California-style pad Thai (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

A typical vegetarian pad Thai noodle dish has a large portion of noodles with few vegetables. What makes this a “California” version is the bounty of vegetables (you could probably use whatever you have on hand); the addition of toasted seeds; and an inventive, easy sauce. If you don’t have ponzu (citrus-infused soy sauce), use soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free mixed with orange, lemon, and/or lime juice.

Ingredients
  • large dried rice stick or pad Thai flat rice noodles (might be called banh pho)*
  • extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • super-firm tofu or seasoned baked tofu, cut in ½-in. dice
  • sweet pepper, chopped
  • jalapeño chile (optional), chopped
  • broccoli
  • kale, center ribs removed and leaves cut into thin strips
  • garlic, minced
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • ponzu sauce
  • toasted sesame oil
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves and tender stems, minced
  • toasted sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds

* Find dried rice stick or rice noodles in the Asian foods aisle at well-stocked grocery stores, at gourmet stores, or at Asian markets.

Method
  1. Put noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water to cover and let stand until noodles are soft, at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, tofu, sweet pepper, and jalapeño, if using, and cook until starting to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, steam or microwave broccoli until soft but still bright green. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
  4. Add kale and garlic to tofu mixture. Cook, stirring, until kale has softened. Stir in broccoli, noodles, Sriracha, ponzu, and sesame oil. Adjust seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with green onions, cilantro, and toasted seeds; serve immediately.
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