonderful flavor and felt very hearty. Will definitely make again. Thanks!
I just made this and the dressing is so bloody amazing a keeper for sure, cannot wait to make a huge bowl for when the family is over I know they will devour it!
Made it. Loved it! Delicious sauce! I thinned it out quite a bit as it seemed a bit thick, and took your suggestion for another dash of braggs. Yummy!!!
I made this but I sautéed the veggies quickly. So good! Fresh healthy veggies, but flavourful and filling like a big bowl of noodles Thank you Kate! Can’t wait for the cookbook!
Thank you so much, Melissa! :)
I have been using this recipe for about a moth now and it is a huge hit with my entire family (Ages 50-16). We have pad Thai at least once or twice a week. I don’t typically care for peanut sauce but yours is very well balanced without too much of a peanut taste. Thank you for taking the time to create this! Christy from Ohio
I haven’t made it yet. I need to know first how many calories are in a serving. Could you please email me that?
Pad Thai is a favorite food of mine, so I couldn’t wait to try your recipe. I used raw almond butter for the sauce and was thrilled with the results! Thank you for another delicious recipe. I know I can count on you for wonderful meals!
So kind of you, Stephanie! Thanks so much.
Love it!! And maybe controversially I took it to work for lunch and heated it up in the microwave and it was amazing for a winters day!
Do you have the breakdown of nutrition for the recipe?
Hi, Sarah! I’m so glad you loved this. Unfortunately, I don’t have nutritional info available for my recipes just yet. I’m looking for a solution, and will update about it once I find one. In the meantime, here’s a nutrition calculator that might come in handy.
I made this the other day and added chickpeas(instead of tofu) and red cabbage shoe-stringed. This is now my go-to noodle free Asian dish, thanks!
I’m thinking a little orange zest could work for some variety…
Thanks for sharing, Dave! Sounds wonderful. I appreciate the review.
i think its great that you have recipes like this that are healthy alternatives, but for me as a chef of 30+ years, and someone who has lived and worked in Thailand overseeing Thai kitchens since 1992, i find your need to call this Phad Thai inaccurate and self-serving.
Phad Thai is not made with a peanut sauce, it is only garnished with chopped peanuts. Sate is made with a peanut sauce, and although the Thais have sate on their menu, it is not originally Thai.
I have never understood some folks need to call things what they are not, especially since this is such a huge bastardization of a classic dish. i know that the word Thai for many is great click-bait, but its misleading. why not simply call it Vegetable Noodles with Peanut Sauce and let it stand on its own merits? why teach your followers something that is not accurate and diminishes the original dish you refer too?
its like fake news, who needs it?
IMO, you do your followers a disservice by misinforming them.
Hi David, I appreciate your comment. I traveled to Thailand this spring and I recognize that this recipe is far from traditional. Your words left my cheeks burning, to be honest, and I feel compelled to defend myself a bit. This recipe (and recipe title) is straight from a fellow blogger’s travel-inspired cookbook. I agree that calling it pad Thai is a stretch. I do strive to clarify differences between my recipes and traditional recipes out of respect for the originating culture, and I could have done better with this recipe (I didn’t want to offend the recipe creators, but offending an entire culture is admittedly worse). So I’ve added better clarification of the differences between this recipe and the original. Best, Kate
Do you think this recipe would work with the crispy tofu from your cabbage wraps recipe?
Sure! Sounds like a great add-in.
This looks super delicious and I plan on making it tonight, but please note, this is not pad thai. Pad thai has a tamarind and fish sauce based sauce and ground peanuts on top – seasame, tamari, and ginger are never used.
I try to provide an authentic vegetarian version, while making it accessible to most cooks. Thanks for sharing!
Does the sauce get stored in the fridge? I just prepped this up for lunches this week and I can’t wait to try it tomorrow!
I would store it in the fridge, too.
Suggestions for calculating calories per serving minus the tofu? I’d likely add shrimp instead or no meat. I am on a calorie restricted diet and weigh my food :)
I would recommend putting the ingredients you use into an online calculator. Ones I have used are listed here: https://cookieandkate.com/nutrition-disclaimer/
The recipes are brilliant. Thank you so very much..
Thank you, Gerald!
we love your skills,
love it, thanks for sharing your recipe
You’re welcome, Anna!
Kate, I’m a HUGE fan of yours and I absolutely love all of your recipes! Every recipe I make from your blog is always a hit in our family. Just bought your cook book– really excited to try the recipes there!
My husband and toddler son are huge fans of pad thai, so looking forward to making this. Do you by any chance have a traditional take on pad thai (with the rice noodles, etc)?
Thanks so much for everything and for bringing so much joy to our dinner table!!
Hi! I don’t have a traditional one that you are referring to right now. Sorry!
This recipe is so good! It is my first try with my veggie noodle maker and it wont be my last! Thank you for this. Yum!!
I love this peanut sauce recipe!! I’ve made it numerous times and it’s always a hit! Perfect combination of all the flavors.
I’m glad you love it, Kirsten! Thank you for your review.
very nice and easy to make
My family LOVES this meal and it is fun and easy to prepare.
After the first time, we made a couple slight adjustments and sauté the ‘noodles’ and do the peanut sauce over medium heat instead of a mixing bowl.
This was delicious exactly as written and the first time I noodled a daikon radish . We didn’t miss traditional noodles one bit. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Lisa! I appreciate your review.