I have really been enjoying spaghetti squash recently! It is so versatile and I like the way that you can use it as a lighter replacement for noodles is a lot of dishes. Usually I see this being done with more Italian style dishes but I thought that it would be great to replace the rice noodles in one of my favourite noodle dishes, Pad Thai, with some spaghetti squash. Pad Thai is a Thai style stir-fried noodle dish with a base of thick rice noodles, some eggs and a tasty sauce that is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. From there you can add pretty much anything that you want to and I usually go with some shrimp and plenty of vegetables and herbs.
For the recipe I went with my usual Pad Thai recipe making only a few slight modifications to take into account the delicate nature of the spaghetti squash 'noodles'. After roasting the spaghetti squash, you extract the 'noodles', letting them drain off any excess liquid in a colander before adding them to the stir-fry. In order to make sure that the spaghetti squash noodles retain their shape you add them at the very end and only gently mix the other ingredients of the stir-fry into them.
Note: This recipe contains a few more exotic ingredients like the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and palm sugar and you should be able to find them in the Asian section of your grocery store or in an Asian grocery store. If you have trouble tracking them down they each have easier substitutes; lime juice, soy sauce and brown sugar.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Pad Thai
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 55 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Servings: 4
Shrimp Pad Thai served on spaghetti squash 'noodles' instead or rice noodles.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (~4lb), cut in half, and seeds removed
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate or 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce or to taste
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 cup carrot, julienned
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Brush the inside of the spaghetti squash with oil and roast, skin side up, in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 45 minutes, before scooping the flesh out with a fork and leaving it in a colander to drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, chili sauce and peanut butter until smooth and then prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Heat oil in a pan, add the shrimp, cook until just opaque, about 2-3 minutes, and set aside.
- Add the shallots saute for a minute, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the bean sprouts and carrots and cook for a minute.
- Spread everything to the outside of the pan, add the eggs, let them set a bit and then cook it scrambled style, mixing it into the vegetables.
- Add the spaghetti squash, the sauce, green onions, peanuts and cilantro and gently mix everything up until the sauce is evenly mixed in and remove from heat.
Note: The peanut butter is not really traditional but I like it; omit it if you want.
Note: You want to be gentle with the spaghetti squash because if you over mix it it will turn from spaghetti like to mush.
Option: Replace the shrimp with tofu and the fish sauce with soy sauce for vegetarian.