The holidays are upon us. The spirit of the season is in full bloom. Family and friends come together to share meals and memories. I admit, I love this time of year. I love it all! And yet, I also crave moments to myself to recharge, slow down, and actually savor the season. K-Hubs and I often do this with date nights in. Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s nice to have a restaurant-quality meal, all without having to drive to yet another destination. Enter Paleo Pad Thai. It’s there for you when you’re ready to go out by staying in, dress up by wearing sweatpants, and layer by blanket rather than coat.
Not only is a recipe like this perfect during the holidays, but it’s also nice to have in your back pocket for after the holidays when temperatures continue to drop, cabin fever sets in, and you find yourself eating the same boring foods five days out of seven. Because, let’s do more numbers, nine times out of 10, if it’s that cold, I’m probably not leaving the house. Need a babysitter? Fine. I’ll call. Need to make reservations? Give me enough time and I can probably get it done. But put on a coat and then walk to and from the car just to dine in a restaurant when the wind chill is below zero? Are you out of your tree? I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I’ll enjoy a bowl or two of Paleo Pad Thai instead.
It really is that good. And if you’ve never embarked on Paleo Pad Thai of any kind, or you have and are ready for another take, this is your recipe. There are countless ingredient variations that may seem overwhelming at first but are actually helpful in creating a flavor balance YOU will enjoy.
Let’s start first with dairy alternatives. I love unsweetened almond milk in my Paleo Pad Thai. It provides a neutral flavor that blends with the almond butter and doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. However, if you like full-fat coconut milk, then try that instead. I think you’ll find it offers a richer flavor. Some people notice the coconut-y essence more than others, but again, if you like full-fat coconut milk, you either won’t notice the change in flavor or you simply won’t mind!
Next, let’s look at nut butters. I use roasted almond butter in Paleo Pad Thai, but I think you could also use sun butter. I suspect the flavor would knock your socks off. When choosing a nut butter, select one that doesn’t contain added sugar in order to get the purest flavor that is also still paleo.
After that, what about noodles? Again, choose whichever ones suit your palate. I tried zucchini noodles, or zoodles, and LOVED them in this recipe. When I add zoodles to my Paleo Pad Thai, I sauté them in a pan with olive oil and 2-3 cloves of garlic first, just long enough to soften them, before adding them to the other ingredients.
I also use spaghetti squash noodles, or spoodles on this blog, and I LOVE them, too, especially because they are such a neutral-flavored paleo pasta. However, if you have another veggie noodle you prefer, I think it would work well. I find that, regardless of the chosen noodle, mixing ingredients together with a fork prevents the sauce from overtaking the veggie noodles and making them soggy. Zucchini and most squash noodles are hearty enough to withstand the Paleo Pad Thai sauce. Spaghetti squash noodles are more delicate, so I am extra careful when combining my ingredients when I use them.
Finally, eat this dish as a vegetarian Paleo Pad Thai topped with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and any other vegetables that suit your palate. Or add a favorite protein. You can’t go wrong with chicken strips or sautéed shrimp.
One thing I don’t recommend you do is take a bite of the Paleo Pad Thai sauce while it’s still cold and in the blender. It’s possible that maybe I sort of did that, and because I never learn from myself, I freaked out and almost tossed the batch. If you have been following this blog for a while, then you can probably guess what happened next. K-Hubs told me to wait. Which I did. And then I combined all the ingredients together, the sauce warmed up as a result, and the flavor combination was more divine than I could have ever imagined. I even took extra bites, sure that I couldn’t possibly actually enjoy it. The sauce had been so…so…bitter? Tangy? I don’t know. What I do know is that when all the ingredients come together, it’s nothing short of magical.
Not unlike the holidays, Spiriteds. Here’s to yours! And also date nights in!
- 1 spaghetti squash
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- ⅓ cup almond butter
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 2-4 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
- ⅓ cup baby carrots, sliced
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup green onion, sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Handful of chopped cashews, optional
- Salt and peper to taste
- Using a fork, pierce several holes in spaghetti squash. Place the squash in a small microwave-safe glass dish and microwave on high for about five minutes to soften it. Then slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and drizzle up to ¼ cup olive oil in the center and on the edges of each half. Place face down in a larger, 9x13 baking dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
- While the spaghetti squash is baking, combine lime juice, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, pressed garlic cloves, almond butter, almond milk, ginger, and sea salt in a blender and mix on a low to medium setting until smooth.
- Pour 2-4 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and red onion for about 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly and deepen in color. You can cover the pan to soften the vegetables even more and to prevent uneven cooking. Add two eggs to the vegetable mixture and scramble them together until the egg is cooked through. Sprinkle green onion and cilantro onto the mixture and stir gently.
- Once the spaghetti squash is done, comb a fork through each half to create noodles and combine with sauce mixture in blender and vegetable mixture in sauté pan. Serve immediately and eat leftovers with about a day or two. See Notes for variations on mixing the three sets of ingredients together.