Paleo Pad Thai

There’s a restaurant on the drag in Austin (Guadalupe street near the UT campus) called Madam Mam’s. It’s always packed, so one day Hope and I decided to walk in and check it out. The menu was overwhelming, to say the least – 10 pages filled with a ton of Asian food we had never even heard of. We thought about leaving, but Hope spotted a dish a couple next to us was eating and asked what it was. They said it was Pad Thai – the only thing they get at Madam Mam’s and they highly recommended it. It looked normal enough so we ordered it, and it’s now one of our favorite dishes in Austin.

Hope loves Pad Thai from Madam Mam’s so much that when I go to Austin for work stuff or to visit friends, she asks me to order a couple servings of it so that she can have some for the week. It’s seriously that good. Chicken, egg, peanut sauce, noodles – just delicious.

Pad Thai

Unfortunately, Pad Thai is not paleo, not even in the slightest. So I thought my days of delicious Pad Thai were over. Then I found Well Fed, a paleo cookbook by Melissa Joulwan. In the book, she had a recipe for paleo-approved Pad Thai, so I thought I’d give it a shot. The eggs and chicken were still there, but the noodles were replaced with ridiculously-easy-to-make spaghetti squash, and the peanut sauce was given an overhaul to make it caveman friendly.

These recipes are found in Well Fed – it really is an awesome, easy-to-use cookbook. They even have a second one, the appropriately named Well Fed 2, with even more delicious recipes. You should absolutely check them out.

Paleo Pad Thai – Serves 2

Chicken Thighs

  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ground garlic powder
  • paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat a gas grill with burners on high and the lid closed. If you don’t have a grill, preheat your oven to 400F and cook for 30-35 minutes.

Place the chicken on a large platter in a single layer, smooth side facing up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little bit of paprika. Flip and do the same on the other side.

Lay foil down on the grill, and spread the coconut oil all over the foil so that your chicken doesn’t stick. Or, if you’re not lazy and you clean up your grill every time you use it, just place the chicken directly on the grill. Place the chicken smooth side down on the grill and close the lid. Cook 4-5 minutes and then flip, cooking another 4 minutes with the lid closed. The chicken is cooked with the juices run clear and it has turned toasty brown on both sides.

Sunshine Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I just use the already minced stuff from the store – SO much easier)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (this is found in the Asian food aisle of most grocery stores. It looks just like soy sauce, and its an excellent stand-in for soy sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter (no sugar added) – this was a little bit difficult to find at HEB, but I found it at Whole Foods in the pre-packaged peanut butter aisle, not the self-serve aisle
  • day ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (the stuff in the carton, not the can – there’s a difference ’cause, reasons)

Place all the ingredients except the coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor and whirl until well blended. I have a NutriBullet – and it works just as well, you’ll just have to continually scrape down the sides of the cup.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl (see, told ya) with a rubber scraper, then add the coconut milk. Process until it’s blended and smooth. Store covered in the fridge.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • water
  • yep, that’s it

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the squash in half hotdog style (length-wise to those of you who skipped kindergarten). All you have to do is get a cut started, about halfway through, and then slam the squash on the counter while yelling “Excellent! I’ll have another!” You’ll feel like Thor and the squash will split in half easily.

Remove the seeds and the pulp, and revel in the glory days of halloween pumpkin carving.

Place the halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet (put foil on the baking sheet first) and sprinkle water around the squash because it’s a baptism and it’s good for it.

Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, take it out and flip it over to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, take a fork and scrape the insides, creating little spaghetti-like strings. Yum.

Pad Thai

  • 1 batch Sunshine Sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise (IMPORTANT: don’t make the mistake I did and get sugar snap peas. Those are not paleo, because they are delicious and paleo gods are mean. Sugar snap peas are thick and look like they are full of air – snap peas look like they’ve been deflated)
  • 2 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash
  • 8 ounces grilled chicken thighs
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Handfull of cashews

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and use a fork to scramble them with the coconut aminos. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil to the skillet, and when it is melted, pour in the eggs and let them spread like a pancake. Reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid, letting the eggs cook until they’re set and beginning to brown on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. DONT FORGET TO REDUCE THE HEAT. If you forget, you will burn the eggs and your wife will be mad at you because she is getting hangry and she wants food NOW. Flip and lightly brown the other side. Remove the eggs from the pan and cut into strips with a sharp knife, or really any knife cause it’s eggs and anything can cut them.

Using the same pan, increase heat to medium-high and add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to the pan. Sauteé (don’t forget the accent mark) the onion and snap peas, stirring with a wooden spoon, until they’re crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spaghetti squash, chicken, and cooked egg to the pan and, stirring with a wooden spoon, cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Add the Sunshine Sauce to the pan and stir-fry until everything is well blended and hot. Divide among two plates, sprinkle with cilantro and cashews, add a lime wedge, and dig in.

When it is all said and done, it should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.45.50 AM

Yes, it’s a little labor intensive, but I made the chicken, sunshine sauce and squash the day before. If you do that, you’ll save yourself a lot of time on the day you are actually trying to eat this. Or, just forget everything I said, jump in your car and drive to Austin. Get some real Pad Thai if you want. It’s just not caveman-approved.

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