There is nothing I love more on a warm summers day for lunch than a large bowl of vibrant, crunchy veggies with a fragrant and spicy dressing.
All those beautiful rainbow of colours, with all that plant energy makes me feel good simply preparing it. There is a lot of shredding and chopping involved but I enjoy the rhythm of it. Knowing that I am putting all this goodness into my body makes the preparation enjoyable coupled with the anticipation of eating something so fresh and delicious gets the digestive enzymes flowing.
This take on the famous Thai street dish, Pad Thai, is noodle free and raw, apart from the crispy tofu.
Eating a raw food diet confers many benefits, including being high in fibre and nutrients and little or no processed foods. However, raw all the time is not for everyone. Too much fibre can lead to bloating and digestive discomfort when not used to it, or if you are lacking in digestive enzymes, or have low stomach acid. Personally I don't like cold food in cold weather but I also find that too much raw food can make me feel bloated so I need to ensure I have a good balance of raw and cooked. But don't let this put you off raw food!
This dish is a bit of a fiddle to make as there are so many ingredients but it is so, so worth it. Assembling all of your ingredients and equipment first, your mise-en-place, is a must.
You will need:
a food processor or a mandolin or a good grater
a juice squeezer
a jar to shake dressing ingredients
chopping board and sharp knife
small frying pan
good music in the background, I had Abba, Greatest Hits
Ingredients for the Salad:
1 large organic carrot, topped and tailed, peeled, and julienned
1 courgette , topped and tailed, and julienned
1 small green cabbage, shredded
half a red pepper and half a yellow pepper, finely sliced
2 fresh garlics or spring onions, finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
fresh herbs. I used wild bergamot from the garden but coriander, basil or mint would be fantastic too
radishes, finely sliced
(These are the vegetables and herbs that I had in the fridge and garden but you can make it your own with what you have).
2 tbsp coconut milk
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 heaped tbsp crunchy, organic, sugar free, peanut butter, or more if you love PB
handful of coconut flakes
1 tbsp Coconut Aminos ( this is gluten free but you could use soy or tamari)
2 tsps raw white tahini, I love Carleys of Cornwall
1 tbsp Nam Pla Jay ( vegan/ vegetarian 'fish sauce' with a seaweed base)
dash of sesame oil
dash of maple syrup
chunk of ginger root, grated ( I keep ginger root in the freezer and break a piece off when I need and as it is organic there is no need to peel)
For the crispy tofu:
Take a pack of fermented tofu or firm tofu. Squeeze out excess liquid and dice into even squares.
Into a small bowl add some melted coconut oil, arrowroot powder and mix.
Coat the diced tofu in the mix, and set aside.
Add some polenta and a good sprinkling of ground ginger to the bowl and coat each piece of tofu.
Dry fry in the hot pan until golden.
handful of smashed peanuts
lightly toasted white and black sesame seeds
sprig of herbs
Place all the prepared vegetables and herbs into a large serving bowl and mix well with clean hands
Put all the dressing ingredients into the jar and shake vigourously until blended
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Top with the peanuts, seeds, herbs and serve with the crispy tofu.
This is gluten free and vegan and packed with plant based protein, antioxidants and all-round goodness. What's not to love?
Recipe adapted from 'The Midlife Kitchen'
Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner
Registered Nutritional Therapist, Dip NT, BANT, CNHC
Find me also on Instagram @anam_cara_nutrition