Vegan Pad Thai Spring Rolls
As much as I love it, Pad Thai can be a bit complicated and time consuming, which is why I’ve hesitated putting it on the blog. But by morphing it into a spring roll and eliminating any unnecessary ingredients, I’ve whittled this down into a portable, easy, downright delicious meal. The combination of sweet, salty and sour flavors are amazing!
- SPRING ROLLS:
- 1 (14-ounce) extra firm tofu
- 8 ounces white or brown rice noodles, about 1 cup
- 8 to 10 white or brown rice spring roll papers
- 2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, plus more for tofu
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup or sub brown sugar or honey if not vegan
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, plus more for tofu
- FOR SERVING:
- Peanut Sauce / Almond Sauce / Cashew Sauce
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 55mins
Adapted from minimalistbaker.com
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wrap tofu in a clean towel. Set something heavy on top - such as a cast iron pan - to press out liquid for 15 minutes. Then cut into 1/2-inch wide rectangular strips.
Arrange tofu on the baking sheet, giving each piece some space so it can firm up. Bake for 28-30 minutes to dry and firm the tofu. For softer tofu, bake for 20 minutes. For firmer, bake for 30-35 minutes. Set aside.
In the meantime, prep carrots, cilantro, and cook rice noodles according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
To make the sauce, add tamarind, tamari, coconut sugar, lime and chili garlic sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once it begins bubbling, lower heat to low and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari or soy sauce for saltiness, chili garlic for heat, coconut sugar or maple syrup for sweetness, or lime for acidity. You want it pretty flavorful with a balance of salty, sweet and sour, so don’t be shy! Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add baked tofu and 1 tsp each chili garlic sauce and tamari or soy sauce, plus 1 tablespoon of the Pad Thai sauce. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add cooked noodles to the still-hot pan over medium heat and add remaining Pad Thai sauce. Use tongs to disperse sauce and toss noodles. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble a station for preparing the spring rolls with a shallow bowl or plate (for dunking the rice paper), bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil (to cook the rice paper with), and a clean work surface (such as a large cutting board).
Gather all ingredients and add hot water to the shallow bowl or pan. Let it cool for 1-2 minutes, then add 1 rice paper at a time and cook/soften for 45 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll know it’s ready when you touch it and it swirls around in the water.
Lift and let excess water drip off, then transfer to your clean work surface. Top with pad thai noodles, tofu, carrots and cilantro, then roll over once, tuck in sides, and continue rolling all the way up. Place seam-side down on a serving plate or baking sheet and cover with a damp, room temperature towel to keep fresh.
Continue until all spring rolls are prepared - about 8.
Serve as is with a bit more chili garlic sauce or Sriracha! Another great addition is peanut, almond, or cashew butter sauce (see links to variations/recipes above).
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
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