Healthy Pad Thai



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This healthy pad thai recipe is made with cabbage noodles instead of regular noodles. It’s a 15-minute meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights. Gluten-free + low-carb.

If you’re a fan of pad thai, but are looking for something a bit lighter this healthy pad thai recipe is for you!

The recipe comes from my friend Andie Mitchell’s cookbook, Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook and it’s definitely a must-try! It comes together in 15 minutes (yes, you heard that correctly) and has all the delicious flavor of pad thai flavor, we’re just using cabbage noodles instead of regular pad thai noodles for a lighter option. Added bonus: you can still twirl the cabbage noodles with your fork!

Healthy pad thai garnished with fresh cilantro and peanuts on a white plate with wooden chopsticks.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple – With minimal prep and cooking time, this dish is on your table faster than takeout.
  • Adaptable – Easily modify it to include your favorite protein or use what you have on hand for a custom twist.
  • Dietary-friendly – With options for gluten-free and other dietary preferences, it’s a versatile dish everyone can appreciate.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Pad Thai: fish sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, onion, cornstarch, olive oil, eggs, jalapeño, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, cabbage and peanuts.

Healthy Pad Thai Ingredients

  • soy sauce or tamari – the recipe called for soy sauce, but I used low-sodium tamari for a gluten-free option. You can also use coconut aminos if you prefer.
  • fish sauce – adds the essential tangy-savory flavor unique to pad thai.
  • low-sodium chicken broth – provides moisture without overpowering the sauce. Feel free to use vegetable broth instead.
  • sugar – just a touch to balance the tanginess and spice. If you don’t want to use white sugar, you can use coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey instead.
  • cornstarch or arrowroot powder – helps to thicken the sauce. Either cornstarch or arrowroot powder will work.
  • large eggs – adds protein to this dish.
  • olive oil – used for sautéing, though any neutral oil will do.
  • jalapeño pepper – brings a mild heat; adjust according to your spice preference.
  • small onion – for sweetness and texture.
  • green bell pepper – adds crunch and a pop of color.
  • garlic cloves – for that aromatic kick essential in pad thai.
  • green cabbage – shredded finely, it’s the nutritious base of this noodle-free version.
  • fresh cilantro or thai basil – brings freshness and a burst of flavor.
  • dry-roasted unsalted peanuts – offers a crunchy finish and nutty flavor.
  • flaky sea salt – a final sprinkle enhances all the flavors.

How to Make Healthy Pad Thai

Step 1: Make sauce by adding the soy sauce (or tamari), fish sauce, broth, sugar and cornstarch to a bowl. Whisk to fully combine.

Side by side photos showing the sweet soy sauce being whisked to make for a pad thai recipe.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk.

Side by side photos of four eggs being whisked in a bowl, before and after.

Step 3: Add oil to a skillet and saute the jalapeño, onion and green pepper until crisp-tender, then add garlic briefly. Move veggies to a plate.

Side by side photos, before and after of peppers and onions and garlic being cooked in a skillet.

Step 4: In the same skillet, add more oil, then add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, stir into the cabbage, and cook, stirring constantly, until just set, about 2 minutes.

Side by side photos: one of cooked shredded cabbage in a skillet and the second of eggs added to the skillet to be scrambled.

Step 5: Pour the sauce over the cabbage, heating until it thickens. Mix in the cooked veggies.

Photo of soy sauce mixture being added to the cabbage and photo of the peppers and onions added to the skillet.

Step 6: Off heat, stir in cilantro or Thai basil, then top with peanuts.

Photo of the cabbage pad thai topped with cilantro, and then a photo showing chopped peanuts added to the top as well.

Dietary Substitutions

  • Gluten-free: Use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to keep the dish gluten-free. Also, verify that the fish sauce and chicken broth are gluten-free.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the fish sauce and substitute it with a vegan fish sauce alternative or add extra tamari. Also, swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Vegan: In addition to the above substitutions, replace the eggs with scrambled tofu to mimic the texture and protein content.
  • Nut-free: If you have a peanut allergy or just don’t like them, then try swapping them for something like slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds to keep this recipe nut-free.
Healthy Pad Thai in a large white pot garnished with fresh cilantro and peanuts.

How to Store Leftover Healthy Pad Thai

  • In the refrigerator: Cool the pad thai to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat: To reheat, warm the dish in a skillet over medium heat on the stove top, stirring frequently, until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave it stirring occasionally, until warm.
Healthy pad thai garnished with fresh cilantro and peanuts on a white plate with wooden chopsticks.

More Cabbage Recipes

More Quick & Easy Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of the cabbage recipes as well as the full collection of dinner recipes on EBF!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.63 from 8 votes

Healthy Pad Thai

This healthy pad thai recipe is made with cabbage noodles instead of regular noodles. It's a 15-minute meal that's perfect for busy weeknights. Gluten-free + low-carb.
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch , or arrowroot powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups finely shredded green cabbage, about half a medium head
  • ½ cup packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dry-roasted unsalted peanuts


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, broth, sugar, and cornstarch.
    A small white bowl with a metal whisk and pad thai sauce.
  • In another small bowl, beat the eggs.
    A white bowl with a metal whisk and eggs.
  • In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the jalapeño, onion, and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
    Green pepper, yellow pepper, and onion in a large white pot with a woman's hand holding a wooden spoon.
  • Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
    Shredded cabbage used in the healthy pad thai, in a large white pot with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the eggs, stir into the cabbage, and cook, stirring constantly, until just set, about 2 minutes.
    Healthy pad thai in a large white pot.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture, stir well, and bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the cabbage is coated in a thick, glossy sauce. Stir in the onions and peppers. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro. Sprinkle the the peanuts over the top and serve.
    Healthy pad thai garnished with fresh cilantro in a large white pot.


Reprinted with permission from Eating in the Middle.


Serving: 1/2 of recipe | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 25g | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 15g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: healthy pad thai
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 2 stars
    Recipe is tasty, and I don’t mind a lot of work for a payoff… BUT when I’m planning a meal and am making other items to go with it, I think timing is important. 7 minute cook time and 7 minute prep time is what I saw at first glance and planned accordingly. The first two steps of cooking alone, are “cook first set of ingredients for 5 minutes, set aside. Cook second set of ingredients for 5 minutes”, then, proceed to the next 4 steps? I’m not a mathematician, but I feel like that adds up to more than seven minutes of cook time. This is after I got out and measured and prepped 14 ingredients, 7 of which required chopping, slicing, or mincing. Which I can’t imagine, completing in seven minutes of prep time even if I had sous chefs. Overall, this recipe took me probably closer to an hour from start to finish at the end of an already very long day. Will I make this again? yeah probably cause it actually is good however, I would choose to make it on a weekend when I had the time to do so.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, Amber. I will have to test this recipe again and make sure I double-check the prep time. I am glad you did enjoy the flavors though!

    1. YAY! This makes me so happy to hear, Lisa! Glad you gave this one a try and it was a hit. Thank you for sharing your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!

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