Oct 082013
 

Pad Thai. Potentially one of the most craveable dishes in existence. But, as craveable as it is, most restaurant versions run at about 1000 calories. Is a heaping pile of noodles really worth that? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could majorly cut the calories just by swapping one ingredient? Oh yeah, I did that.
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This isn’t my first trip down spaghetti squash lane. I use it repeatedly as a noodle sub, but this has to be my favorite creation yet. Although this recipe did take a bit of time to put together due to all the components, it was well worth it. Plus, I cut out a lot of time (and about $20 in random ingredient I’ll never use again) by buying a premade sauce rather than going homemade. In addition to the noodle swap, I also loaded my version with vegetables and tofu and took it easy on the sauce. There was still all the flavor and texture I look for in pad thai and I didn’t miss the noodles at all. OK maybe a little, but definitely worth it for the extra gym time I saved.
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Nutritional Highlights: 1 serving of rice noodles (what you typically find in pad thai) has 190 calories, and let’s be honest, you’re probably eating 2 servings so let’s call that 380. Two cups of spaghetti squash is about 60 calories. I’m no math expert, but that’s a pretty big difference. You can add any vegetables and lean protein you’d like (tofu, chicken, or shrimp are great), but I kept my version veg. [Insert my typical cutting back on animal products rant here.]
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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai with Tofu and Vegetables
makes 4 servings
adapted from Shared Appetite
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What’s in it:
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, I used half peanut half canola
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs (optional, I omitted this to keep mine vegan)
1 (15-ounce) package firm or extra firm tofu, water pressed out and diced*
1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cups bean sprouts
6 scallions, sliced
Other optional veggies: I added a cup of sliced white mushrooms, but broccoli, peapods, or any others you like would work as well
4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce, more to taste**
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
*you could alternatively use chicken or shrimp if you’re not a tofu fan
**I used a jarred pad thai sauce to save some time but check out the original recipe link above to see the full sauce recipe if you want to go homemade

How to make it:

1. Cook the spaghetti squash: Preheat your oven to 375 F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half with a large, sharp knife. Remove seeds and stringy guts, and brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place spaghetti squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 45-60 minutes. While the squash is cooking, you can prep all your other ingredients.

To test if your squash is done, scrap the flesh with a fork. If the strands come off easily, it’s done. Let the cooked spaghetti squash cool for about 5 minutes, then scrape all the flesh into a beautiful pile of spaghetti strands. Set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil (I did 1T peanut oil 1T canola oil) in a wok or large skillet over high/medium-high heat. Once oil is nice and hot, add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until tofu is lightly browned on all sides. Remove tofu and set aside.

3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Once hot, add red onions and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add carrots, bean sprouts, and scallions (and any other veggies) to pan and cook for about 3 minutes.

3.5 (If using eggs, the original recipe says this: Move the mixture to one side of the pan, crack the eggs and add them to the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook until just set, about 30 seconds. Combine into the Pad Thai mixture.)

4. Return the cooked tofu to the pan with 4 tablespoons of the Pad Thai sauce and stir.

5. Add cooked spaghetti squash and gently toss everything together and cook for 1-2 minutes. Taste and if Pad Thai needs more flavor, stir in a little extra sauce.

6. Serve Pad Thai immediately with lime wedges, chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

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I reiterate, make this.
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  3 Responses to “Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai”

  1. Looks absolutely great! Thanks so much for the shout-out as well. Love your money-saving and time-saving tip of buying premade pad thai sauce :)

  2. Looks amazing! Will try this on Monday!!!

  3. […] making up for lost time by using it as much as possible–as the “pad” in a healthier pad thai I made last year, as the base for baked chicken parm and now in this Swiss-Chard and Parmesan Baked […]

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