During my first trimester this summer, I had some SERIOUS salt cravings. From grilled cheese to Nacho Cheese Doritos to buttery popcorn and sushi, my sweet tooth nearly disappeared.
To no surprise, I also seemed to crave one of the most notoriously salty types of cuisine out there- Asian!
From my LINK Asian Meatballs over Zoodles to Crockpot Beef and Brocolli to Asian Pork Burgers, I was wanting to stuff my face with anything involving soy sauce, ginger, sesame, or garlic.
After hitting the Asian cuisine pretty hard for several weeks, I needed a break. No, I wasn’t wanting to break up with Asian food. I just felt like we had been spending a little too much time together and would benefit from some space. It was one of those- it’s not you, it’s me- kinda situations.
Recently though, I’ve realized my two month hiatus from Asian cuisine (minus the occasional California roll) could come to an end, with my taste buds crying out for the familiar flavors of cilantro, ginger, garlic, onion, and sesame.
Back when I actually lived within driving distance from dozens of Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese restaurants, my go-to dinner was always the Thai delight- Pad Thai. While I love a good stir-fry or Chinese take-out fake-out like my slow cooker broccoli beef or Asian meatballs with zoodles.
Now adays, there aren’t a ton of Asian options within a quick driving distance. Sure, there are some fast food-like Chinese places in Corsicana (as well as a Chinese buffet), I can’t say I’m a frequent attender of these places. I’m not a picky eater, but now that I’m responsible for feeding a small, growing human, I’m extra cautious of what goes into my body.
When this little momma started craving her beloved Pad Thai, I was left with one choice: make it my dagum self!
Traditional Pad Thai is composed of a sweet and sour sauce (thanks to the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and tamarind), tofu or chicken, fried eggs, and chopped peanuts over a bed of rice noodles.
I remade it keeping the same sweet and sour sauce but making a few swaps. Instead of noodles, I braised thin slices of cabbage to act as more nutritious noodles. Also, there’s no tofu here; I used grassfed ground beef. Lastly, I wanted to add a bit more texture so I added some diced mushrooms and water chestnuts to the mix (mister HHT is a huge fan of these crunchy delights).
Not only is this meal paleorific (cabbage, veggies, beef) and ideal for anyone wanting to keep a clean, wholefoods diet, it comes together pretty quick, too! With only having to dirty two pans (one for braising the cabbage and one for cooking the meat mixture), clean up is a breeze.
This meal is really versatile, too. You could swap chicken for the beef. You could add in diced peppers, carrots, or squash. You could use spaghetti squash or rice noodles if the idea of ‘cabbage noodles’ freaks you out.
My favorite part of the whole dish is the garnishes. While garnishes are inherently to add visual appeal to the dish, I’m all about purposeful garnishes. Why not add another depth of texture and flavor while we’re at it?
The traditional Pad Thai has a sprinkling of green onion, bean sprouts, lime juice, and ground peanuts. You could use any of these, but you could also try some of my additions like cilantro, chopped cashews, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and (no judgment, please) almond butter. Yes, almond butter in my Asian food. Don’t knock it until you try it.
If you’re still detoxing from Monday’s sugar bender, this would be another great detox recipe to whip up tonight or this weekend. Between the mushrooms and the cabbage, you’re getting a whopping load of folate (yeay healthy baby!), vitamin c, vitamin k (bone health), calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Needless to say, you could forgo the multivitamin with this meal.
So whether you have the The Mint (my favorite Dallas Thai spots) or Taste of Thai (sup Knoxville Thai fave) or Lemongrass (gotta represent for Greenville, SC) within a few minutes of you or you’re like me living in a Thai-less community, my paleo Pad Thai is sure to please!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!