For me, there are few things more crave-worthy than a big bowl of pad thai, but most of the pad thai options at restaurants are loaded with allergens, grains, and sugar. Over the years, I’ve created what seems like hundreds of iterations of pad thai, swapping in different nut butters, herbs and noodles, but this combination has earned the title of the best grain free pad thai I’ve created to date.
The base of any good pad thai revolves around the nut butter. Classically, pad thai has a peanut base, but as many folks avoid peanuts, other varieties have become more and more common. I really love the flavor that cashew butter brings to this dish. Cashew butter is very rich and akin to tahini in many ways, adding a lot of depth to the flavor. It also easily incorporates into the sauce.
Grain Free Vegetable Pad Thai
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 12 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- 1 medium sweet potato, spiralized
- 2 Tbsp Gopal’s Organic Cashew Butter
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
- 2 t Red Boat Fish Sauce (optional)
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup snap peas, chopped
- 1/4 cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large pan, heat bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil
- Reduce heat to medium, add sweet potato noodles, cover and cook 3-4 min, adding water as needed, until just tender
- In a bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp water, cashew butter, coconut aminos, fish sauce (optional), lime juice, lime zest and salt and pepper to taste
- Remove top from sweet potatoes and add sauce, cabbages, spring peas & peppers then toss to combine and cook 3-4 min
- Remove from heat, add most of herbs and toss to combine
- Scoop onto plate and garnish with remaining herbs
- Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
- Calories: 199.0
- Sugar: 9.7
- Sodium: 325.1
- Fat: 8.1
- Saturated Fat: 1.6
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.2
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 28.2
- Fiber: 4.7
- Protein: 5.6
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, oil free, soy free, vegan
The variety of nut butters available is pretty incredible. If you can think of it, they’ve turned it into a nut butter. Some common options include peanut butter (obviously), almond butter, soy butter, cashew butter, sesame butter (tahini) and pistachio butter. Made correctly, a nut butter can be a very healthy way to incorporate all the benefits nuts have to offer into your diet.
A diet rich in nuts has been shown to protect against heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Nuts are abundant in phytochemicals that have been studied for their protective effects against colon, prostate and breast cancer (1).
Choosing the right brand is essential on your quest for the right nut butter. Studies have shown that many factors contribute to the nutrient content of a nut butter, including roasting temperature, grinding temperature and storage. We recommend choosing a raw blend that has not undergone the roasting process and has not been ground at high temperatures. This ensures retention of vital nutrients.
Additionally, nut butter is a notorious hideout for added sugars and unhealthy oils. Take a peek at the label of most mainstream, conventional nut butters and you’ll see sugar as a leading ingredient. It can take many forms, including cane sugar, dextrose, brown rice syrup and more.
Palm oil is also a common addition to many nut butters. While researchers have not reached a definitive answer on palm oil’s effects on our health, we do know that it is very detrimental to the sustainability of the land its grown and harvested on. We also know that adding oils adds a lot of fat to our diet. Other nut butters may contain partially hydrogenated oil, which contributes to the creamy texture but contains trans fats, which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease (2).
A sign you are on the right track is picking up a jar of nut butter and seeing only nuts listed in the ingredients. That is why we love Gopal’s Organic Raw Cashew Butter. The ingredients? Organic Raw Cashews. No roasting or heating, no added sugar, no added oils. It is certified organic and free of fillers an preservatives. And it tastes pretty darn good! (Like grab-a-spoon-and-eat-it-from-the-jar, good – not that I’ve ever done that…)
If you really want to go big on the benefits of nut butter, you can make your own. If you have a Vitamix, you literally just blend up some cashews with a bit of water and you’re there! You can add a little salt or spices to your taste.
Like I said, there are so many variations of a basic pad thai sauce. You can play with the nut butter to find the flavor profile you like best. Or if you’re cutting back on fat, cut the nut butter in half. This can also be made with a variety of noodles, so if you’re not avoiding grains, try an organic brown rice noodle. And, of course, play with the vegetable combinations or add some lean organic meat if your diet allows. Vegans or those looking to reduce sodium can skip the fish sauce.
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