I’ve always had a sweet spot for Pad Thai. Creamy noodles, crunchy sprouts, salty peanuts... plus a tangy sauce that nails sweet, salty, spicy and sour, all at the same time. This delicious salad is my summer version of that classic - packed full of vege, brimming with flavour, and using kelp noodles for a deliciously light twist.
The key to making this dish amazing is (a) choosing a rainbow of vege (the freshest you can find), and (b) the sauce. Oh that sauce. Think natural organic peanut butter (I’ve used this one from Chantal Organics here), combined with tamari, lime, garlic, chilli, ginger, and a dash of sweetness to round it out. Once you make this sauce you’ll be wanting to dip everything in it (fingers included). Yes this tasty Pad Thai Salad is…
If you’ve always loved Pad Thai but are keen to try something different (or just leave more room for dessert), this salad is for you. Take it to your next shared dinner, pack it up for work lunches, or just enjoy out on the deck while the sun is shining (like we do). Read more below, plus get my take on the purported perils of peanuts...
Peeling back the perils of peanut butter
The headliner of our sauce, peanuts, are actually a legume rather than a nut, from the same family as chickpeas, edamame and lentils. That means they’re a great source of protein (a quarter of their total weight), fibre, as well as those lovely healthy fats. Unfortunately there are often a few concerns raised around peanut butter, but by navigating your choices well you can have your peanut and eat it too.
The main worry most people have about peanuts is regarding aflatoxins. Because peanuts grow underground, often in moist conditions, they can easily attract two types of mold - Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. On their own these fungi aren’t so bad, but the downside is that they produce aflatoxins, a compound that has been shown to be carcinogenic particularly to the liver.
What is often not discussed however, is additional research which shows that aflatoxins only cause cancer whilst in the presence of high levels of protein, namely from casein (dairy milk). When researchers reduced casein intakes in animals from 20% to 5%, the ability of aflatoxin to cause cancer completely disappeared. Disappeared! So take out number one - if you're a PB lover and want to continue enjoying it (like me), best to avoid the dairy or at least reduce your consumption dramatically.
The second concern that is sometimes raised is that peanuts are one of the top eight most common allergens in humans. This list also includes dairy milk, fish, crustacean shellfish (lobster at the like), eggs, tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc), soybeans and wheat. Unless you’re specifically allergic to peanuts though (which you would know rather well given the acute anaphylactic shock that occurs on consumption), this concern is reasonably easy to allay. If you are allergic however or have family members who are, this recipe can easily be altered by substituting almond butter and/or tahini in place of the peanut butter.
Finally, many peanut butters, particularly in the United States, are made with peanuts that are genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides. They also often use very old peanuts, which increases the risk of fungi and aflatoxin, as well as rancidity. These big brand peanut butters are also generally heavily processed, with unnecessary sugars, refined salt, and other highly dubious fillers and flavourings added. The solution here is to choose a high quality certified organic brand of natural peanut butter instead (like this one I’ve used here). If the ingredient list is much longer than "organic peanuts" and "sea salt", it’s time to move on.
Back to our recipe at hand, I hope you love this delicious Pad Thai Salad. It's easy to tweak - I've included a bunch of vege substitutions below, as well as notes on making it more or less spicy, and of course swapping out the peanut butter for other alternatives (if you want to - but I'm telling you, it's sooo good with peanuts!).
I'd love to hear if you try it out. Leave me a comment below, take a pic and tag me over on Instagram (use @begoodorganics and #beoodorganics in the main caption and tag me in the image so I don’t miss you), or share your photo over on my Facebook page here.
Enjoy your nutty fresh goodness, and til next week, stay happy and well!
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Please note - if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements above, please read my notes below the recipe.
Takes 15 minutes
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4c bean sprouts
1 cup snow peas
1 red capsicum
2 spring onions (finely chopped)
1/3c organic peanut butter
1 lime (flesh and juice)
2 tbsp tamari
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown rice malt syrup
1/2 red chilli OR 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 cm ginger
Pinch sea salt
1 tbsp tamari
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
These crunchy, salty clusters are a deliciously affordable way to rev up your favourite salad or meal, as well as delightful on their own as a healthy, zero-sugar snack! Plus, only 3 ingredients to make and a breeze to whip up, as well as nut-free to boot.