Vegan lunches can -- and should -- be a lot more interesting than bare salads or carrot sticks and hummus. New Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw will be sharing inspiration for midday meals that stave off both hunger and boredom.
Today: A vegan Pad Thai that comes together in a snap -- no cooking required.
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Noodles are a perfect lunch food: they’re versatile, filling, and the leftovers seem to improve overnight. Lately I’ve been making a simple, homemade take on Pad Thai, and enjoying leftovers for lunch.
Here’s how it happens: I make a quick sauce by blending up about a third of a cup of peanut or almond butter, a tablespoon of tamarind paste, a teaspoon of sesame oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup to taste, plus a little bit of powdered ginger. I add whatever cooked noodles I have, plus vegetables, and a sprinkle of mint, cilantro, or basil. The dish is easy to prepare, and the leftovers get better and better.
Soba noodles and rice noodles are perfect for homemade pad Thai, but I also love to mix things up with unconventional alternatives. My current favorite, kelp noodles, demand no cooking whatsoever, which makes them perfect for lunch on the go. Kelp noodles are made from kelp seaweed (yes, the stuff that washes up on the beach), and their texture is a little bit crunchy. They’re easy to find online, and come ready to eat. Whichever noodles you use, give the sauce a try. It’s a keeper.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.