Meatless Monday - Pad Thai

>> Monday, May 18, 2009

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!


amy May 18, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

We are on the same page cathy! I have not heard of food matters though, so I guess I better add that to my list.
I have to admit though, If I were single, I probably would be vegetarian. Possibly even Vegan. But my husband made me promise I would prepare 10% of our meals (well dinner that is) with meat! We actually did make a pact this weekend. He was getting very nervous I would stop buying meat altogether.
Anyway, sorry I'm rambling, but I am on the hunt for some good vegetarian recipes too. I'm truly on the hunt for a good cookbook that has just bean recipes if anyone knows of any.

fatfighter May 18, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

Yum, looks delish! One of my favorite vegetarian main meals is a healthy version of Eggplant Parmesan from Cooking Light - email me if you want it. :)

The Happy Runner May 18, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

I'm right there with you! I'm a little more than halfway through Pollan's book and really like it. I feel so much better about my conscious food choices -- less meat, no (or shooting for no) hfcs, less processed junk.

The pad thai looks yum!

Kara May 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM  

We have at least one or two meatless dinners every week (and lunch is usually meatless), mostly for budget reasons! I should read Pollan's book and then feel justified and virtuous about it :-) The pad thai looks yummy - I always order it at restaurants, but have never tried to make it myself!

Melissa May 19, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

The chives add such a nice color! Looks delicious! :)

Health Advocate May 20, 2009 at 11:44 AM  

It's a great improvisation of the recipe...will love to cook it up,Thanks.

Lori May 20, 2009 at 11:49 AM  

I'm in too! Love the concept of lessmeatarianism. I haven't read that book yet, but In Defense of Food is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to finish Food Politics. :)I'm not giving up meat because I feel it holds valuable nutrients, however, I enjoy plenty of meat-free meals each week.

I haven't made Pad Thai on my own before. I definitely need to try this!

Dani May 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM  

I could be a lessermeatarian! I am going to make this recipe. I love Pad Thai but have never tried to make it at home. Now, to convince my husband every meal doesn't have to include meat, and that he won't starve if they don't.

Sagan May 25, 2009 at 3:24 AM  

I'm with you on not giving up meat but just eating less of it. This looks tasty!

MondayCampaigns May 25, 2009 at 8:15 AM  

The leap Bittman makes to discuss the environmental benefits of cutting meat in the diet, which you point out distinguishes him from Pollan, is growing in prominence in this movement towards more sustainable living. Changing our diets is something that demands self- control, a commitment, which is what individuals, like you, and organizations, like Meatless Monday where I currently intern, are striving for as well. I think you may be interested in Meatless Monday, as a scholar and a mom. It is a public health non profit initiative with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and it encourages cutting meat consumption in order to reduce the risk of preventable disease and also our carbon footprint. There are a plethora of delicious meatless recipes on the website, including various types of chilli which you may find to love as well! Check out

MondayCampaigns May 25, 2009 at 8:15 AM  
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Medical Billing Software May 31, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

The recipes are great and can not just move on without meat in life...

Buy Propecia Online July 14, 2009 at 1:08 PM  

Vegan is very healthy and very can have the very same amount of proteins against the misconception that says only non veg food can add to the protein content.

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