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Meatless Monday - Pad Thai

Posted May 18 2009 10:34pm
Mark Bittman has started a movement with his book Food Matters called lessmeatarianism. I like it. We're jumping on the lessmeatarian bandwagon. The concept is simply to eat less meat - not to eliminate meat from your diet, but to shift back to a more plant based diet where meat is not the central focus. Want reasons for doing it? Read Bittman's Food Matters or Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Bittman and Pollan both champion the health benefits of eating more plants and less meat, and Bittman goes a step further and makes an argument for eating less meat helping in a bigger environmental picture.

We're not giving up meat - confirmed omnivores here - just eating less of it. So, a couple of nights a week we have vegetarian (or at least meatless) dinners. One of my go-to meatless meals is Pad Thai. We had never tried Pad Thai before making the lessmeatarian jump. I'm on a search for good, easy vegetarian recipes - especially ones that don't use beans as a base - and this dish jumped out at me.

Pad Thai is great because it's so customizeable. Don't like cilantro? Leave it out! Rather not use fish sauce? Fine! In the mood for shrimp? Toss them in! My current Pad Thai recipe is a combination of a couple of different ones. I'm a Pad Thai novice, and I suspect that my Pad Thai is not very authentic, especially as I don't use tamarind sauce. Still, it's good, and most of the time (but not all of the time) the kids like it too.

Here's my version. If you haven't tried Pad Thai before, hope you give this a try! It's super fast to pull together and very tasty!

Pad Thai

8 oz Pad Thai rice noodles
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped green onions (more if desired) + a little extra for garnish
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
roasted peanuts for garnish

4 TBSP lime juice
3 TBSP fish sauce
3 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP sugar
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Heat wok or pan over high heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil and scramble the egg. Remove egg from heat and set aside. Add a couple of more teaspoons of oil and saute the green onions and garlic a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and add sauce, noodles, eggs, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Toss well. Heat through and serve. Garnish with roasted peanuts and green onion.

Do you have a Pad Thai variation that you love? Or how about a go-to vegetarian meal? If you do, I'd love to hear about it!
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