Raw Vegan Peanut Pad Thai

I’m enjoying my time in Costa Rica, and taking advantage of a tropical climate to explore exotic fruits and veggies, and enjoy my favorite tropical delicacies like mango, avocado, coconuts and more. Luckily I work in a health conscious environment, in a Wellness center which is also a yoga and pilates studio. That led me to find organic produce delivered straight from a farm in the Costa Rican mountains some hour and a half from my residence at the beach town of Manuel Antonio.

Enjoying a raw dish in the middle of the rainforest - it doesn't get much better than that!

All I can say is I am in pure heaven! The tropical fruits and veggies are available year round in this country, and they are juicy and tasty no matter where you get them. I don’t think I have ever bought such nice produce from a corner convenience store, but in Costa Rica it’s a normal occurrence. However, there is still a difference between a mango and a mango. As someone who has always been a supporter of organic, GMO free, naturally grown foods, I had to investigate to see what type of organic produce is there here and compare it to my regular farmer’s market finds.

And what did I find out? That there is a difference, and in conclusion, organic is always worth it, for me that is – and I do recommend it to all. Although some of my produce was smaller compared to conventional sizes, like pineapples, it smelled stronger and it was considerably sweeter. Conventional produce is oftentimes larger than organic, which means it is larger than it’s original, natural size – not that organic is smaller than usual, normal sizes, which is what I have noticed some people unfortunately think. Non-organic or biologically grown foods have certain additives in them to make them larger, such as genetical modifications, hormones, and of course pesticide, which are mainly there to kill any animals or plants that might get in the way of it’s growth, but they can affect the plant in numerous ways (one being poisoning it since chemical pesticide is basically poison). Although I refused to believe that the foods I’ve been buying on the farmer’s market have been grown in ways other than naturally and locally, comparing them to my organic produce seemed to prove me wrong. It is fascinating just how used to seeing perfectly round, large, colorful and shiny apples we are, that when I see a (relatively) small, unevenly round apple with a spot or two, I actually get surprised that this is what they are supposed to look like.

These delicious veggies will be turned into Raw Pad Thai

Today is my lucky day! I got a basket filled with organic veggies: tomatoes, peppers, celery sicks, cucumbers, sweet lettuce, biggest spinach leaves I have ever seen (I think it’s a kind I am not familiar with), arugula, broccoli, carrots and ginger. From fruits, I got golden pineapples, papaya, avocado and sweet small bananas.

I immediately got to work, thinking of the best way to use up my delicious delivery. The best way to enjoy fresh produce is to eat it raw, so I settled on making a raw pad thai. I used up the last zucchini I got from the weekend farmers market, and everything else I used came from the organic farm. You can really taste the difference in a product grown with care and no chemicals, GMO or hormones, but that isn’t the only benefit of my produce basket. Eating a piece of raw fruit or veggie that was picked from the Earth only mere hours ago, and is so filled with prana or life force, is the best way to nourish the body (and the mind). There are numerous benefits to eating locally and in season. These are the products with most nutrients, and also products that your body will accept the best because they are attuned with the climate and biological environment you are in as well. Yes, the modern society and the import-export businesses have made strawberries available to us in the dead of winter, but no matter how sweet that may sound, it’s not the best for our bodies. Honestly, imported, frozen, artificially grown products are never that sweet, now are they? But a strawberry picked in June, maybe even from your own garden? Again, that is priceless.

Raw Pad Thai noodle recipe (serves 2)

{raw, vegan, gluten free, added sugar free, optionally soy free, low fat}

Noodle Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 Baby zucchinis
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes
Peanut Sauce:
  • 3 large spoonfuls of peanut butter or 1.5 cups of peanuts
  • 3 tbsp of Soy sauce, Tamari, Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos if going for soy free)
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice (I used Soy unsweetened original)
  • splash of lime
Toppings:
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions:

1. Make zucchini and carrot noodles – using a mandoline slicer, peeler or your favorite method. I used to own an awesome peeler with ‘teeth’ as I called it, that was perfect for veggie noodles. I unfortunately lost it in the meanwhile, and use a simple regular peeler here in Costa Rica. Sometimes you need to just angle it to make the noodles thinner and more noodle looking, but even wider will work. I have also noticed some health food stores, and Whole Foods Market in the US, began carrying pre-made veggie noodles, so that’s a solution as well.
2. Cut the rest of your veggies in very small pieces – thinly sliced baby zucchini and red bell pepper, small celery slices and half or quarter the cherry tomatoes.
3. Make the sauce by blending all the ingredients in a high speed blender, adjusting the liquids if necessary. I like mine relatively thick but still liquid enough to cover all the noodles evenly.
4. Place the noodles in a large bowl, add your veggies, add the sauce and cover the veggies with it until it’s even. Add your toppings, and feel free to get creative.

I served mine in true raw fashion, with a side of delicious organic greens - sweet lettuce, spinach and arugula, as well as a slice of avocado. These are very versatile, as they serve as a side dish, main dish, or a salad.


Bon Apetit!

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