September 22nd, 2013

Everyday Pad Thai

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Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes || Active time: 30 minutes

Everyday Pad Thai
Photo by Vanessa Rees

Here it is: the quintessential sweet and sour Thai noodle. Also, the key to my heart. If I didn’t think it would give me some sort of vitamin deficiency, I’d probably eat Pad Thai for every meal. This recipe introduces my super top secret ingredient. (Um, as usual it’s miso.) It adds a bit of fermented depth that mimics traditional fish sauce. I have a recipe for Pad Thai in Vegan With A Vengeance, but this one is from Isa Does It, which means…it’s much, much, simpler! We’ll get back to the recipe in a sec, but first I have to share my excitement about the new book.

We are exactly a month away from the release of Isa Does It and in many ways, this feels like I’m releasing my first cookbook ever. After all, it is my first full-color, hardcover book! Perfect for gift-giving, coffee tabling, and yeah, even cooking from.

So I’m hoping that you love it as much as I do. And I don’t forget for a second that I couldn’t have written it without you. I am grateful for all of the feedback and support as well as the ideas and inspiration I get from you guys. There’s something so motivating about putting up a recipe and having someone far away prepare it only hours later. It warms my cold, gothic heart.

In addition to saying “thank you”, I’m giving away this cool Isa Does It tote for preodering the book (USA only.) All you have to do is forward your preorder receipt and your mailing address to and boom, the perfect vehicle for hauling your veggies in your hot little hands.

Isa Does It Tote

Full details here. So if you haven’t already, please do preorder, and if you already have, no worries, you can still get the tote. Yay!

And now….back to the Pad Thai.

Usually Pad Thai is made to serve, one order at a time. But if I have no one to impress, I’m not going through the trouble. It isn’t exactly authentic, but it gets the job done with common ingredients and has a great balance of sweet, sour, spice and salty. And if Sriracha and miso are not common ingredients to you, they definitely will be after digging in to this!


~Rice noodles come packed in all different quantities and nothing seems to be consistent. I think that 8 oz is just about perfect. If you have a package that is more than that, I would suggest making all of the noodles and using the leftovers in a salad the next day. Perhaps with some Peanut Sauce? But more than 8 oz make it really difficult to stir the noodles properly.

~To get this done in 30 minutes, start the water boiling for the noodles the second you step through the door. Be really careful not to overcook them. Most packages say to boil water, then turn the heat off and soak the noodles for 8 or so minutes. That seems to work perfectly for all brands, no matter what the cooking directions say. Set a timer so that you don’t overcook because they will disintegrate on you. Once cooked, immediately drain them and run under cold water to stop from cooking any further. Follow those steps and you will have perfect noodles every time!

~I prepare this dish all in one pan. While the tofu browns, I prep everything else. Then remove the tofu and prepare the rest. You might save a little time by using 2 pans, but this method has served me well over the years.

~You can follow these directions for perfectly browned tofu, if you’ve had any tofu issues in the past.


8 oz pad thai rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, immediately rinsed with cold water and cooled (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
14 oz tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups brocolli florettes and thinly sliced stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups scallion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
4 oz mung bean sprouts

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari to make this gluten-free)
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons mellow white miso
1/4 cup water

To serve:
3/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Extra lime wedges


First make the tofu. You’ll need a large cast iron pan, or something non-stick that can take very high heat. Preheat pan over high heat. Once pan is good and hot, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot the pan, otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 7 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

In the meantime, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. The miso may not completely dissolve, but that’s okay, just get it as smooth as possible.

When tofu is browned, transfer it to a plate and cover gently with tin foil to keep warm. In the same pan, cook the broccoli in 2 teaspoons oil with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pan in between stirring, to get it to cook faster. It should take about 5 minutes, and be lightly charred in some places. Transfer to the same plate as the tofu.

Now we’ll cook the sauce. Lower heat to medium. Cook the garlic in the remaining oil very briefly, about 15 seconds. Add the scallion and cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Now pour in about half the sauce and get it heated through.

Add the noodles and toss to coat. Then add back the tofu and broccoli, the mung beans and the remaining sauce, and toss to coat.

Serve immediately, topped with peanuts and lime wedges, plus extra cilantro if desired.

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