This pad thai zucchini noodle and quinoa salad is a lightened up version of a takeout staple. Clean ingredients, tons of flavor and packed with nutrients!
Today I'm remaking one of my favorite take out dishes of all time: Pad Thai!
This noodle dish is traditionally served with rice noodles, egg, some sort of protein and a delicious peanut sauce. It often might feel like a healthier option, but there's a lot of junk hiding inside. The noodles are basically pure starch with zero nutritional value. The sauce usually has sugar, fish sauce and a ton of sodium in it, and the whole thing is finished off with a high-heat saute in vegetable oil.
So…is pad thai healthy? Not really.
But with a few tweaks, we've been able to get rid of all the crappy ingredients and transform this dish into a nourishing, flavorful and veggie-packed salad that requires no cooking and takes about 10 minutes to make.
Cheaper than takeout. Faster than takeout. And healthier than takeout. That's a win in my book.
So it's time to whip out your spiralizer, slice of up some veggies and dig into this healthy pasta dish.
And if you don't have a spiralizer already, the one I'm using in today's video is The Inspiralizer — I've tested out a bunch of different tools and this one is by far the best. I talked about the features I love about it before in this post, but if you are in the market for a spiralizer, I highly recommend this one! Click here to grab an Inspiralizer.
Since I'm a big pasta lover and we're getting into zucchini season, I'm planning to use my spiralizer a lot this summer. I'll be sure to share some of my creations on the blog, but I'd also love to hear what your favorite spiralized recipe is!
Do you spiralize? What's your favorite veggie/recipe? Leave a comment below so we can also give each other inspiration for this amazing kitchen gadget!
And if you haven't joined the SQ community on YouTube yet, make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any of my videos (I don't always post them on the blog!)
Pad Thai Zucchini Noodle + Quinoa Salad
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
- for the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter or almond butter
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce or asian hot sauce of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Water as needed to thin the sauce
- Slice the ends off the zucchini and secure it to your spiralizer. Spiralize the zucchini into long noodles and transfer to a large bowl.
- Thinly slice the cabbage and pepper, either with a knife or mandolin slicer, and add that to the bowl with the zucchini noodles, along with the scallions, cilantro, quinoa and peanuts.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it's thin enough to pour -- you're looking for the consistency of a creamy dressing.
- Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer to two bowls, sprinkle with a bit more peanuts and cilantro and enjoy!
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61 comments on “Pad Thai Zucchini Noodle + Quinoa Salad”
I spiralise loads and use the Inspiralizer. I’m disabled uou won’t recall but this is so much better I fave my Lurch one away with a massive gash in my right index finger knuckle.
I do bulk spiralising then put everything in bags and freeze in 100g sizes. Not white potato or fruit but everything else uncooked.
If I see a recipe using cubed veg, wherever I can I spiralise. My go to help is Ali @inspiralised I’ve learned loads, you are both my saviours. Ali shows in spiralising 1st then blend to make rice saved time, power etc.
So good job.
I don’t like Chinese or Thai food it’s full of crap as you say. Hubby loves it but rarely gets it…. Asian food lol…. Id cook this with him. He’d be happy + crap free.
Thanks dear ????
Love to hear that Heather! And so happy that you’re enjoying spiralizing. Isn’t Ali the best? She’s a great friend of mine and is such an inspiration. She’s changing the world one pasta lover at a time 😉
This looks delicious! So you eat the zucchini noodles raw?
Most of the time I actually do eat the zucchini noodles raw because I like the crunch, but you can totally cook them! That’s how Matt likes to eat them 🙂
So you know Ali Mafucci? I follow her too. Did you know you can inspiralize the cabbage and red pepper too? I follow you and Ali for all your great recipes! Glad you two are friends.
I do! She actually emailed me and said I should have spiralized the cabbage 🙂
How do you spralized the cabbage
Here’s a great tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcUPKnr6eZQ
This looks great! I love zoodles and sweet potato noodles!
SAME! Sweet potato noodles are the best!
