If there’s one thing I know for sure in life, it’s that I love Thai food. What I don’t love as much is the funky ingredients, additives and the amount of sugar that’s typically added to it (seriously – it’s in everything!) I learnt this first-hand when my love bug and I took a Thai cooking class while we were recently travelling around Thailand and Vietnam last October. We made everything from Pad Thai, Cashew Nut Chicken, Green Curry, Panang Curry, Massaman Curry, Spring Rolls, Mango Sticky Rice, Thai Iced Tea and Papaya Salad – the main and most common ingredient amongst them all? Sugar. Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed every second of it and didn’t dare pass up an authentic Thai dish. I’m a total believer in the “when in Rome” mentality and don’t believe we should deprive ourselves from experiencing culture when we’re in it. But when I returned back home, I knew I wanted to continue to enjoy those vibrant flavours that Thai cuisine offers but in a healthier way.
That’s one thing I love about healthified cooking – you can truly make up any of your favourite or beloved comfort foods but with a healthy spin on it. Some people might reject this idea and think, “No way. Nothing will ever top the real deal!” In many ways, this is true. But I think I appreciate these healthified versions that much more because they are such a close replica of these not-so-healthy dishes, and yet, they are made up entirely of 100% whole foods and offer a great amount of nutrition at the same time. Zero guilt, all the health. Win-win, right?!
If you’ve tried my Sweet Potato Pad Thai or my Sushi Burrito, you already know how delicious healthy Thai cooking can be. Amidst a casual scroll on Instagram one day, I came across an image of Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai. In that moment, my mind was BLOWN. Why didn’t I think of that? Often, when we think “spaghetti squash”, we assume our only option is to throw a Bolognese sauce or a pesto on it and call it a day. But why aren’t we using these nutritious, low-carbohydrate, whole food-based noodles for our dearly beloved dishes like pad thai?
From that point, the inspiration for this dish was born – and let me tell you, it still blows my mind with every bite. I only hope it will do the same for you! Keep in mind, you can get adventurous with the vegetables you use in this dish. It can be as traditional as just bean sprouts which are typically found in pad thai, or you can follow the recipe below, which is probably a bit less-mainstream when it comes to pad thai (blame it on the green peas!)
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- 1 spaghetti squash, roasted
- 5 carrots, coined
- 1 block of organic sprouted tofu (organic chicken, shrimp, beef, or scrambled egg would also suffice)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 tbsp raw cashews, crumbled
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil
- 2 green onions, diced
- cilantro, garnish
- 4 tbsp tamari
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Pad Thai Sauce
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lime, freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- sea salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice spaghetti squash in half and place in the oven face up for 45 minutes.
2. Cut protein (tofu, chicken, shrimp, beef or egg) into cubes. Mix marinade ingredients together and pour over protein (except if you’re using egg – too soggy). Let marinate for 45 minutes while spaghetti squash roasts.
3. Mix together Pad Thai sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
4. Around the 30 minute mark, preheat grape seed oil in a pan on medium heat. Saute protein until cooked and somewhat crispy. Set aside in a bowl.
5. Saute carrots and frozen green peas for 3-4 minutes and set aside.
6. At the 45 minute mark, remove spaghetti squash from oven. Scoop out and dispose of the middle with the seeds. Using a fork, shred the rest of the spaghetti squash and put aside in a bowl. If the spaghetti squash is too hot to hold, you can wait for it to cool or wear an oven mitt to hold it.
7. Pour Pad Thai Sauce over bowl of spaghetti squash and mix thoroughly. Add in carrots and green peas and continue to mix.
8. Using tongs, scoop out even portions into a bowl. Place protein source on top and dress with crumbled cashews, green onions and top with cilantro.