The name of this dish sounds like an oxymoron. “Traditional, authentic style pad thai does NOT have Zoodles,” you yell. “Explain yourself!” If you insist. 😉
I love making Asian food that tastes as close to the original as possible, but I’m also on a health journey. When creating the sauce, I translated recipes, searched across several blogs, and found the most common themes. I only switched out the sugars suggested for honey. In my hunt for sauce ingredients, I found other common ingredients that I made sure to include – preserved or dried radishes (I used pickled!), peanuts, bean sprouts, garlic chives… and more.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the easiest ways to make recipes lighter is to supplement your carbs! I personally chose not to cut rice noodles from this recipe (although you absolutely could). However, I did choose to use less noodles and supplement with zucchini noodles. I’ve always noted that zoodles are tasty, but they don’t actually feel like spaghetti noodles to me. The truth is, their texture is so close to rice noodles that I’m surprised I didn’t think of it before! Trust me – they are the perfect addition to your dinner! If you would prefer to cut the zucchini, double the rice noodle amount. 🙂
Marinate your protein (I chose tofu), and soak your rice noodles starting 45 minutes before cook time! Use this time to prep all of your other ingredients and the sauce. Cook up your protein in the skillet or wok before the rest to save on dishes and keep it from overcooking.
After cooking up your veggies, stir in the noodles and sauce. When the sauce is MOSTLY soaked into the noodles, add your zucchini.
Clear a space in the wok for the eggs and scramble them. When they are partially cooked, fold the noodles over top, continue cooking, flip and break up the eggs.
Remove from heat and stir in your other toppings! Don’t forget the lime!
Authentic Zoodle Pad Thai
Combining traditional flavours with lighter ingredients! Perfect for meal prep or a family dinner.
- 2 tbsp honey***
- ¼ cup tamarind concentrate (or paste)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce***
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 ½ cups firm tofu chopped or mashed
- 2 eggs*** beaten
- 3 zucchini spiralized (about 3 cups)
- 3 oz dry rice noodles* soaked for an hour and drained, optional
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1 large shallot thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp chili flakes or more to preference
- ¼ cup pickled radishes thinly sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup garlic chives Chinese chives, chopped
- ¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts chopped
- ½ lime sliced into wedges
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro optional
Whisk together all ingredients.
I chose not to marinate my tofu as there are enough flavours going on! Heat 1 tsp of sesame oil in a wok over medium high heat. Cook the tofu until cooked through. I chose to scramble them similarly to eggs. Remove from pan. Heat remaining oil in the wok.
Add shallots, garlic, radishes, and chili flakes; cook until garlic starts to brown. Add noodles to the wok along with the sauce. Stir until the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce. Stir in zucchini noodles at this stage.** Cook until zucchini noodles start to soften. Move everything to one side of the wok.
Add eggs to the pan and scramble. When mostly cooked, fold noodles on top of the eggs, finish cooking, flip, and break up the eggs. Turn off the heat.
Stir in bean sprouts, most of the peanuts, and garlic chives. Plate the noodles, top with chicken, remaining peanuts, and a slice of lime. Squeeze lime over plate before eating. Enjoy!
*You can soak the noodles in advance and store them sealed in the fridge
** You can opt to make this recipe without rice noodles. In that case, add zoodles and half of the sauce once the shallot start to soften. Follow the recipe otherwise as written, adding more sauce after adding the eggs as needed to your taste! ***Currently, this recipe is vegetarian. To make vegan, substitute sweetener of choice, add ¾ cup of tofu in place of eggs, and use soy sauce or other alternative for fish sauce