A healthy version of your favorite takeout, my Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is a must try! This post will show you how to prepare this low-carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free and incredibly tasty dish.
Pad Thai is one of my absolute favorite foods. The combination of flavors and textures and sauce and heat is my jam. But with the exception of a rare cheat day, I used to frequently pass on my fave dish. Why? Honestly...noodles. Pad Thai true to form is heavy on the carbs. But love will find a way! Over time I’ve managed to perfect a healthy version of this flavorful dish that I love just as much – if not more – than the original version.
You see, we’re keeping everything that gives Pad Thai it’s signature taste (tamarind sauce, lime, peanuts, cilantro) but replacing the noodles with spaghetti squash. This healthy swap also doesn’t leave me feeling tired or heavy after eating— An added bonus! Keep reading to learn all about this recipe high in nutrients, protein and fiber!
What is Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai?
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is a stir fry that consists of spaghetti squash, eggs and another protein (like tofu, chicken, or shrimp). The signature flavors that shot this dish to stardom come from the sauce; which commonly contains tamarind pulp, fish sauce, garlic, red chili pepper, and coconut sugar. Finally, it’s topped with peanuts and served with a few lime wedges. You can see from the ingredients that it’s giving you all 5 flavors in one dish; sweet, salty, sour, umami, and spicy.
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai, specifically, is an evolved recipe of the original Pad Thai Recipe (which uses rice noodles). Compared to vermicelli, squash noodles are low carb, keto-friendly, and also gluten-free!
Is Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai Healthy?
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is as healthy as it is flavorful. Using fresh produce and spices is always a step in the right direction and this dish provides so many fresh nutrients. The squash itself is low carb, and because of it’s natural texture, blends fabulously with the other ingredients. This recipe also checks all the boxes for a great paleo meal! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I’m here to tell you that Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is also gluten free!
Do I Need To Add Peanut Butter?
This recipe does not use any peanut butter. Some might choose to add a tablespoon or so, but I personally think the sprinkling of peanuts at the end do just fine. If you’re craving a dish with more peanut butter flavor, try my Chopped Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing!
How To Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles
Spaghetti squash noodles are a fabulous alternative to regular rice noodles because they are low carb, gluten-free, grain-free, and contain fiber and protein (along with other nutrients). Cooking the spaghetti squash couldn’t be easier! There are two main ways to cook a spaghetti squash for noodles; in the oven (for baked spaghetti squash) or in the microwave. If you’re a visual learner, check out this video: How To Cook Spaghetti Squash and Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash Thai?
These are 5 main steps I follow for cooking up this dish:
1. Make the Pad Thai Sauce
- I usually want to get all the whisking done at the beginning. So first I dissolve the tamarind paste in hot water.
- Then, I mix in the coconut sugar, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes.
2. Sauté the chicken
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well-browned.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate for later, reserving the drippings in the pan.
- Add onion to the same pan and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
3. Cook the egg
- Push the garlic and onion to the side of the pan.
- In the free space, add 1 more tbsp. olive oil. Add egg and scramble until cooked.
- Once it’s all scrambled, combine it with onion mixture.
4. Mix it all up
- Return the chicken to the pan, and also add the cooked spaghetti squash and your Pad Thai sauce.
- Toss them all together well!
5. Garnish it
- Add green onions, cilantro, and the chopped peanuts and toss them together once more.
- Serve with a couple wedges of lime and sprinkle crushed peanuts over the top.
How To Store Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai?
Easy peasy lemon squeezey! When stored in an airtight container, leftover Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai will keep for up to a week in the fridge. It reheats well! Top with more peanuts and some fresh lime…and I think you’ll be pretty pleased.
If you want to add this dish to your meal prep routine, excellent! All you have to do is freeze the cooked chicken, Pad Thai sauce, and cooked squash noodles separately. Simply allow the ingredients to thaw overnight in the fridge when you’re planning to prepare it. Then, you’ve got the green light to cook up a batch.
A Sweet Pea Chef Tip: Having spaghetti squash noodles on hand is a great way to decrease the prep time for a variety of dishes. While the texture wont be quite the same, it will still work great for those with a busy schedule.
Tips to Perfecting this Squash Pad Thai
- Spaghetti Squash comes in a range of sizes – Make sure that you get a big one! Or two smaller ones instead.
- To avoid a mushy texture, I suggest that you slightly undercook the squash (as you’ll be heating it up again once you mix everything together).
- After baking or microwaving your squash, make sure you let it cool to room temperature before scraping. This will make it a lot easier to separate the fibers into noodles.
- If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can replace the chicken with tofu. In fact, Pad Thai traditionally includes some crispy tofu (more protein!).
More Healthy Squash Recipes
- How to Make Roasted Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash Bisque
- Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- Parmesan Baked Squash and Zucchini Spears
- Butternut Squash Healthy Mac And Cheese
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
This spaghetti squash pad thai recipe is a low carb version of chicken pad thai and is so incredibly delicious! This Pad Thai recipe uses spaghetti squash noodles instead of rice noodles.
- 6 cups spaghetti squash noodles (1 medium spaghetti squash), cooked
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-size cubes
- 2 eggs
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup raw peanuts, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 limes, sliced into wedges for serving
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the tamarind paste in the hot water.
Add the coconut sugar, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well-browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate for later, reserving the drippings in the pan.
Add onion to the same pan and stir to combine. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until onion becomes tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
Push ingredients to one side of the pan and add 1 more tbsp. olive oil in the cleared area. Add egg and scramble until cooked through. Combine cooked egg with onion mixture.
Return the chicken to the pan. Add the cooked spaghetti squash noodles and sauce. Toss together to incorporate sauce with noodles. Cook 4-5 minutes, until noodles get slightly golden-brown.
Remove from heat. Add green onions, cilantro, and the chopped peanuts. Toss once more.
Serve with a couple wedges of lime and sprinkle some crushed peanuts over the top. Squeeze lime over Pad Thai prior to eating, if preferred.