When I went down to Tulum earlier this summer, I knew the beaches would be beautiful, the atmosphere laid back and chic, but I had no idea the food would be so fresh and amazing. Normally, our Mexico vacations aren’t exactly the healthiest when it comes to food—there’s a lot of greasy chips, guacamole, heavy rice dishes, and margaritas happening. But Tulum was different. There’s plenty of cool cafés and restaurants that offer healthy and tasty meals—juices, smoothies, raw dishes, and buddha bowls. And you can enjoy them while staring out into the turquoise ocean. It’s basically a healthy foodie’s paradise.
My favorites were…
The Real Coconut: We went back 4 times in 10 days. Unbeatable view of the beach, super comfy beach beds, great service, and amazing food. I highly recommend the Mexican Dip Trio (guacamole, chipotle coconut vegan ‘cheese’, and mayan pumpkin seed dip with chips and veggies) and the Mexican Buddha Bowl. For breakfast, try the grain-free plantain pancakes with savory homemade chocolate spread or the chia pudding parfaits. But really, you can’t go wrong.
Posada Margherita: I want my future summer house to look like this place. Beautiful rustic-chic decor with wooden doors in the sand everywhere. Very intimate and romantic beach setting. You must get their freshly made pasta—SO delicious and filling, but you won’t feel too heavy afterwards. Their salads and juices are delightful too.
Restaurare: The best vegan mexican food! Not by the beach, more of a jungle setting, but the food is so innovative and tasty. We LOVED the vegan tacos, the mayan curry made with coconut milk, and the local mole. Their cocktails are also excellent–go during their 2-for-1 happy hour. Whether you’re vegan or not, you’ll love this place. They also give you this natural mosquito repellant oil when you first sit down, and you just rub it all over your body.
Raw Love: Cute raw vegan café that’s right off the beach. Enjoy an assortment of smoothies, smoothie bowls, juices, fresh made coconut milk lattes, raw cakes, and hearty entrees under the palm trees with your feet in the sand.
Today’s dish is inspired by the Almost Raw Pad Thai dish from Raw Love, which was hands down the BEST zoodle dish I’ve ever had. My boyfriend and I didn’t even realize the noodles were made from zucchini until we were almost done with the dish. What made this so delicious and unique was the super thin, crispy, angel hair zucchini noodles—you can barely taste the zucchini and it soaks up the dressing even more than regular size zoodles. Once I returned home, I immediately ordered a new spiralizer that came with an angel hair blade and did my best to recreate the dish.
This raw pad thai is made up of angel hair zucchini and carrot noodles, shredded cabbage, pea shoots, and edamame. I added cilantro and mint to give it a fresh flavor, and sprinkled hemp seeds and chopped peanuts on top for an extra crunch and a dose of healthy protein and fat. This dish is light but satisfying, crunchy, and full of flavor (thanks to the peanut ginger dressing). It makes the perfect light dinner or lunch and is a great healthy alternative to regular pad thai. Enjoy!
For The Raw Pad Thai
- 2 large zucchinis
- 1/2 large carrot
- 1/2 cup of red cabbage, shredded
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- Small handful of mint leaves
- Sweet pea shoots (optional)
- Shelled edamame beans (optional)
- 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
For The Peanut Ginger Dressing
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1 garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2-1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
- 4-5 tbsp warm water to thin
- Spiralizer (I use this 4-Blade Paderno spiralizer, that comes with an angel hair blade. I love the thin, crispy zoodles for this dish, but feel free to use any spiralizer)
- Food processor or high-speed blender
- Inspired by the Almost Raw Pad Thai dish at Raw Love Tulum.
- Choose zucchinis and carrots that are thick in diameter so it’s easier to spiralize.
- Buy organic vegetables if possible since they will be consumed raw, and wash thoroughly with apple cider vinegar to kill bacteria and germs.
- If you plan on saving it for later, store the zucchini noodles and dressing separately in the fridge and mix when you’re ready to eat to prevent sogginess.
Prep time: 20 min / Total time: 20 min
Cuisine: Vegan, gluten free, raw
- Make the Peanut Ginger Dressing: Add peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, sriracha, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and warm water to a food processor or high-speed blender. Process until creamy and smooth. Set aside.
- Wash and Prep All Your Vegetables: Thoroughly wash your vegetables. Boil edamame beans, shred red cabbage, and chop cilantro and peanuts.
- Spiralize the Zucchini and Carrot: Spiralize the zucchini and carrot into noodles using a spiralizer. I use the angel hair blade of this Paderno Spiralizer to create thin, crispy angel hair noodles. Set aside.
- Assemble the Bowl: Swirl the zucchini noodles into two bowls. Arrange the vegetables around the zoodles or gently mix them in. Garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Sprinkle chopped peanuts and hemp seeds on top. Drizzle the peanut ginger dressing. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Photographs by Stephanie Park