Strands of spaghetti squash stand in for rice noodles as a welcome surprise in this low-carb take on pad Thai. All you need are a few key ingredients to cook this favorite Thai takeout dish in your own kitchen.
The signature flavor in pad Thai comes from the combination of the sweet, salty, and sour flavors found in the sauce, which is composed of tamarind, fish sauce, and sugar. Tamarind can usually be found in health food stores or gourmet markets and also ordered online. Some of the thicker pastes still have the seeds in it, so be sure to separate them from the pulp before using.
Tofu adds a boost of protein and rather than making a mess of your stove with frying it, there’s a fuss-free secret weapon right in your own kitchen—the broiler. No splatters, minimal clean up, and you’ll still have crispy bits of tofu with every forkful of your pad Thai.
- 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash (cooked and squash filling scraped out—see our fast prep below)
- 1/2 pound extra-flrm tofu (drained and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon tamarind
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cilantro (stems finely chopped and leaves left whole)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (like safflower, sunflower or grapeseed oil)
- 3 scallions (thinly sliced, keeping white and dark green parts separate)
- 1 large garlic clove (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts (coarsely chopped)
- 3 ounces bean sprouts
- 1 lime (cut into quarters)
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat oven broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then add tofu. Toss tofu with 1 tablespoon oil. Broil on top rack, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes (watch carefully as broilers vary).
In a medium bowl, combine the fish sauce, tamarind, sugar, cilantro stems, and 2 tablespoons water; whisk to blend then set aside to let sugar and tamarind dissolve.
In a small bowl, beat eggs. Heat 1 tablespoon in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add eggs, and cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 1 minute; transfer to a bowl. Rinse and dry skillet.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same skillet and heat over medium high. Add scallion whites and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the bean sprouts to the skillet. Cook until slightly tender but still crisp, about 1 minute. Stir sauce into pan, then remove from heat. Add tofu, spaghetti squash, and cilantro leaves to skillet, stirring to combine.
Stir egg back to skillet. Divide between plates. Garnish with peanuts and scallion greens. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over before eating.
- Trouble finding tamarind? Sub in an equal amount white wine vinegar.
- Here's a quick way to prep spaghetti squash: in the microwave. Halve spaghetti squash and place cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Cook on high 8 to 12 minutes (microwaves vary). Using a fork, scrape the squash into strands; let cool slightly before using.
- Swap in an equal amount of soy sauce or gluten-free tamari for the fish sauce to make your pad Thai vegan.