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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Inspired by the Thai favorite, Pad Kee Mao, this easy vegan drunken noodle recipe is made with rice noodles, veggies, tofu and a spicy sauce. Ready in 30 minutes!
Have you ever had drunken noodles, or Pad Kee Mao, before? These easy vegan drunken noodles are one of our favorite weeknight meals, inspired by the Thai take-out shop we used to live a few blocks from in Sacramento.
I miss a lot of things about living in California, but our condo being steps away from some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had was definitely one of them. Here’s my vegan take on the dish, with extra veggies and crispy, crumpled tofu. A must make if you love spicy, saucy noodles.
I’ve heard many different reasons on why these noodles are called drunken, when they don’t contain any alcohol. My favorite theory is that the noodles are so spicy, you’ll want a beer to wash them down! At least, that’s my preferred way to eat them.
I tend to wrestle with the authentic or not conversation a lot in my own head. Growing up on the east coast, with Danish and Italian parents, I wasn’t privy to many Thai meals. However, ever since moving westward, I’ve made up for those missing years by craving- and eating– spicy Thai (& Indian & Vietnamese) every chance I get.
My palate has been refined on restaurant meals, which I’m sure put their own Americanized spin on the dishes I love. I imagine it’s the similar feeling I get when dining at most Italian restaurants; the food is wonderful, but it’s not the cuisine I grew up on.
Therefore, this drunken noodle recipe is my take and while it may not be authentic, it’s delicious!
It may look like a lot of ingredients, but most of these are pantry staples. While I’m fortunate to live near several Asian and International grocery stores, I know that’s not true for everyone. Therefore, I’ve created this recipe to include ingredients that you can find at most grocery stores.
The only exception to this is the fresh Thai basil leaves, which you’ll likely only find at specialty shops or Asian grocery stores. Regular basil doesn’t have the same flavor and I don’t recommend substituting it. If you can’t find it, it’s OK to leave it out.
This is where my adaption of the traditional recipe comes in– in addition to rice noodles, I include several servings of vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers and onion.
The vegetables here are a mere suggestion, I used peppers and cabbage to add bulk to the dish, creating a more nutrient dense approach to the noodle-fest. Like most things, it’s adaptable enough to use what you’ve got. I think baby corn, broccoli, mushrooms and/or shredded carrots would also be a nice, colorful touch.
My goal here was easy. That’s the premise behind this drunken noodle recipe: it needed to be simple enough to make on a weeknight and reminiscent enough of my favorite Thai takeout place in California.
Easy in the title also refers to the ingredient list; you should be able to find all of the ingredients at your local, well-stocked grocery store.
Start by whisking together the ingredients for the sauce: soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and Sriracha in a small bowl and set aside.
Prepare the noodles according to package directions; you’ll likely either soak them in hot water first or quickly cook them for a few minutes, then drain and rinse well.
While the noodles are cooking, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a large wok or pan over medium high heat and add in the crumbled tofu. Lightly fry until just cooked through, stirring often. Remove from pan and set aside.
Next, add in the onion, cabbage, peppers, garlic and scallions to the pan with the rest of the toasted sesame oil and stir fry until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Toss in the prepared noodles, tofu and sauce and cook until hot, about 2 more minutes.
Stir in the basil leaves if you have them and serve with extra lime wedges.
These noodles are best hot from the pan, but if you have any leftovers then I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.
As rice noodles can thicken and stick together as they cool, I recommend reheating in a skillet with a splash or two of vegetable broth, soy sauce or even a little more hot sauce as needed until the noodles are warmed through and saucy again.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!Print
Easy Vegan Drunken Noodles! This vegan noodle recipe is a must-make if you like drunken noodles. You’ve gotta try this delicious drunken noodles recipe. Inspired by the Thai favorite, Pad Kee Mao, ready in 30 minutes!
See blog post copy for substitutions and ingredient notes.