Coconut Noodle Pad Thai (Low Carb & Gluten Free)

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I’m a big fan of Thai food.  One of my favorite dishes is Pad Thai, which is typically made with rice noodles and peanut sauce.  Since I’m eating low carb, and this month I’m doing the Whole 30, I had to make some adjustments to my traditional way of making it.  Enter coconut noodles!  In my last post, I showed you how to open a young coconut and also why they are so good for you.  As promised, here is a delicious recipe using the noodles that you can make from the young coconut meat.  The smooth, slightly chewy noodles give this salad an excellent texture – it’s hearty and oh so satisfying.  Since the Whole 30 requires no legumes, I substituted almond butter for the traditional peanut butter in the sauce – as well as toasted almonds to garnish.  I’m also unable to use sweeteners during the Whole 30 and to be honest, just a touch of maple syrup, honey, or a no-carb sugar substitute really would enhance the flavor.  The coconut water adds some sweetness but unless you are doing the Whole 30 too, I recommend adding a tablespoon of the sweetener of your choice to the dressing.  In addition, I would normally use fish sauce (no-no because of the sugar) and soy sauce (soy is a legume) but I had to omit that as well to keep it Whole 30 compliant.  The recipe below is for my Whole 30 Pad Thai, but beneath that I’ll add some substitution choices for you non Whole 30 peeps, and I’ll give you nutrition info for a few of them at the bottom as well.  This Pad Thai recipe is really delicious and so worth the few minutes work of making the coconut noodles – I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!  As a bonus, it tastes even better the next day!

Makes 6 servings

For the salad:

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
1 cup coconut noodles
8 cups sliced Napa cabbage
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup radishes, julienned
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

For the sauce:

2 Tbl ginger, chopped
1/2 cup young coconut water
1 Tbl lime juice
1/4 cup almond butter
1 Tbl sesame oil
1/2 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all of the salad ingredients except for the roasted almonds  in a large bowl and toss gently.  Put all of the sauce ingredients into a small blender or magic bullet and puree until smooth.  Taste and add more salt or heat as necessary.  Pour the sauce over the salad and toss gently to coat.  Garnish with chopped almonds and serve.

Recipe alternatives:

Paleo:  Add 1 Tbl maple syrup, 1 Tbl soy sauce, and 1 Tbl fish sauce to the dressing

Keto:  Add 1 Tbl soy sauce, 1 Tbl fish sauce, 1 Tbl no-carb sweetener of your choice to the dressing.

Vegetarian/Vegan:  Omit chicken, add 1 Tbl soy sauce, 1 Tbl maple syrup to the dressing.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Whole 30 (recipe as written):  191 calories, 13g fat, 6.2g net carbs, 12g protein

Paleo:  203 calories, 13g fat, 8.8g net carbs, 12g protein

Keto:  195 calories, 13g fat, 6.6g net carbs, 12g protein

Vegetarian/Vegan:  146 calories, 12g fat, 8.4g net carbs, 2g protein

 For more great recipes, check out my new e-cookbook The Gluten Free Low Carber!





  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous08-23-2012

    This looks gorgeous – I love the idea of young coconut noodles.

    Just a thought – coconut aminos (to replace the soy) and Red Boat brand fish sauce are both Whole30 approved, and you could always add a touch of orange or apple juice to add some sweetness to the recipe.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-24-2012

      Thank you for that advice! I am totally stumped on the soy and I’ve never tried coconut aminos – I’m going to order some asap! And I didn’t know there was a W30 approved fish sauce either – thank you so much!!

  2. flamidwyfe
    flamidwyfe08-24-2012

    My word you are making my last 4 weeks in China difficult!!! This recipe has now moved up on my list of first things to cook when I move back to the States!
    p.s. Love the recipe book!! Can you email me the link to put it on my blog? Thanks!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-24-2012

      Thanks, so glad you are enjoying the book! I’ll email you the affiliate link next week!

  3. flamidwyfe
    flamidwyfe08-25-2012

    Awesome, thanks! I made the Flaxseed Crackers today… YUMMY!

  4. movita beaucoup
    movita beaucoup08-25-2012

    All week I’ve been craving Thai food. ALL WEEK. Thinking about it. Dreaming about it. And then I see this.

    Sigh… and now I feel like I should get off the couch and make it.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-31-2012

      Hi MB – thanks for stopping by! Wondering if you’re still mouldering on the couch or if you ever got your Thai food fix!?!?!? ;)

  5. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen08-30-2012

    What a creative substitution for the noodles, sounds wonderful with the almond butter in the sauce.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-31-2012

      Thanks Sylvie! I’ve really come to love the flavor of almond butter over peanut butter in my cooking – peanut butter almost tastes weird to me now! Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Mike
    Mike08-31-2012

    Pad thai is one of my favorite Thai dishes, I’m always a bit hesitant to order it though because of the noodles. Seems like one solved my problems: AWESOME!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-31-2012

      Mike I don’t even miss the regular noodles when I make it like this! And the leftovers don’t get mushy like traditional noodles so it lasts for several days in the fridge! Hope you like it!

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