Is there a food out there that never makes you feel good, but you love it anyway?
I thought I was the only one with this dilemma, so I was pretty relieved to hear from a few others who experience the same predicament. Let me explain a little further – I love Thai food, and if I could, I would marry Pad Thai. It’s been my favorite Asian dish since I can remember, and it’s always my first choice when ordering takeout. Here’s the thing, though – every time I order Pad Thai takeout, I enjoy eating it, and then I am hit with this awful feeling of stomach bloating and fatigue. It’s miserable! Maybe it’s the MSG or excess oil used in cooking; I’m really not sure. What I am sure of, however, is that food should fuel your body and make you feel GOOD.
Ever heard of mindful eating? It’s a pretty cool concept that encourages individuals to become more aware of their own eating experiences by acknowledging responses to foods. Basically, if something doesn’t make you feel great, even if it’s a food that’s supposed to be “healthy” for you, DON’T eat it. Your body will tell you what it needs, what it likes, and what it dislikes. Just pay attention.
So after years of loving Pad Thai but not loving how it made me feel, I decided to take action and attempt this delicious dish in my own kitchen with a few cleaner ingredients. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated at first. I read through about ten or twelve different traditional Pad Thai recipes. I gathered together all of the most common ingredients and added a few of my own. I taste tested with every new flavor I added, and just like that the most mouthwatering, authentic-tasting Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten was born.
Want to know a few of my favorite things about this dish? First of all, it made a ton of food. I only used half of a large spaghetti squash, and even then there were close to 6 servings. Second, spaghetti squash noodles mean veggies (that taste like noodles!) instead of carb or nutrient-lacking traditional noodles. Score!
Lastly, I love that this dish made me feel great. The flavors are fresh, the textures are exciting, and there’s no puddle of oil left on the plate like there typically is in my plastic takeout container. Why does this Pad Thai make me feel good? Probably because it’s 100% clean, real food. When you feed your body wholesome ingredients (those not processed in plants), it will thank you. Additionally, when you make this recipe and share it with your loved ones, they will thank you too :)
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 small (or 1/2 large) spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons of organic, virgin coconut oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sriracha
1 teaspoon of raw honey (or 4-5 drops of liquid stevia)
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter (should contain at least 90% peanuts with no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives; I like crunchy, but you can use smooth)
1 – 1 1/2 cups of cooked skinless chicken breast, cubed (optional)
3 green onions + more for garnish, chopped
5 ounces of bean sprouts
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of chopped peanuts + more for garnish
Cilantro for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, prepare your squash by carefully cutting it in half and scooping out the seeds. Lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and pepper. Bake cut side down for 45 minutes.
^ This is what happened when I asked my husband to help by cutting the squash in half. Hmm…
While the squash is baking, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and add them to the pan. Move the eggs around the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon until they are no longer liquidy. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the coconut aminos (or soy sauce), lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha, and honey (or stevia).
Transfer the pan with eggs back to low heat. Pour in the mixed sauce and simmer.
Once the sauce begins to bubble, add the peanut butter and stir until it is completed incorporated.
Add the cooked spaghetti squash to the simmering sauce. Stir in the chicken if desired, green onions, bean sprouts, red pepper flakes, and peanuts. Continue cooking over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt if needed. If using full sodium coconut aminos (or soy sauce), or salted peanuts, you probably will not need more sodium.
Garnish each serving with chopped peanuts, green onions, and fresh cilantro.
You can certainly substitute tofu for chicken if you want this meal to be vegetarian.
Enjoy, and live well!