By Sara Mallicoat
One recent evening with the kids in tow after a few errands, my husband convinced me to go out for dinner. We chose a place that was fast and, of course, had something my toddler-aged boys would eat. I was the last to order and after realizing my husband got something my boys would enjoy as well, I got a meal I crave, but rarely eat (especially now with a less spicy menu to accommodate the toddlers at home) — spicy pad Thai. It was tasty, but I felt so guilty eating it — I did not want to know how many calories I had just ingested!
I’m always trying to introduce my boys to new cuisines that let the vegetables shine — some go over well, others flop! One night I was inspired to develop this tasty spaghetti squash “pad” Thai recipe while chowing down on another spaghetti squash pasta dish. The squash replaces the rice noodles traditionally used, but we kept the name kid-friendly and called it “Peanut Butter Noodles.” It was a hit!
This meal comes together quickly if the spaghetti squash is already cooked, but if it’s not, I use the roasting time to play with the boys before making dinner!
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (or Peanut Butter Noodles)
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup green onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup spinach, shredded
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon stevia
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
- 1 egg
- 4 cups spaghetti squash, cooked and flesh scraped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup bean sprouts
- 1 to 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
- Limes, chili sauce, almonds or peanuts (optional, for garnish)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the coconut oil and sauté onions and garlic for about 2 minutes.
- Add carrots, cabbage and spinach to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes then remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, water, stevia, chili powder, garlic, pepper, chili flakes, coriander and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
- Add egg to the hot pan and scramble until cooked through.
- Warm spaghetti squash in the pan with peas over low heat then stir in the peanut sauce.
- Add the bean sprouts, cilantro and vegetable mixture to the pan and simmer until hot again.
- Garnish with lime, chili sauce and nuts, if desired.
Mallicoat Family Suggestions:
- Eat with chopsticks to add to the fun!
- My husband suggested we add meat next time to bulk this dish up. You could add chicken, shrimp, tofu or even more of your favorite vegetables.
- My three-year-old son topped the dish with a dollop of peanut butter (and then, of course, licked the spoon clean and asked for even more peanut butter!). This momma did not care because he ate something new that was loaded with vegetables and said it was good! To me that was a huge success.
Give it a try in your house and let me know what you think of this lightened-up, veggie-boosted pad Thai recipe!
About the author: Sara works in Research & Development at Frontier, which means she works with many internal departments to find innovative ways of meeting customer demands. Outside of work, she enjoys turning leftovers into something new, stretching food boundaries with her family, camping and, of course, spending time with her sweet little boys!