Vegan Pad Thai

Well.. living with a food intolerance sucks. Lemmy tell you, I wish I could eat gluten/gliadin containing grains because that stuff is pretty delicious!

I found out I was gluten-intolerant 2 years ago after suffering a myriad of physical and emotional pain I had no idea could be attributed to what I ate! How scary is it that seemingly unrelated physical and psychological symptoms can be triggered by food intolerances? But could it be additives? Not eating enough sauerkraut? In our heads? GMOs? FODMAPS?

I find, though, there is a lot of skepticism since the mechanics and science of how a food intolerance triggers certain symptoms isn't as mainstream as the diet itself (and in my head I get a bit saucy and chalk up the criticism to people being afraid to discover their own intolerance hehe).

I basically (literally) fear for my life if I eat something with gluten in it. And it isn't easy to fully stick to my own instinct and knowing. There are all sorts of counter arguments and loved ones trying to imagine that I'm fine if I eat it - and unfortunately I break once in a while and convince myself that because beer is a fermented grain I can drink it without consequence.. Ya no. I cried and rolled around in extreme abdominal pain for days. Not to mention the insane mood swings!

All I can hope is that there grows a greater compassion amongst chefs and food purveyors to creating more options. No, not every establishment needs to be 100% nut free or coeliac friendly but it's time to get more aware of this important global awareness of people taking health into their own hands! If you're a food establishment that sticks to its guns and doesn't do substitutions, which I completely respect, please decline politely and become aware of what options are out there for those customers! Not only that but consider that if a group of friends are dining out, they're going to the place that accommodates all their dietaries (think of the money...)!

Finally, food brings so much joy into people's lives. It is up to us chefs to use our inherent creativity with food to provide everyone with something special.

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Noodle Phad Thai Sawad (Fried Noodles Thai Style)
vegan, nut free, grain free

NOTE: This recipe requires some prep but when all the ingredients are ready, it cooks really quickly!

8oz firm block tofu, crumbled
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp tamarind juice
2 1/2 tbsp dulse, soaked in 1/4 cup water then strained and chopped
2 tbsp tamari

125g sweet potato noodles aka cellophane noodles, cooked and tossed with 2 tsp sesame oil
1 large zucchini sliced into noodles using a mandolin or spiralizer

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion or 4 shallots sliced thinly
1 tsp dried ground chillies

200g mung bean sprouts
4 green onions, sliced into 1" pieces on a diagonal
4 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
1 lime popcorn capers (optional)

Mix crumbled tofu with honey, lemon juice, tamarind juice, chopped dulse and tamari. Set aside to marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

Cook the sweet potato noodles and slice zucchini. Toss together and set aside.

Have everything by the stove and heat up a large frying pan or walk on medium high heat. Heat the oil and fry the onions until golden. Add the chilies and toss quickly. Now add the tofu with its marinade and stir fry for 5 min. Add the noodles and fold everything together gently. Adjust for seasoning by adding more or less of one of the marinade ingredients to suit your taste! Warm through for about 5 min. Add bean sprouts and green onions and toss. Top with sunflower seeds and popcorn capers and serve immediately!

Making Tamarind Water
Making Tamarind Water
Pre-Soaking Dulse! So yum.
Pre-Soaking Dulse! So yum.
Marinate that tofu!
Marinate that tofu!
Making 'Zoodles' with a mandolin.
Making 'Zoodles' with a mandolin.
Zoodles, meet Sweet Potato Noodles.
Zoodles, meet Sweet Potato Noodles.
Fried capers are delicious and briny! Perfect for a seafood flavour without the seafood.
Fried capers are delicious and briny! Perfect for a seafood flavour without the seafood.
Cooking Onions!
Cooking Onions!
Strange brown sludge.
Strange brown sludge.
Feast time!
Feast time!