One of my favorite activities is eating different cuisines from all over the world. It’s a fantastic way to expand my culture and learn about a country. Food is the universal language to the soul and my mission is to unlock as many as possible to transform into my dishes back home. I enjoy the flavor combinations that expand my palette that I wouldn’t normally think of on my own. Sweet and salty is a fun combo I like to work with. Pad Thai is a dish that combines sweetness from brown sugar and saltiness from fish sauce/tamari with the tanginess from lime juice. I grew up eating stir fry, so when I found this recipe in college, I wanted to learn how to create this back at home. If you find this at a restaurant, it can range from anywhere from 600 calories on the extremely generous side to well over 1000 calories. Also, it’s packed with more sugar than you need in a day’s serving. Using spaghetti squash as the “noodle” and ingredients from the supermarket, I will share with you how I cut down the calories and up the veggie ante to make this a well-rounded healthy dish. Find my recipe for Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai below:
· 1 lb cooked protein of choice
· 1 Medium to large spaghetti squash
· 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
· 1/2 cup shredded carrots
· 3 eggs, whisked
· 3-4 green onions, sliced thin
· 1 15 oz can of bean sprouts, drained or 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, washed and drained
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Top with lots of chopped peanuts, extra crushed red pepper flakes, lime wedges
For the Sauce:
· 1/3 Cup vegetable broth
· 1/3 Cup brown sugar or turbinado sugar
· 4 Cloves garlic, minced
· 1/4 Cup fish sauce
· 1/2 Cup Tamari or Liquid Aminos
· 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
· 1 Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place spaghetti squash halves face down on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper on each half. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
2) Begin cooking your protein. If you're using chicken, add it on a separate foiled baking sheet and cook with the spaghetti squash.
For shrimp, cook on the skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until pink.
For tofu, sandwich a 14 oz block of firm tofu between paper towels, press and drain for 30 minutes. Next, cut the tofu into 1/4 inch slices. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the tofu in 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan in a single layer for 2 minutes, undisturbed. Then flip the tofu and cook on the second side for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside for 5 minutes to cool. After, cut tofu into cubes.
3) Combine ingredients for sauce by whisking them all together until mixed through. Set aside.
4) Chop your veggies. On medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan. Place the carrots and bean sprouts in your pan and sauté for 5 minutes.
5) Combine all ingredients to the sauce in a separate bowl, set aside.
6) When your spaghetti squash is done, let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Spaghetti all of your squash with a fork and add it to your vegetables.
7) Add the cooked protein, and sauce mixture to your veggie mixture and stir to mix through.
8) In the pan, move everything aside to make room for the eggs. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir constantly until cooked through. Stir everything to combine.
9) Top with additional toppings and green onions. Enjoy!