California Pad Thai: #3 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’ve ever eaten street food in Thailand, chances are you’ve come across pad thai. Noodles are always a favorite around here, so we’re adding our version of this Thai stirfry favorite to our experiment list.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($16 total)

1 lb brown rice noodles – $2.99
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 sweet onion, chopped – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, chopped – $0.15
1 package teriyaki or firm tofu, cut into chunks – $3.69
1 red pepper, cut into thin slices – $0.99
1 bunch swiss chard – $2.49 (we got this for free from a community farm where we help out, you could substitute any greens like kale, collards, zucchini, or the traditional bean sprouts)
2 organic eggs, beaten – $0.62
1/2 cup cashew pieces – $1.00
2 lemons or limes – $0.40
3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
2 tbsp rice vinegar – $0.33
5 tbsp brown sugar – $1.83
2 tbsp peanut butter – $0.29
1 tbsp bourbon (optional) – $0.30


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water if desired. Add noodles and cook for the time specified on the package, then immediately rinse under cold water.

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and bourbon (if using) together to make the pad thai sauce. 

2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add olive oil, followed by the onion. Cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, then add garlic, tofu, red pepper and chard, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add the eggs and stir to scramble, then add the cooked noodles, sauce, and cashews to the mix. Toss and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through. Squeeze fresh lime over top and serve hot.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5 
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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