Raw Pad Thai for a Potluck Picnic

What a total blast. The My New Roots Potluck Picnic in the Park was a major success, thanks to my beautiful (new) friends in Toronto!

First of all, who knew that there were so many amazingly talented whole-food cooks in this city? Lucky for me, I think they ALL showed up last Friday with their very best dishes. Secondly, who knew that all of those awesome people were also really, really nice, fun to hang out with and full of passion for all things healthy? I felt like I was truly reuniting with my tribe, y’know?

For the potluck picnic I wanted to make something very different for me, and introduce some special ingredients to the people I was going to be feeding. I chose a raw pad thai, because I love the cooked version so much but knew that a higher-vibe version was possible. My thoughts immediately fell upon kelp noodles – the crunchy, refreshing, relatively neutral-tasting sea veggie ‘pasta’ that raw foodies love. I played around with them a bit at my old raw food restaurant, and I really appreciated their versatility.

Oodles of Noodles

Kelp noodles are a food made from kelp (a sea vegetable), sodium alginate (seaweed-derived salt), and water. They are gluten-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, protein-free, sugar-free, very low in carbohydrates and calories, and raw (check the label to be sure). What why would anyone want to eat them then? Well, they are a really nice way to enjoy the texture of noodles without much of anything else. If you are looking for a noodle that will fill you up without filling you out, these are a great option. I like to combine them with tasty sauces and dressings because they act as a superb vehicle for big flavours.

The health benefits of kelp noodles have not been thoroughly studied, but we do know that because kelp is a good source of iodine, kelp noodles would contain this essential trace mineral. Iodine plays a key role in metabolism and is necessary for proper function of the thyroid. Other rich sources of iodine include sea vegetables such as wakame, arame, and hijiki.

The base for this salad is very simple, all it takes is a little time to slice and chop all the veggies. The best part is, once you have the vegetables prepared, the salad itself will keep for days if left undressed. If you know that you will have leftovers, serve just what you will be eating and dress the salad on individual plates.

The sauce is the real star of the show here. I soaked cashews overnight to soften them up, to improve their nutrition, and to increase their digestibility (you can read more about that here.) This creates the most luscious, creamy, rich-tasting base, which you can make any dressing from, without any dairy or eggs. I then added the traditional ginger, garlic, chili, lime juice and coriander seeds along with the not-so-traditional maple syrup and olive oil, for a spicy-sweet pad thai sauce sent straight from heaven. You could pour this over steamed rice and vegetables in the winter months, or thin it out to make a warm or cold soup. Whatever you decide to use the dressing for, you are in for a fabulous treat.

As I was feasting on so many incredible delights at the picnic, I had a brainwave: what if everyone who attended sent me the recipe for the dish they brought, which I could compile into a little e-book for everyone to enjoy? Not a bad idea, eh?
So, if you joined us for the potluck picnic, please send me an email with your name and recipe, and I will publish them all in a format you can download from the blog. Hooray!

I really loved meeting you all and shooting the breeze over some very tasty treats. The power of community and shared passion really amazes me and I felt like I was sitting with a high-vibe army of totally tapped-in, tuned-in, turned-on friends that I had just met. Sheesh, life is so sweet.
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come out and share your gorgeous food and gorgeous selves. My heart is bursting. And so is my belly.




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  2. taylor

    I was wondering too as to what happened to the tamarind in the sauce. i take it this is not a truly raw dish since the kelp noodles are made with heat.

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  6. suzicruzi

    I want to try this! Never heard of these kelp noodles and I consider myself “in the know”. Can they be ordered online? I live in the Portland/Vancouver area – does anyone know where they can be purchased around here? Thanks! Suzi

  7. JP

    I was wondering why didn’t you use the tamarind in your pad thai sauce…. Isn’t it natural and raw ? Plus, it is the original ingredient in this dish….

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  9. Susanne

    How long can the sauce be kept in the refrigerator? I just finished making. had to leave the Tamari out as I cannot have soy at the moment. Was still delicious. I am a fellow Canadian . Thanks for all your recipes.

  10. Julia

    What is the cheese cake looking recipe in one of your photos? I’m starting to make raw cashew “cheese” cake and want to know if that is what she made in the photo?

  11. Nicole Flory

    I made this yesterday for my work summer pot luck! It was a HIT! I had no leftovers to take home! Thanks for sharing great recipes!

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  14. Brooke

    I made this for dinner tonight. SO DELICIOUS! And the sauce is spot on! Thank you so much for sharing. This is one of the best raw vegan dishes I’ve tasted to date!

  15. om

    Beautiful pics and fabulous recipe, thank you for sharing it! I am posting this on my FB page as a follow up to another kelp noodle recipe


  16. Ann-Louise

    Beautiful people and beautiful food! Wish I could of been there and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll orginize a potlock in Copenhagen when you’ve returned. 😉

  17. Sofia

    Thanks so much for organizing the potluck, it was so much fun! I’ll definitely be making the raw Pad Thai, it was delicious! I e-mailed you my recipe as well, looking forward to the e-book! Thanks, Sarah =)

  18. A. E. Funk

    There is definitely something in the raw-/whole-food water–look at all those beautiful, healthy people! Looks like so much delicious fun. Congratulations on a successful day!

  19. Jana

    how fantastic your idea to share all these raw threats during your picnic event!I can not wait to read the mini-book/pdf:-)
    btw…I simply love the pictures, your new recipe and your huge love to share it all with US! thank you so much, sunshine from tulipland and big warm hug+enjoy NYC!

  20. Stephanie

    How cool Sarah! I’ve been wanting to try kelp noodles for the longest time. I must give them a try in your dish. You always manage to get me to try new things! I love this potluck picnic! Looks like a blast. Whatever kind of cake/tart that girl is holding with the flowers on it looks amazing!

  21. Laura

    I love it when one of my favorite bloggers reads my mind. I was just Googling for a raw pad thai recipe yesterday because I wanted to make it with your sexy summer rolls. I found some, but the thing about using YOUR recipes is I know they will be good – absolutely no question. So I am excited to make this. Thank you!

  22. Bianca

    This looks like a lovely day shared among natural foodies! It’s so awesome meeting like minds- you must have had a blast.

    Plus our raw pad Thai looks pretty delish!

  23. Sasha

    I was a little late to arrive at the picnic so I believe that I missed your raw pad thai. How delicious it sounds! Thanks for posting the recipe. I will certainly make this once I get my hands on some kelp noodles.

    Thanks for organizing such a delicious and inspiring evening! There is certainly something magical about getting together with strangers and eating one’s way to a sense of community. And now I have the e-book with all the recipes to look forward to! I’ll send mine shortly.

    Hope you are enjoying NYC! See you at your cooking class on Friday.

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