Quick & Easy Vegan Pad Thai

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Switching to a plant-based diet can be challenging in trying to figure out filling and nutritious meals that are quick & easy for weeknights.  This is one of them.  It's a super easy dish that is chock full of flavor.  Although I rarely eat peanut butter, I keep a small amount on hand specifically for this dish which I usually make at least once a month.  Because you can use any number of vegetable combinations, it can even be served weekly!

Pasta has always been a comfort food for me and I adore Udon noodles so I use those many times or brown rice noodles.  This recipe is a great main dish for myself and I use it as a side dish for J.  I usually grill a chicken breast for him to keep the entire meal super simple. The sauce is lightly adapted from the Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cookbook.

Vegan Pad Thai
Serves 2 as an entrée or 4 as a side

6 ounces noodles (you can get rice noodles, stir-fry type noodles, or use any type of noodle you would prefer)
2 cups of vegetables (I like to use a combination of zucchini, red pepper, orange pepper, green pepper, carrots, red cabbage and/or snow peas)
2 Tablespoons oil (or use water or veggie broth if you are trying to avoid oil)
1/2 cup fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint and/or basil, chopped
4 Green Onions/Scallions, chopped
Sesame seeds, optional
Chopped peanuts, optional
Bean Sprouts, optional

3 Tablespoons Prune Puree Baby Food (check the label to ensure this is the only ingredient)
2 Tablespoons Salted Creamy Peanut Butter
4 1/2 Tablespoons tamari, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce
Squeeze of fresh lime juice, optional

Prepare the noodles according to package directions.  In a separate, medium-size bowl or pyrex measuring cup, combine the sauce ingredients.  Set aside.  Slice the vegetables into strips (those that can be), and chop the rest into manageable pieces.

Heat a tablespoon of oil (or water or broth) over medium high heat. Add the veggies and stir fry, with tongs, for 4-8 minutes or until tender-crisp. Do not overcook. Transfer to a dish and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil (or water or broth) to the pan. Strain the noodles of any water and add to the hot pan.  Stir fry for 1 minute, tossing with tongs constantly.  Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute or two, until the sauce is starting to thicken and stick to the noodles. Add in the vegetables, toss together, and remove from heat. Stir in the herbs and distribute among the serving dishes. Top with sesame seeds and/or peanuts if using and squeeze of lime juice.

Serve immediately.

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