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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Recipe

small bowl pad thai
small bowl pad thai - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Pad Thai is a popular stir-fried noodle dish that is beloved for its blend of flavors and textures, both in Thailand and beyond. Traditionally made with rice noodles, pad Thai often includes a combination of a protein like tofu or shrimp, vegetables, peanuts, and a distinct tamarind-based sauce that is tart with a hint of sweet. In this version, we've replaced the rice noodles with spaghetti squash noodles for an extra layer of plant-based goodness as well as some added earthy flavor.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "When spaghetti squash is plentiful it's a staple in my kitchen. It's full of health benefits, can be used in so many ways, and can last on the counter for up to a few months." Pad Thai proves itself to be a great candidate for spaghetti squash noodles, and though this ingredient will call for a little extra elbow grease in the kitchen, the hearty results will be well worth it.

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Gather The Ingredients For Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

spaghetti squash pad Thai ingredients
spaghetti squash pad Thai ingredients - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

To make this recipe, start by picking up a spaghetti squash. "I usually go for the biggest one I can find so there are lots of noodles in this dish," Hahn shares. Then while you're in the produce aisle pick up a shallot, garlic, onion, red pepper, shredded carrots, scallions, cilantro, super firm tofu, and the optional fresh lime for garnish.

For the sauce, you'll need some avocado oil, tamarind paste, fish sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. "You'll also need some peanuts for topping the dish, and I prefer to buy the roasted and unsalted since there will be plenty of salt in this dish from the ingredients," Hahn shares.

Step 1: Preheat The Oven

setting oven temperature
setting oven temperature - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Poke The Squash

poking squash
poking squash - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Poke the squash several times with a fork and put it in the oven for 20 minutes to soften.

Step 3: Cut And Roast The Squash

squash on baking tray
squash on baking tray - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Cut the squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet, then roast for 30 minutes until the squash is tender throughout.

Step 4: Add Oil To A Pot

adding oil to pot
adding oil to pot - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

While the squash is cooking, make the pad Thai sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small pot and bring the heat to medium.

Step 5: Add The Aromatics

shallot and garlic in pot
shallot and garlic in pot - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the shallot and 2 cloves of garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add More Ingredients

adding tamarind to pot
adding tamarind to pot - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Reduce the heat to low and add the tamarind, fish sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. Stir for 5 minutes, then keep on a low simmer until ready to use.

Step 7: Prepare The Tofu

cubed tofu in bowl
cubed tofu in bowl - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Toss the tofu with 1 tablespoon of oil and the soy sauce.

Step 8: Add Oil To A Pan

adding oil to a pan
adding oil to a pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a non-stick frying pan and bring the heat to medium.

Step 9: Cook The Tofu

tofu cooking in pan
tofu cooking in pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the tofu and cook for 10 minutes before stirring, then stir and cook for 10 more minutes.

Step 10: Add Oil To A Frying Pan

adding oil to pan
adding oil to pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and bring the heat to medium high.

Step 11: Add Onions And Garlic

onions and garlic in pan
onions and garlic in pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the onions and remaining garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Step 12: Add Red Pepper And Carrots

pepper and carrots in pan
pepper and carrots in pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the red pepper and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes.

Step 13: Scoop Out The Squash Seeds

squash with seeds
squash with seeds - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

When the squash is done cooking, let it cool for 10 minutes, then remove, and discard the seeds.

Step 14: Shred The Squash

shredding squash into pan
shredding squash into pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

With a fork, shred the squash into strands and add it to the pan with the vegetables.

Step 15: Add The Tofu And Sauce

adding sauce to pan
adding sauce to pan - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Add the tofu and sauce to the pan and warm through on simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 16: Add Toppings And Serve

bow of pad thai
bow of pad thai - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Top with scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and optional lime before serving.

How Can I Switch Up This Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Recipe?

bowl of pad thai
bowl of pad thai - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

There are several ways to switch up this dish and make it your own. For starters, the type of tofu we're using is super firm which doesn't need to be pressed. If you can't find that, extra firm tofu will work. Just remove it from the package, place it into a shallow bowl, stack a flat plate on top, and place something heavy on top of the plate. Let it sit like this for about 20 minutes, then discard the water that has collected in the bowl. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press.

If you want to experiment with different vegetables, bean sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and snap peas are great options. You can also add water chestnuts for extra crunch. Adjust the sauce to your taste. If you prefer it spicier, add some sriracha or chili garlic sauce. For a sweeter flavor, incorporate more maple syrup or add brown sugar or honey. If you want to make this recipe vegan, just omit the fish sauce or buy a vegan fish sauce. For topping the pad Thai, you can also use cashews or toasted sunflower or sesame seeds. Chopped parsley or mint are other good fresh herb options for topping the dish.

What Can I Pair With This Pad Thai?

pad thai with scallions
pad thai with scallions - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

This spaghetti squash pat Thai makes for a full meal on its own, though you may want to serve it alongside an appetizer or side dish to round it out. For a light starter, steam or boil edamame and sprinkle with sea salt for a quick and easy appetizer option. Alternatively, serve alongside fresh spring rolls filled with crisp vegetables like julienned carrots, cucumber, and avocado. You can include rice noodles or vermicelli for an extra touch.

A simple cucumber salad with thinly sliced cucumbers, red onions, and a light rice vinegar dressing can provide a cool contrast to the warmth and richness of the pad Thai. Or prepare a refreshing Thai salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, shredded cabbage, and a zesty lime dressing. Top it with chopped peanuts for added crunch. If you're looking for a soup option, a bowl of tom yum soup with its hot and sour broth can be a delightful accompaniment, offering a nice contrast to the pad Thai.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Recipe

bowl of pad thai
bowl of pad thai - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 20mCook Time: 1h 33mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash

  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided

  • 1 shallot, diced

  • 5 minced garlic cloves, divided

  • ½ cup tamarind paste

  • ¼ cup fish sauce

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 (16-ounce) package super firm tofu, cubed

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • ½ onion, diced

  • ½ red pepper, sliced

  • ½ cup shredded carrots

  • 3 chopped scallions

  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Optional Ingredients

  • lime for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

  2. Poke the squash several times with a fork and put it in the oven for 20 minutes to soften.

  3. Cut the squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet, then roast for 30 minutes until the squash is tender throughout.

  4. While the squash is cooking, make the pad Thai sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small pot and bring the heat to medium.

  5. Add the shallot and 2 cloves of garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the tamarind, fish sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. Stir for 5 minutes, then keep on a low simmer until ready to use.

  7. Toss the tofu with 1 tablespoon of oil and the soy sauce.

  8. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a non-stick frying pan and bring the heat to medium.

  9. Add the tofu and cook for 10 minutes before stirring, then stir and cook for 10 more minutes.

  10. Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and bring the heat to medium high.

  11. Add the onions and remaining garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

  12. Add the red pepper and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes.

  13. When the squash is done cooking, let it cool for 10 minutes, then remove, and discard the seeds.

  14. With a fork, shred the squash into strands and add it to the pan with the vegetables.

  15. Add the tofu and sauce to the pan and warm through on simmer for 10 minutes.

  16. Top with scallions, peanuts, cilantro, and optional lime before serving.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.