I am a pad Thai girl through and through, but it’s more out of necessity than anything else.
While I can turn a blind eye to the delicious sweet brown sauce that those noodles are coated in and fool myself into thinking it is gluten-free, with pad see ew, there’s no denying it. There’s soy sauce up in there. It, ugh, says so right on the menu.
For those who are not as well versed in the intricacies of Thai noodle dishes as I am, pad see ew is made with wide flat rice noodles and dark soy sauce. The stir-fry is usually tossed with Chinese broccoli, egg and often beef, a combo that used to make me do hedonistic somersaults of joy.
If pad Thai is more of a linguine consistency, then pad see ew gets all the benefits of a tagliatelle. The noodles are perfectly doughy and ideal for soaking up sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
I’ve tried to make versions of pad see ew at home, but it’s hard to find the wider type of rice noodle at the regular grocery store—many of the best Thai places will make theirs from scratch. So when I began poring over my bud Liz Moody’s new book and saw that she had pioneered a veggie noodle alternative, I Had. To. Have. It. Immediately.
Liz has been my editor for the last few years at Mind Body Green, and it’s given me first hand exposure to how her mind works. Which, if this healthy pad see ew recipe is any indication, is brilliantly. I absolutely adore her taste in healthy food hacks and appreciate her avoidance of wellness dogma, which is easier said than done, especially when you write about health trends.
If you’re a card carrying healthy hedonist, as I know all of you obviously are, you are going to fall madly in love with her new book Healthier Together. Not only is it full of healthy comfort food (including a whole chapter on reinvented take-out favorites), but the central message is one that resonates with me in a big way: that it’s much easier to be healthier together than healthier alone.
If you’ve read The Wellness Project Book, then you know navigating my Hashimoto’s in the context of a new relationship was easier said than done. It’s taken a few years, but now I think Charlie and I can both say that we’ve become reliant on each other to keep accountable and find the joy making healthy meals at the stove…which is truly the only recipe for success when it comes to avoiding that takeout order.
Read on for Liz’s mouthwatering recipe for healthy pad see ew with zucchini noodles. You don’t even need to own a spiralizer to make it—the strands can be created just from a vegetable peeler! If you’re a vegetarian, just omit the beef. The zucchini pasta will be plenty filling without it. And finally, every recipe in the book is designed to be made and enjoyed by two. So one person can tackle the noodles and the other the sauce. It will come together faster than your deliver order!
Liz is truly one of my favorite health gurus, and I know you will feel the same if you start worshipping at her alter. Don’t forget to pick up your own copy of Healthier Together!
What’s the next take-out food you’d like ME to recreate? Tell me in the comments!
With health and hedonism,
Zucchini Noodle Pad See Ew
For the steak:
- 5 ounces flank steak from grass-fed cattle cut into ⅛-inch-thick, bite-size slices
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
For the stir fry:
- 2 medium zucchini
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ⅓ cup raw cashews roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon peeled minced ginger
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small bunch bok choy about ½ to ¾ pound, chopped (leaves and stems separated)
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 large egg beaten
- Sriracha to serve (optional)
Marinate the steak: Combine the steak, salt, tamari, avocado oil, and coconut sugar in a large zip-top plastic bag. Shake to coat and marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Make the zucchini noodles: Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini into long, thin ribbons—I like to cut a small piece, lengthwise, off the bottom of the zucchini so it rests it flat on the cutting board, then hold it long-side down and drag the peeler toward me. Place the zucchini noodles in a strainer set over a bowl or in the sink and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let drain for at least 10 minutes or up to 30. Pat the noodles dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Heat a dry wok or large skillet over medium heat. Place the cashews in the dry skillet and toast, stirring frequently, until the smallest pieces have turned golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the cashews from the pan.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When it shimmers, add the ginger, garlic, bok choy stems, tamari, and 2 tablespoons of water, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, until the bok choy is crisp-tender. Add the bok choy leaves and rice vinegar and cook until the leaves wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Push everything to one side of the pan and add the egg to the other; cook until almost set, then toss with the vegetables to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Wipe out the pan, return it to medium-high heat, and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. When it shimmers, add the beef, allowing the excess marinade to drip off it as you pull it out. Cook, stirring frequently, until seared on the outside and not quite cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and toss to coat with the oil in the pan (I like to use 2 wooden spoons to do this). Spread the noodles out in the pan and let them cook for a minute or two, until they just begin to brown. Turn the heat off. Add the bok choy and egg mixture back to the pan and use your spoons to toss until the noodles are coated and all the ingredients are well distributed.
Divide the pad see ew between 2 plates and top with the toasted cashews and sriracha, if desired, to serve.