Lately I’ve been on an Asian kick that I just can’t seem to get rid of! I swear all I’ve eaten last week and this week was different flavors of Asian cuisine. That being said, I did create a BANGING recipe that I’m excited to share today: Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai!
This recipe is low carb, high protein, slightly spicy, slightly nutty, healthy, and extremely delicious. I didn’t intentionally try to make this dish low carb (I
Baked Peanut Tofu
Time for the recipe! First, get everything together that you’ll need to create some baked peanut tofu. I ended up using the process and ingredients from my baked peanut tofu recipe, with only slight modifications to the sauce (see ingredients below).
I pressed my tofu earlier in the day and got a head start on the baking process (including making the sauce) for it before I started doing any vegetable prep work for the rest of the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai. When my tofu had baked to the half-way point on my oven timer, then I started prepping the rest of the ingredients.
Steam The Spaghetti Squash
Cut your spaghetti squash in half and place it in the microwave. I bought two small spaghetti squashes because that’s all Kroger had. I think 1-2 medium sized ones would have been better. Then again, I was reeaaally hungry when I started to cook that day, so I might have been eating with my eyes!
Anyways, place the squash in the microwave and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Depending on how big your squash is, the time may vary. If you prefer to steam your squash using a different method, that’s fine too. I just like using the microwave out of convenience and because it’s quick.
After it’s done microwaving, carefully remove it with a towel around your hands (these things will be HOT!) and place on your cutting board. You can then use two forks to pull and scrape at the sizes of the squash to get the guts out. Your first few scoops will be full of seeds – I discard them and continue scraping/pulling. Eventually you’ll be left with a big pile of nice, shredded spaghetti squash that resembles thin noodles! Set your “noodles” aside and start on the other vegetables
Prepping The Vegetables
I decided to put shredded carrot, red onion, green cabbage, green peas, and red bell pepper in my Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai bowls. I know traditional Pad Thai also includes bean sprouts and diced peanuts, but I just didn’t have any of that around! The store also didn’t have bean sprouts, so I came up with some other vegetables I wanted to use.
I used my Julienne peeler to shred a few large carrots, and a regular knife to dice and slice the rest up. Once your chosen vegetables are ready, pour a tiny bit of water in a large pan and turn your stove on medium-high heat.
Oil Free Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
No oil, you ask? Nope – none! This is my preferred method of sauteing vegetables these days. All you need is some water in the bottom of a pan, and you can cook any vegetable to perfect consistency. Olive oil is often touted as being a “healthy” fat, and while it is certainly more healthy than something like butter or lard, it’s still heavily processed and often adds unnecessary fat to a meal.
I don’t omit oil from my recipes because I count calories, or because I’m afraid of becoming fat. No, I try not to use oil as much as possible because of the way it makes me feel, physically. I used to cook with olive oil a lot. I doused my vegetables in it when I sauteed anything, I used oil-heavy salad dressings often, and didn’t know how to roast anything in the oven without copious amounts of oil.
I read a lot online about how oil (yes, even Olive Oil) is heavily processed, and really not a healthful food. So as an experiment, I stopped buying it for awhile just to see how I felt. In the end, I felt great! I felt lighter, my meals felt lighter, I saw small improvements with my skin, so overall I was pretty happy with my experiment to limit oil. These days, I don’t really cook with it at all, and I don’t buy it at the grocery store anymore. If I go out to eat I don’t fret if it’s in my meal, I simply limit my use of it at home. I feel good doing this, healthy, and so I listen to that gut feeling. For more information on the topic, see this well written article here.
Back To The Recipe…
Sorry for the tangent! Anyway, back to the recipe! So heat some water in a pan and add your bell pepper and cabbage first. These vegetables tend to take a bit longer to cook, so I add them in first. I sauteed my cabbage and bell pepper for about 10 minutes.
Next, add your carrots, red onion, and peas. I let those cook in the pan for about 2-3 minute before the next step.
The next step, is to add your spaghetti squash to the pan along with the rest of the Pad Thai sauce! You’ll notice in the Instructions below that you only use about half of the sauce for the tofu. The other half is meant to be reserved for this step right here. Add your spaghetti squash and sauce to the pan and mix everything thoroughly.
After another minute or two, I added some tofu to the pan, mixed it in really well with the rest of the pan’s ingredients, and turned off the heat.
Healthy Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
That’s it! This recipe was really quick to throw together. The Pad Thai sauce is made in the blender, so that is very easy. The tofu is pressed in advance, but after that just toss in some sauce and bake. The vegetables are chopped, put in a pan a few steps at a time, and then mixed with everything else to make the whole recipe come together.
I topped my bowl off with freshly chopped green onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (all three are highly recommended). The flavors are spicy, slightly sweet, nutty, and as I mentioned healthy. This is a Pad Thai sauce that is refined sugar free, and also oil free. If you’re not feeling spaghetti squash as noodles, you can always swap it out for rice noodles. I thought using spaghetti squash put a fun new twist on this dish though.
I hope you enjoy this easy, healthy, Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai recipe!
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Pad Thai Sauce
- 1/2 cup of all natural peanut butter see notes*
- 5-6 dates
- ¾ cup of water
- 2 tbs of rice vinegar
- 2 tbs of soy sauce
- 3-4 tbs of Sriracha
- 2 tbs of lemon or lime juice
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger
- 1 block of extra firm tofu
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
- 1/2 of a small green cabbage chopped
- 1/2 of a red onion chopped
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper chopped
- 1-2 large carrots shredded
- 1/2 cup of frozen green peas
- [garnish] 1-2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
- [garnish] 1-2 tablespoons of chopped green onion
- [garnish] 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- First, make the sauce. Take your 5-6 dates and put them in a bowl with your 3/4 cups of water. Let the dates soak for a few minutes to soften
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth
- Next, follow the instructions here to make baked peanut tofu (http://spartanlifeblog.com/recipes/baked-peanut-tofu-bowls/). Only use half of the total amount of sauce you made to coat the tofu cubes. The rest of the sauce will be used later
- At the halfway point of your tofu baking, prep the rest of the veggies. Cut your spaghetti squash in half long-wise and place in the microwave for 7-8 minutes to steam*
- Carefully take it out of the microwave (it will be hot!) and use a fork to pull apart the squash - your first few forkfuls will be full of seeds, discard them and continue to pull apart the squash, scraping the sides thoroughly until you've hollowed them out - set the squash "noodles" aside for now
- Use a Julienne peeler (or other similar device) to shed your carrots into strips. Slice the bell pepper and cabbage into strips, and dice the red onion
- Add a small amount of water to a large pan and turn on medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and bell pepper to saute for about 10 minutes (they take longer to cook than the other vegetables). Occasionally, you may need to add more water to the pan as it evaporates off
- After the cabbage and bell pepper begin to soften, add the rest of the vegetables and coo for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally
- Next add your shredded spaghetti squash and the remaining Pad Thai sauce, mix everything in the pan well, then add the peanut tofu (the tofu should be out of the oven by now)
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, green onion, and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice
* Depending on the size of your squash, this time may be more or less. You'll know it's done when the sides of the squash start to cave in and the flesh on the outsides turns a bit translucent.