Spaghetti Squash Thai Style

I have learned that an important component of kitchen creativity involves working outside of one’s comfort zone. I try to venture there regularly. What is the old saying, you don't know unless you try. In trying, I can guarantee that nine times out of ten, you will be pleasantly surprised. For those other rare attempts, you will probably say never again. Trust me, been there and done that. I have followed recipes to a tee only to be disappointed by the end result. I have also created grand notions with invented recipes that did not pan out. Touch wood these two cases don’t happen frequently but when they do, after a quick pout, I chalk it up to experience, dust my apron off and greet the next recipe with a vengeance. 

Once a week, usually on a Monday, I make it our business to prepare a vegetarian meal. I figure that we have six other nights a week to enjoy chicken, beef, turkey, pork, bison or lamb so why not. As such, part of my weekend these days involves figuring out what in the world to do for dinner that night. Here is where the creativity comes in for its supporting role. In the past year, I have purchased a handful of vegetarian cookbooks that garnered rave reviews including one from the UK whose pages generously lend the most magnificent photographs. I have earmarked about thirty such photographs for future meals. I can make that I say to myself as I trace my fingers cautiously along the pages. 

Another book, focused on Middle Eastern cooking, introduced me to the sexy new spice of the hour, za’atar. Unable to find it in my local shops, I sought it out on the Internet. Danke schoen Amazon. In October of last year, I used it in a dip that called for goat cheese, Greek yoghurt, garlic, red chilies, maple syrup, green onions, hazelnuts and roasted beets. The rich, purple color alone drew curious friends to the dish. Served with simple garlic toast, it was a home run. It should be noted that za’atar also makes for a dynamite pork tenderloin rub.

While leafing through a magazine at the gym last week, I came across a recipe that fit the bill for a Monday night dinner. A less complicated version of the traditional Pad Thai recipes and made with spaghetti squash in lieu of noodles. It must be noted that I am easily lured by the mention of Pad Thai. Can we say kryptonite on a fork. Spaghetti squash is a most versatile vegetable and an easy substitute for pasta. Given that now is the time for squash, look for it at your local grocer. We like to pair ours with pesto, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese and toasted walnuts. Once upon a time we whipped up a shrimp scampi dish with it that was beyond reproach. Noodles aside, it was the real deal. We are besotted with spaghetti squash dancing in Bolognese sauce and mixed vegetables alike.

This Pad Thai variety is healthier than the version most enjoy in our beloved Thai restaurants. I am all about no guilt meals. The sauce is very light and the addition of tofu is excellent though one could substitute shrimp or even chicken for those non-vegetarian nights.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Adapted from the magazine Fitness


1 spaghetti squash
The juice of 3 limes
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1.5 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS brown sugar 
½ jalapeƱo or use a whole one for more kick– chopped 
1 TBS water
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS almond butter
3 cups green cabbage – chopped
14 oz extra firm tofu – cut it into cubes
4 eggs – whisked
2 cups of cilantro – chopped
4 green onions – chopped
Roasted, salted peanuts
4 green onions – chopped
1 head of broccoli

To Prepare

1. To roast your butternut squash, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush a bit of olive oil on the squash. Place face down in a pan and roast for 1 hour at 425 degrees. Once done, let the two halves cool for approximately 15 minutes. After this time, take a fork and gently pull the squash into a large bowl. It will resemble that of spaghetti.

2. Mix together the juice of 2 limes, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, jalapeno and water in a small sauce pan. Keep warm over very low heat.

3. Heat olive oil in a separate pan on medium high heat and add your cabbage. You will need to cook this for approximately five to seven minutes. Now stir in your tofu and cook for another five minutes. Once everything is cooked through nicely and the cabbage is no longer raw, add the whisked egg mixture to the pan. Stir gently for approximately four minutes.

4. Once the eggs are cooked, add the spaghetti squash to the medley. Also add 1 cup of chopped cilantro as well as the sauce you prepared in step two. At this time, I also add a dollop of almond butter. Another big generous stir or two to even everything out.

5. Serve this in bowls with steamed broccoli, green onions, more cilantro and small handful of peanuts. A squeeze of lime on top and you are ready to roll. Happy meatless eating.

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