This dish is inspired from my time working in the kitchen at Pure Food & Wine. They had an incredible raw Pad Thai dish made with kelp noodles that was my absolute favorite. I had a hard time ordering something different when this dish was on the menu and loved when I got put on the line to plate this station. Still Thai-inspired, my version is cooked, stir-fried instead of marinated in the dehydrator for hours. The sauce has an almond butter base with a spicy kick from red pepper flakes, the Cilantro-Basil Pistachio Pesto adds a brightness that helps bring a balance of flavor, and the kelp noodles keep it light and healthful. I created this with ingredients that I had already in my kitchen, so feel free to use alternative ingredients where you may see fit. I might have used fresh tomatoes instead of canned and I also would have used fresh chilies instead of the dry.
**Kelp Noodles are a sea vegetable made of kelp, sodium alginate (sodium salt extract from a brown seaweed), and water. They are fat-free, vegan, gluten-free and very low in carbohydrates and calories. Their neutral taste allows for a variety of uses from salads to stir-fries, while their healthful content provides a rich source of trace minerals including iodine. Their unique texture makes it a healthful and tasty alternative to pasta and rice noodles. Best of all, no cooking is required.
Thai Kelp Noodle Stir-Fry
Spicy Almond Sauce
1 cup almond butter
3-inch piece of ginger
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (or fresh chili pepper), more or less depending on taste
1 8-ounce can diced tomatoes with its juices, or 2 fresh roma tomatoes
1/4 cup shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp agave or pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp unrefined sesame oil
1 tsp sea salt
Cilantro-Basil Pistachio Pesto
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 baby bok choy, chopped
1 carrot, julienned or cut into long thin strips
1 handful snow peas, thinly sliced
1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 handful shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp shoyu or tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 package kelp noodles
1/4 cup raw cashews, toasted and chopped
fresh cilantro and/or basil, for garnish
fresh scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
fresh lime wedges, for garnish
To prepare the kelp noodles, rinse well, then fill a large bowl with water and allow to soak for up to 3 hours. Drain and cut to desired length. Set aside.
To prepare the Spicy Almond Sauce, place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth. Thin with water as needed. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To prepare the stir-fry, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, onion and red pepper flakes and cook until onions are just about translucent. Add the baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas, bell pepper and mushrooms and stir-fry for a couple minutes. Add a little Spicy Almond Sauce and continue to saute. Toss in the kelp noodles and more sauce until desired doneness, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add in the shoyu or tamari and toasted sesame oil and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes or so.
To plate, place small amount of Cilantro-Basil Pistachio Pesto on plate. Top with the kelp noodle stir-fry and drizzle with more Spicy Almond Sauce, if desired. Sprinkle with chopped scallions, cilantro/basil and cashews and squeeze with fresh lime wedge.
Yield: 2 servings