healthy peanut pad thai on a white plate with fork

Healthy Peanut Pad Thai

My healthy version of peanut pad thai is light and yet still substantial, and bursting with flavor. I promise you won’t miss the peanut butter!

Pad thai was always my go-to order whenever my friends and I ordered Thai food. It’s chock-full of flavor but loaded with calories (thanks to peanut butter) and lots of sugar and oil. Since I am always looking for ways to make my favorite dishes healthier, I created this recipe (adapted from Mark Bittman) for healthy peanut pad thai. It doesn’t skimp on tastiness but is much healthier and vibrant.

This peanut pad thai recipe is loaded with cabbage and is bursting with fresh flavor from the ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Even better, you can make this dish in just 15 minutes! It comes together in 4 easy steps, so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight when you want a nutritious and flavorful meal but don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. And if you have guests over for dinner, they will think you made a huge effort (no need to let them in on the truth)!

close up of healthy peanut pad thai with cilantro and toasted peanuts on a white plate

4 Easy Steps for Peanut Pad Thai

  1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
  3. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt.
  4. Add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve immediately. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

pad thai sauce in a sauce pot

Variations and Substitutions

  • If you don’t have access to tamarind paste, you can easily substitute lemon juice, lime juice, or Worcestershire sauce. You want an ingredient that has a similar sweet-sour taste.
  • Fish sauce is a very potent ingredient. But it’s necessary in many Asian dishes to provide that deep umami flavor. If you don’t have it on hand, you could substitute miso paste or soy sauce to get similar tasting notes.
  • If you want additional protein, you could add 1 cup of tofu, chickpeas, or any animal protein as well!
  • This recipe is already packed with lots of nutrition from cabbage and bean sprouts, but you could also add any of your favorite vegetables to this dish. Or swap them for the cabbage or sprouts!
  • Bean sprouts are a great source of fiber and have a delicious nutty flavor, but if they aren’t available at your local market, finding a substitution isn’t necessary. This peanut pad thai recipe will still be delicious!

pad thai with cabbage in a skillet

Seeing as that I’m turning 40 this year, I feel the need to try some new things and push myself out of my comfort zone.  I signed up for a half-marathon in April, and Mr. K and I plan on taking a trip to China this summer.  And, of course, I want to continue challenging myself in the kitchen!

healthy peanut pad thai with chopsticks on a white plate

Enjoy your week, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments – I would love to hear if you try this recipe! Or tag me on Instagram @maryannehoekstra to let me know how it turned out! Also, if you are enjoying my blog, please consider recommending it to your friends. They can subscribe here.

More Vegetarian Recipes!

healthy peanut pad thai on a white plate with fork

Healthy Peanut Pad Thai

A healthier version of vegetarian pad thai that is loaded with cabbage and bursting with flavor!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ounces fettuccine-width rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes (if using) and set aside.
  • Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, around 3-5 minutes.
  • Add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve immediately. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.
Keyword cilantro, fish sauce, peanuts, rice noodles

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I always think about Pad Thai with meat – but I’m loving this healthy version with peanuts. Excited to try it!

    • Gastronotherapy

      You can definitely add meat if you want to, but this recipe is so flavorful that you won’t miss it!

  2. 5 stars
    Ooh, 15 minutes and 4 easy steps! Plus it’s a healthy version of a popular recipe. What more could anyone want, seriously? It is definitely my kinda recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Pad thai is one of my favorite thai food. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

  4. 5 stars
    This pad thai looks amazingly fresh and tasty!! I love it. I am over the hill also, but hope that with exercise it’s ok to keep going, haha! Love everything here and the delicious list of ingredients!

  5. 5 stars
    Only 20 minutes to all this delicious, flavorful, healthy sauce? Count me in! Delish!

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