This healthy spaghetti squash Pad Thai uses spaghetti squash strands instead of rice noodles for a veggie-packed dish that’s lower in carbs and super satisfying.
Pad Thai is probably one of the most well-known Thai dishes, but if you’re unfamiliar it’s traditionally a stir-fried noodle dish originating from Thailand. It’s typically made with rice noodles, but since I’m a spaghetti squash lover through and through, I had to try it with squash noodles instead. Authentic Pad Thai is made with a sauce that consists of fish sauce, vinegar, tamarind paste and sugar. For this untraditional Pad Thai we’re using a sweet chili almond sauce that doesn’t use fish sauce, but still has a ton of flavor and makes this dish absolutely delicious.
While I never want to imply that spaghetti squash noodles are exact healthy dupes for regular noodles, they are a really great substitute for this Pad Thai dish! I find that while the texture is super similar, spaghetti squash has a firmer texture than cooked noodles and of course, they are thinner than the traditional rice noodles used for Pad Thai. You will know you’re eating vegetables instead of rice noodles, but I love the extra texture in this dish!
Spaghetti squash has a hint of sweetness to it, but overall it’s pretty mild in taste so it takes on the flavors of the dish. In this case there are a lot of delicious flavors happening (especially from the almond sauce) so you don’t have to worry about it tasting bland.
There are two main components of this recipe: the sauce and everything else. I’m obsessed with the chili almond sauce, which is inspired by my chili almond dressing.
Chili Almond Sauce Ingredients:
natural almond butter– look for one with just almonds or almonds + salt
fresh lime juice
low sodium tamari or coconut aminos– I love the sweetness coconut aminos add to this dish but either option works and in a pinch soy sauce works as well
fresh ginger – you could certainly try ground ginger if you don’t have fresh, but fresh ginger gives this sauce so much flavor
sambal oelek or crushed red pepper
Pai Thai Ingredients:
spaghetti squash – either one large one or two small
olive or avocado oil – whichever you have in the pantry works
chicken breast – you could swap this for tofu or shrimp if you don’t eat meat
Sea salt and ground pepper
chopped yellow onion
red bell pepper
green onions, fresh cilantro and limes, for garnish
salted almonds (optional)
How to Prep Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
There are a lot of methods you could use to cook spaghetti squash, but my personal favorite is to cook it in rings. Check out my blog post for the full details, but the cliff notes are: you preheat your oven to 400º F and then cut your spaghetti squash into 1 1/2 inch thick rings. Gently scrape out the seeds in the middle of each ring, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping about 15 minutes in. You’ll be left with perfectly cooked spaghetti squash strands that are long and not watery at all.
After you cook the spaghetti squash and whip up the sauce in your food processor or blender, this recipe is straight forward – just lots of sautéing! First you’ll cook the chicken, then the veggies and then you mix everything together for serving. And if your sauté pan isn’t large enough, you can do the mixing in a large bowl.
Once everything is combined, simply serve with green onions, cilantro, lime and chopped almonds for garnish!
If you make this spaghetti squash Pad Thai, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating down below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers.
Allow squash rings to cool for about 15 minutes, then peel the skin away and use a fork to separate the strands.
While squash is roasting, make the chili almond sauce by adding all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and set aside.
Chop raw chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 Tablespoon oil. Add chicken to the skillet and liberally season with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until all sides are golden and chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the same skillet and sauté together ginger, onion, bell pepper and carrots. Cook until the veggies are starting to soften, about 5-6 minutes.
Add chicken back to the skillet with the veggies. Then add the chili almond sauce and mix everything together thoroughly.
Add spaghetti squash to the skillet and mix again. If your skillet isn’t large enough, you can put everything in a large bowl to mix instead.
Serve the spaghetti squash pad Thai immediately with green onions, fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish. Top with chopped almonds.