Pad Thai, but make it healthy(ish).

Whoops. I went and got myself cancer, friends. And that’s led to a lengthy absence from everything but my murder boobs, my job, and my family. Because of the fourth COVID surge, like all too many others, I’m waiting to start the oncology process. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Cancer often seems like a rush to…wait.

But I’m healed enough from my surprise summer vacation – sigh, my bilateral mastectomy – to start actively planning and prepping meals. My beloved husband’s favorite Thai dish is pad thai, and I wanted to make it, but maybe inject a little more nutrition into it.

Here goes.

(Kind of) Healthy Pad Thai

(serves 6)

Pad Thai Sauce

  • 3 tsp tamarind paste or concentrate
  • 1/2 cup low sodium tamari
  • 5 T monkfruit sugar substitute
  • 2.5 tsp chili garlic sauce (I may or may not have added more)
  • 2.5 T lime juice
  • 3 tsp fish sauce (or your favorite vegan equivalent)

Everything else

  • 2 cups, cubed extra firm tofu, pressed, tossed in corn flour, and stir fried in…
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 4 Thai red chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 T low sodium tamari
  • 1 can, bean sprouts
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4-5 baby bell peppers, cut lengthwise
  • 2 cups green onions, chopped on the bias
  • 0.5 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and pulled
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped


  • In a small saucepan, combine and heat tamarind, monkfruit, tamari, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, and fish sauce over medium heat. Stir and heat to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and set the sauce aside.
  • Heat a deep skillet to medium. (Note: always add your oil to a hot skillet.) Add sesame oil and tofu and sauté on all aside for roughly 5 minutes. Add the chopped chiles, garlic, and tamari, and stir for another minute or two.
  • Add the squash noodles, half of the bean sprouts and green onions, and the carrots and bell peppers to the hot skillet. Using tongs, toss the ingredients together and allow to cook until some of the excess liquid from the squash evaporates. Add half of the peanuts and the sauce. (Note: you can throw the skillet in the oven at 425 degrees for ten minutes to mimic the textures of pad thai noodles slightly better.)
  • Serve with the remaining green onions, peanuts, bean sprouts. Top with cilantro and lime wedges.

Let me know your thoughts!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my goodness and thank you for adding a little humor to your diagnosis as cancer is so serious.
    My husband had colon cancer. He is doing well and has been cancer free for 6 years!

    By the way, I paused to read your post because I frigging love Pad Thai and have yet to master making it. I think I am over cooking the noodles because it has come out pasty and the texture was weird. I will have to try making it again.

    Thanks for sharing and hope you feel better.


    1. Cait G says:

      Humor is often the only way I can cope! With pad thai it’s okay to undercook noodles – if you’re using actual noodles, add them to hot water for about a minute, drain them, and then add them to your skillet. That way they’ll continue to cook while drying out slightly to add texture.


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