Thai food may be one of your busy work night take out options- but you might also experience the guilt and indigestion that goes with eating greasy, sugar and chemical laden food. The solution is here! A delicious Spring Approved Pad Thai that is ready in less than a half hour and packs major nutrition. Heavy and rich enough to feel like a full meal and an excellent meal prep staple to add to the rotation.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Makes: 4 servings
4 small zucchini, spiralized or sliced to noodles
3 chicken thighs (leftovers or ~1 lb deboned)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 medium Green Onions, chopped
2 large Eggs
1 Tbsp avocado oil
8 oz. (1 cup) bean sprouts
2 Tbsp. almonds or ethical cashews, chopped
Juice 1 lime
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar free tomato paste
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 inch chunk of ginger
Hot sauce or red pepper flakes to taste
1 1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp. Natural Almond Butter
1 tsp. Apple cider vinegar
Apart from the sauce, the make or break for this dish is whether the noodles are chewy or soggy. If you serve zucchini noodles raw, the water within creates a bit of crunch, which is great. If you need to cook them, then you need to remove the excess water first or they will cook up and be quite soft and tender. The solution is much easier than you would think. If you have a spiralizer, process all 4 zucchinis into noodles. Alternatively, use a mandoline to shave long strips for noodles, or simply use your veggie peeler to create noodles the length of the zucchini. The pith will not have great texture for noodles, so cut into small pieces and set aside for your next mixed salad.
Add the zucchini to your colander and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of salt over them, tossing to coat all the noodles. Allow the noodles to drain off the excess water in your sink or over a bowl for 30 minutes. Reserve this nutrient rich liquid if you prefer and add it to a broth or soup.
Next, mix together all of the sauce ingredients together in your blender. Blend well, set aside so the flavours can meld together. This sauce can be made as spicy as you wish, so add more hot sauce if you like, but not more ginger- it will overpower the dish. I prefer just a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and add a teaspoon of the zucchini juice back in to thin the sauce a bit. Some would ask, if you are adding the water back into the sauce, why can’t I just leave it in the zucchini? Chemistry and timing my friend. The noodles are cooked first, and the sauce is only briefly simmered, so the extra step is necessary for a dish with ideal textures.
When I make this dish, it is because I have leftover chicken that I want to make more exciting. I prep chicken at the beginning of the week to add to soups, salads, and quick dinners throughout the week. Chicken thighs are especially rich and flavourful, and usually less expensive, so these tend to be my preference. To use pre cooked meat, shred approximately 1 pound, about 2 cups, or whatever looks right to you for 4 servings. You can also make the meat fresh by heating 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken to create a sear. Flip chicken pieces over to sear the other side, cooking 5-7 minutes until done. Remove from pan.
Now check on your noodles. Pick up zucchini noodles with your hands and gently squeeze them to remove more excess water. Then, blot them dry with a clean dish towel.
Heat a medium sized frying pan or wok to medium-high, add the zucchini noodles and dry fry them for 2 minutes to firm them up a bit. Move to the sides of the pan, leaving a circle in the center. Reduce the heat to medium and crack 2 eggs into the center of your pan. Scramble the 2 eggs into the noodles (takes approx. 1 minute).
Add the sauce, chicken (including oil or for leftover chicken or add 2 tsp of coconut oil) and the green onion to the noodles. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let this cook down for 3-5 minutes depending on thickness you want.
Add the cilantro and bean sprouts, stir in to combine, then serve immediately. Serve with a slice of lemon or lime, and additional sprouts, cilantro leaves and chopped nuts for garnish. This also reheats well for lunch the next day.