I am so excited to share this recipe! I know I said that about my paleo chocolate zucchini bread, last week, but this dish is so delicious, it can be ready in under 30 minutes, and each time you prepare it you can change up the protein! Perfect for a weeknight dinner! Chicken, shrimp, tofu, whatever your preference is and whatever your tastebuds are craving that night- it can be done.
I am always craving pad thai but honestly never ever order it when I am out to eat. My body does not do well with an abundance or excess amount of sodium, heavy foods, and sometimes they just over do it on the sauce. Also, every time I see someone order it, I feel like the serving size is enough for 4 people- that just overwhelms me for some reason. Anyways, over the weekend, I finally made it my mission to create a healthier version!
I think it's the sauce that makes the entire dish and you probably want to start with a really good peanut butter or at least your favorite brand! Can you believe that this is my first time making a peanut sauce? Which is kind of crazy considering how many jars of peanut butter I go through a week. You would think this peanut sauce or peanut sauce in general would be a staple in my kitchen! This particular one I made for the dish, is so simple, creamy, and both sweet and savory with a little added kick. I used fresh squeezed lime, cilantro, just a little bit of low- sodium soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and of course peanut butter! I used one of my favorite brands of peanut butter, Teddie, and decided to use super chunky. Mainly, because chunky is the only kind that I buy, but also, I thought it would give the sauce a bit more texture and a little crunch to the whole dish when it would finally come together. This peanut butter does have more sodium than most others that I have seen, which is why I opted for low sodium soy sauce and didn't add any sea salt in the dish, so feel free to adjust! I also love this peanut butter because it is really creamy and only made with two ingredients- peanuts and salt AND it's local! Another one of my favorite's is Woodstock's peanut butter! They are similar in taste and texture.
Obviously, I used zucchini as the base for the noodles, but you had to see that coming right? As you know, I am still pretty low key obsessed with my spiralizer - plus the zoodles make the perfect substitution and take just a few minutes to cook on the stove in some coconut oil. Keeping with the lighter/healthier theme, I wanted to add more veggies to the dish and really make the peanut sauce the main focus. I julienned a few carrots, added a few green beans for some crunch, and chopped up a few red peppers to add to the spiciness of sauce. I added chicken for my protein element, but if you are a vegetarian you can easily leave meat out! You can either add tofu, shrimp, or roast a handful of peanuts in the oven and add them to the dish when its done! There are so many different options and it all can be cooked in the same pan! Once everything has been cooked and still warm, the peanut sauce is poured over the pan and you mix it all together allowing everything to become drenched and marinated in the sauce for a few minutes. *swoon* Then you finish it off with fresh squeezed lime and chopped cilantro!
The flavors from the peanut sauce mixed with the vegetables pair so well together and the sauce is so creamy and rich tasting that you won't even believe you are eating a healthy version!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Peanut sauce (mild to spicy)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. of tamari sauce (soy sauce)
juice of 1 lime
3 sprigs of cilantro
1/2 tsp. of ginger
1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. of warm water
2 large carrots, peeled or spiralized
1 red pepper, cut lengthwise
1 cup cabbage, chopped
3 medium sized zucchini, spiralized into zoodles
1/2 cup string beans
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. of coconut oil
3 chicken breasts (or shrimp/tofu)
For the sauce:
In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and blend. The sauce will be a little on the thicker side, if you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more water, but note that once you had it to the warm pan it will thing. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of coconut oil on high heat and add the diced chicken breasts. Cook for 7-8 minutes. You will see a slightly golden color appear on the outer edges of the skin. Remove from the skillet & set aside.
Using the same pan (you may need to add 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil to the pan) add the red pepper, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, and string beans. Saute over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring somewhat constantly. I tend to like my veggies with a little crunch, you can saute for a bit long giving them a tender texture or a little less giving them a firm texture.
Once the veggies have reached the desired consistency, add the chicken, give it a stir and turn off the heat.
Next, add the spicy peanut sauce directly to the pan. I added half of the sauce that I made, taste tested, then added more to each individual dish according to taste buds. Finish off with fresh squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Serve warm. Left overs will last up to 5 days! Enjoy.