Thai Food. The good, the bad and the spicy.
This Paleo Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is a combination of everything good in the word. It is literally my two favorite words, delicious and nutritious. My sisters and I love Thai food. We are three of the most indecisive women on this planet, and choosing a restaurant is usually a pain staking process. When in doubt, we always choose Thai food. Thai restaurants are great because you can choose the type of protein used in most of the dishes, have heaps of stir fried vegetables, and adjust the level of spice. I tend to live by the motto of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, at least when it comes to spicy foods. And, seeing as 1/2 of the female population in my family is vegetarian, the animal-free options usually go over nicely.
What I don’t love about Thai and most Asian restaurants is that the sauces are generally very high in sugar and sodium. These restaurants also emphasize large portions of rice and noodles in most dishes which make them lower in important nutrients and higher in empty calories. My Paleo Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai recipe offers the balanced, sweet and spicy flavors of a traditional Thai meal but with more nutrient density, and the freedom to control the amount of added sugar, salt and quality of the oil you use. Restaurants often use soy, corn or other vegetable oils in order to cut costs. In terms of smoke points, these oils are okay for cooking, but they are also are much higher in omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory. I really believe that high quality cooking oil is important to use in your home, and a worthwhile investment.
Let’s Talk Fats:
Stability of Cooking Oils and Fatty Acid Profiles
Get to know the smoke points of common cooking oils that you like to use in your home. All oils are composed of a fatty acid profile, meaning they all contain a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The most stable cooking oils are going to be those with a higher level of saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil, butter and ghee are the best options for high temperature cooking and frying. Oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids will oxidate easily at high temperatures, and should not be used for cooking. When an oil oxidates it forms free radicals which can cause cellular damage when ingested. Free radicals can lead to premature aging, and cancer. Who knew food quality was so damn important?
Wait a minute… I thought saturated fats were bad for you?
You, like most people, may still be skeptical of saturated fat. When most of us were going through school, saturated fat was crowned as a contributor to heart disease and people were encouraged to avoid it like the plague. Well, my friends, nutrition is a fairly new science, and we continue to learn more about the bioactivity of foods in relation to the human body. It is important to be a responsible consumer of science, and do your own research. Current nutrition recommendation still advise saturated fat to comprise 10% of calorie intake, but as we accumulate high quality research studies we are beginning to devillainize saturated fats. It is becoming more apparent that the role of saturated fats in relation to heart disease is less significant than it was originally thought to be. Saturated fats can be part of a healthy diet, and play an important role in brain health as we age.
Shall we get started?
Roasting a spaghetti squash is incredibly simple, and if you need a little help here is a quick how to. Once the squash has been roasted, the remainder of this recipe will take 10-15 minutes.
For my vegetarian friends out there, swap the chicken out for tofu or a couple of fried eggs.
Paleo Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
This paleo spaghetti squash pad thai is a lower carb, veggie-loaded version of the traditional rice noodle pad thai with a sweet and spicy sauce.
- 1 Spaghetti squash Roasted
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Chicken breast Cubed
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- 4 Green onions
- 2 tbsp Cashews Chopped
- 1/4 cup Almond butter
- 1/4 cup Coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp Minced garlic
- 1 tbsp Minced ginger
- 1 tbsp Chili paste
- 1 tbsp Lime juice Fresh
- 1 tbsp Rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp Maple syrup
Begin by combining the almond butter, coconut aminos, chili paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, rice vinegar, and maple syrup in a bowl. Wisk together.
Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Once oil is hot, add cubed chicken breast and allow to cook until chicken has browned.
While chicken is cooking, chop the green onions and cilantro. Spiralize the carrot or peel into thin shreds. Cut the bell pepper into long, thin strips.
Once the chicken has cooked, add the carrot, and bell pepper to the pan. Allow to cook for several minutes.
Scrape the inside of the roasted squash with a fork. The squash should begin to come off in noodle-like ribbons. Add squash to the pan, and incorporate.
Poor the sauce into the pan, and keep stirring until everything is evenly coated. The sauce should cover all the ingredients, but the appearance will not be sauce-y.
Garnish with cilantro, green onions, cashews, and serve.
For instructions on how to roast a spaghetti squash click here.