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Pad Gra Pao: Street Food–Style Thai Basil Beef [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Pad gra prao is one of Thailand’s most beloved street foods. This dish is so good because of the Thai basil, which gives it a peppery kick. It will a household favorite that is filling, easy-to-make, and full of flavor.

Street Food–Style Thai Basil Beef [Vegan, Gluten-Free]






To Make the Rice:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups water

To Make the Basil Beef:

  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 red Thai chiles, halved and seeded
  • 3 large shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire
  • 2 pounds vegan ground round
  • Sea salt
  • 1 cup packed fresh Thai basil leaves

To Make the Serving Sauce:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 red Thai chiles, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 5 fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumber


  1. In a large saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, while you prepare the recipe. Use a fork to fluff up the rice when ready to serve.
  2. Basil Beef: In a food processor, combine garlic, red pepper, red Thai chiles, and shallots; pulse until coarse paste forms.
  3. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add paste and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together water, 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari, coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons mirin and vegan Worcestershire. Set aside.
  5. Add veggie ground round to skillet and cook, breaking, up with a wooden spoon. Add tamari mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until veggie ground round is steaming and heated through. Make sure to check the amount of liquid in the skillet: if it gets too dry, add a little bit of water. You do not want this to be dry. Add more tamari or mirin to taste.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together garlic, red Thai chiles, mirin, tamari, lime juice and basil leaves.
  7. Once the veggie ground round is heated through, add 1 cup basil leaves. Cover to wilt the basil quickly, about 2 minutes, max.
  8. Serve over rice with a side of cucumber slices and a tiny bowl of serving sauce.




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