Pad Thai is a popular stir-fried noodle dish made with ingredients like eggs, peanuts, shallots, sprouts, tofu, and meat.1 However, most restaurant varieties today are usually cooked with a lot of vegetable oil, which can contain fats that are not beneficial to your health, especially for your heart.
Did You Know?
- Pad Thai, a popular and classic staple in Thai cuisine, is a stir-fried dish composed of noodles, vegetables, meat, eggs, peanuts, and tofu
- Coconut oil contains 50 percent lauric acid that can be converted into monolaurin, which can ward off lipid-coated viruses
- Despite their hot and fiery taste, chili peppers are attributed to various health benefits due to the capsaicin, a chemical that can help fight obesity and support weight loss
My version of Pad Thai is noodle-free, veggie-filled, and nutrient-loaded, but is as delicious and nutritious as the original. Take the flavors of Thailand right into your own home by preparing this savory and satisfying dish for your family.
Pad Thai with Almond Sauce Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded or spinach, chopped
- ½ cup whole cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons nama shoyu (raw soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon habanero chili, minced
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced or green apple, cored and thinly sliced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced, or green beans, thinly sliced
- 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 cups coconut meat, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- 8 whole romaine lettuce leaves
For the almond sauce
- ½ cup raw almond butter
- 1½ tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 red chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon nama shoyu
- ¼ cup water, more if necessary
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Serving Size: 4
- For the almond sauce: combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to thin. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, and lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together tamarind juice, maple syrup, nama shoyu, garlic, ginger, chili, coconut oil, and salt. Set aside.
- Meanwhile combine the onion, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage mixture and toss with the tamarind dressing.
(Adapted from Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
Pad Thai with Almond Sauce Preparation Tips
Buying and Storing Fresh Ingredients
Since this traditional noodle dish will be replaced by a generous portion of vegetables, make sure that you purchase high-quality organic produce.
- Spinach: This popular leafy green should have broad, thick, crisp, and dark green leaves. Don’t purchase varieties that are limp, thin, or light in color.2
Store your spinach in a Ziploc bag or plastic container lined with a dry paper towel in the fridge for up to three weeks.3
- Cilantro: Avoid ones that have mushy leaves. You can distinguish them from other herbs like parsley by looking at the label or checking if it has that pungent and distinct cilantro smell. Place them in a produce bag in the vegetable section of your refrigerator for up to a week.4
- Chili peppers: Vibrantly colored chili peppers with no signs of wilting are your best choice. It is also important to know that smaller chilies are spicier, so if you’re cooking with people who cannot tolerate spicy food, opt for bigger ones. Chilies have a long shelf life so you can store them in an airtight bag for two to three weeks in the refrigerator or frozen in an airtight bag for up to a year.5
Be careful when handling them though, since they have oils which can cause irritation. As a rule of thumb, avoid touching your skin after making contact with chili peppers, especially around your eye area.6
- Cucumber: Pick cucumbers that are firm, green, and slender. Watch out for soft spots and wrinkles and stay away from overgrown ones that are large in diameter, and those that are dull in color. When at home, do not freeze them.7
Instead, store them whole in an airtight bag or tightly with plastic wrap for up to three days.8
- Green apples: Opt for apples that are deeply colored, naturally shiny, heavy for their size, and are firm.9
You can keep them at room temperature for three days or in the refrigerator for at least three weeks. Never store them with vegetables since they give off a plant hormone called ethylene, which can cause some vegetables to spoil. 10, 11
Making Your Own Almond Butter
Given the rise in popularity of almond butter lately, not only because of its taste but health benefits as well, a lot of stores and marketplaces now carry this product.
Kitchen Treaty12 has an easy guide on making your own almond butter at home. All you need are raw almonds, Kosher salt, and a sturdy food processor or blender. Grind and blend the almonds for about 12 to 15 minutes, scrape the sides of the container, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about two weeks.
Why Is Pad Thai with Almond Sauce Good for You?
Almond butter has risen to prominence nowadays as it’s being used as ingredients for sandwiches, pastries, and smoothies, to name a few.13 Organic almonds are loaded with the “good stuff,” so to speak, which include:
- Monounsaturated fats
- Vitamin E
The skins of the almonds also contain antioxidants including phenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Furthermore, various studies and research have been conducted attesting to the health benefits of almonds. Some of the results included a decrease in people’s weight and BMIs, waist circumferences, body fat, and risk of weight gain and factors for coronary heart disease. Almonds have also shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and have a prebiotic effect on your gut, which can help boost your immune system.
