Pad Thai is definitely one of my top guilty pleasures. I get the craving for it frequently and it comes on strong. However, Pad Thai isn’t exactly the wisest choice for one’s waistline… restaurant portions are regularly over 600 calories!
By swapping out the noodles for spaghetti squash and interchanging a few other ingredients for their healthier alternatives, you can save some major calories and sodium.
For the dish
- 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, divided
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup of shredded carrots
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1 cup of bean sprouts, plus extra for topping
- 1/2 cup of scallions, plus extra for topping
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 3 eggs
- Optional: lime slices, finely-chopped peanuts
For the sauce
- 5 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce (if you want to make this recipe vegetarian, use teriyaki sauce)
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, plus more to taste
Begin by placing 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the center of a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil has melted, place the chicken cubes in the pan and cook, stirring and flipping the chicken regularly (aka pan-sear the chicken). Drain the oils from the chicken and pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the center of the pan (still over medium-high heat). Once the oil has melted, add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and cook. After a few minutes, stir in the garlic powder, bean sprouts, and scallions. Drain the excess oils from the vegetables as you pour them on top of the chicken in the large mixing bowl.
To cook the spaghetti squash, you have the choice between roasting the spaghetti squash and microwaving it. As I find microwaving to be the quickest method, here are those directions:
Puncture the spaghetti squash all over with a knife (seriously all over or it will blow up!) and place the spaghetti squash on top of some paper towels in the microwave. Microwave for 8 minutes before turning the spaghetti squash and microwaving it again for an additional 4-8 minutes, depending on how big the spaghetti squash is.
While the spaghetti is cooking, make the sauce by stirring together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Once the spaghetti squash is slightly tender, set it on a cutting board and halve it (lengthwise). Allow it to cool before digging out the seeds and “spaghetti-ing” the spaghetti squash with two forks. Place the resulting spaghetti in the large pan over medium heat.
Make space in the center of the pan and add the eggs. Using a spatula, let the eggs cook while mixing them well throughout the mixture. Pour the sauce in to the pan and mix so that the spaghetti squash is well-coated and then empty the pan into the large mixing bowl. Stir to combine all of the ingredients together (feel free to add more spices to taste) before serving.
Optional: Garnish the dishes with some extra bean sprouts, scallions, lime wedges, and finely-chopped peanuts.