The cool crisp winter air always makes me crave spicy warm things, like gumbo, chili and pad thai. But since I’ve been trying to eat mostly vegetarian (vegan if I can help it, but cheese…) and limit my carbs, this version using spaghetti squash is not only genius but supremely delish. It’s not the simplest of recipes with a fair amount of prep work, but if you enjoy cooking like I do, it’s so worth it. I double the recipe so I can have it for lunch and leftovers the next few days. Oh, and it has about 200 calories per serving. Want it even lighter? Cut down on the olive oil, peanuts and honey.


For the pad thai:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or coconut, grapeseed or avocado oil)

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and guts. Drizzle the flesh side with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, until you can stick a knife in easily.

When squash is done, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape out all of the spaghetti squash, until all you have left is the skin. Set the squash in a colander for about 10 minutes to drain out all of the excess moisture.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Put all of the ingredients a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Put over medium-low heat to warm. Don’t let it come to a boil, just keep it warm while you are cooking the rest of the meal.

Heat up your olive oil in a skillet. Add the peppers, carrots, green onions and garlic, and saute for about 3-4 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add the drained spaghetti squash and the sauce to the skillet and stir until evenly distributed.

Remove from skillet and put the squash mixture into a large bowl. At this time, add the peanuts, and cilantro. Stir. To serve, garnish with a few more peanuts and cilantro.

Recipe adapted from  The Wheatless Kitchen

Serving Size 3/4 cup; makes 6 servings.

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