Coconut oil is 50 percent lauric acid, which is converted into a monoglyceride called monolaurin that has the potential to destroy dangerous lipid-coated viruses. Its composition is unique – its medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs make it easy to digest and pass through various cell membranes.
I recommend making coconut oil one of your pantry staples because consuming it does not result in an insulin spike, and it can withstand higher temperatures, which is a must when cooking. It can also be used for various cosmetic purposes and treatments for sicknesses. Coconut oil also:
- Promotes heart health and healthy brain function
- Serves as an energy source for your body
- Supports proper thyroid function
- Strengthens the immune system
- Maintains healthy skin
Although people tend to stay away from cilantro (or coriander, if you like) because of its strong smell, this low-calorie herb contains no cholesterol, and is home to vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, and K. In addition, it is abundant in minerals like calcium, folate, iron, manganese, and potassium, volatile oils, and flavonoids with antioxidant properties.14
Incorporating cilantro to your food can result in:
- Reduced LDL or “bad cholesterol” and blood pressure levels and accumulation of heavy metals in the body
- Treatment of varices, hemorrhoids, pain in bones, rheumatism, and (according to a recent study) anxiety, depression, or panic attacks
- Better digestion
- Liver detoxification
- Increased appetite
- Prevention of nausea and curing small pox, ulcers, and mouth sores
- Protection against UTI and damage from free radicals
- Strengthened immune system
- Pain relief
- Protection against salmonella15
If you take a look at what spinach has to offer, it’s not surprising to see why Popeye the sailor is such an advocate of this vegetable. This leafy green prides itself in having a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, C, E, and K, and doses of calcium, copper, fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc. Flavonoids in this plant also act as antioxidants. Moreover, it’s low in cholesterol and fat.
As a result, spinach prevents cholesterol from oxidizing and protects your body from free radicals. A healthier cardiovascular system, reduced blood pressure levels, and boosted brain function, memory levels, mental clarity, eyesight, and bones are also associated with spinach. It is also said to lower the risk of contracting breast and colon cancer, help fight inflammation, acne, and wrinkles, minimize DNA damage, and prevent calcium from depositing in tissues and blood vessels.16
They may be too hot to handle at times, but chili peppers can turn out to be quite good for you. Minerals like calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and niacin can be found in these peppers, as well as essential amino acids,17 and vitamins A, B2, B6, C, and E.18
A major contributor to the health benefits of chili peppers would be capsaicin, a chemical naturally found in them. Capsaicin helps fight obesity and supports weight loss by lowering fat tissue and blood fat levels and preventing fat build-up. Because of this, your body’s satiety increases, allowing you to feel full without eating too much.19
Lowering the risk of Parkinson’s disease, tumors, and cancer, as well as boasting of antioxidant properties adds to the list of reasons why chili peppers are good for you.
The idiom “cool as a cucumber” definitely does justice to this vegetable, which we have come to know and love. Cucumbers have high amounts of B-vitamins and vitamins C and K. Furthermore, the vegetable contains minerals like copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, flavonols, and polyphenols. Eating cucumbers is definitely cool because of the various health benefits you can get from it, such as:
- Keeps your brain and heart healthy
- Treats headaches
- Lowers risk of heart disease and several cancers
- Fights inflammation
- Possesses antioxidant properties
- Freshens breath
- Supports digestive health
- Maintains weight
Apples are a staple in different diets across the world, and it’s not surprising to see why. Whether you like your apples big or small, red, green, or any color in between, you can be sure that you will be getting dosages of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C, and minerals like calcium, copper, fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
They say that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and you can guarantee fewer trips to the doctor’s office soon because apples are known to:
- Possess antioxidants like vitamin A that keep free radicals at bay
- Control heart rate and blood pressure levels
- Fight wrinkles and rejuvenate your skin
- Help strengthen the bone structure20
- Improve functioning of the thyroid gland
- Increase metabolism by boosting digestion and bowel movement
- Help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Strengthen immune system
Sources and References