You are a genius for this recipe. I just made it and… OH MY GOODNESS! Love it! I forgot the scallion when I was at the store today so I think it will be even better when I make it next time. Which will be immediately when this batch is finished. So good. THANK YOU!!
So glad you enjoyed it!! I’ve been craving it all day and need to make it for dinner tomorrow! xo
I loved the Pad Thai Salad but I missed the hint of sweetness so added a little raw honey to the sauce and it was just perfect. I also added more quinoa. Thanks so much for a great recipe!
Lovely!! So happy you enjoyed it 🙂
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Hi! Was wondering what type of mandolin slicer you used? I’ve checked Amazon but the reviews for the ones listed are not great.
Hi there – here’s the one I have and I really really like it: http://amzn.to/25N0WZA
What can i do if i want this recipe to be warm (like pad thai) Temperature warm not spicy warm.
Feel fee to just toss in a pan quickly ????
This recipe was delicious….loved it! I am tracking my nutrition and macros closely. Do you happen to have nutritional information for this recipe. I.e. total calories, grams of fat, carbs and protein for a serving. Much appreciated if you do.
I don’t right now, but you can plug them into a tool like this to get it: https://www.caloriecount.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php Hope that helps and I’m glad you enjoyed it!! xo
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I’m going to try this, but add a little tamarind to the sauce. Can’t wait to dig in!
Sounds incredible! xo
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This looks delicious. I am looking for recipes with no sugar which is how I found you… but this recipe says it has 9g or sugar… that is way higher then I wanted… but I looked at the ingredients and I cant tell where the sugar came from. Where is the sugar coming from in the recipe?? That way I will know which items to switch out.
Hi Jen! I’m guessing the sugar is coming from the peppers, the sriracha and potentially the peanut butter 🙂 I can’t control the exact ingredients that the nutrition calculator uses, so sometimes it might be a teeny bit off! That’s why I always recommend that you use your own calculator and plug in the exact ingredients you have at home (it will be much more accurate!). xox
Alyssa, I tried this recipe and loved. I’m 77 and try to eat a healthy diet, and this is certainly a great recipe. Keep them coming!
Glad you enjoyed it, Pat!
Is there a substitute that can be used for the peanut butter?
Almond butter is delicious!
I must have done something wrong because I see everyone else liked it. I thought it was gross. Juice of 2 limes?? Seems disproportionate to the other ingredients in the sauce. All I could taste was lime.
Sorry you didn’t like it! 🙁
I made this two nights ago and it was delicious! My SAD husband wouldn’t touch it once he heard it had quinoa in it. But that made leftovers for me the next day! Next time I will double this recipe because the leftovers were great even cold. It did take me more like an hour to make this.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! xox
This was my first-ever attempt at pad thai and I just LOVED it! I too found the dressing too ‘limey’ so wondering if different types of lime express differentamounts of juide? Next time I’d just use one. Mine were super-juicy. So I added more of the other ingredients, and, like another reader below, I added a bit of maple syrup. But the rest of the flavours were a perfect ‘meld’ and the texture of the veggies was fun. I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy it raw and have to heat/cook but I didn’t. My quinoa was warm when I tossed it in and the combo of the warm/cold was amazing. This will be a keeper recipe for me, for sure. Thanks!!!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! And yes, some limes are certainly juicier than others 🙂 Would love you for you leave a star rating if you have a sec as well! xox
Can you recommend a spiralizer or two? Really don’t want another large appliance in my kitchen, but one that is smaller/more portable. I need to try this!
Thanks, the recipe looks so interesting, and I would definitely eat it slightly warmed, esp in the winter!
This is the best one by far!! www.simplyquinoa.com/inspiralizer
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With all the veggies what makes it have so may calories?
Quinoa, peanuts, almond butter, etc.!
Looks delicious, can’t wait to make it.
Can’t wait to hear how they turn out!
How long is fridge life? Is it a meal that has to be eaten the first day or how long does it last?
It should last a few days!
This is amazing! Is it 1/2 cup quinoa before or after cooking? Thanks!
After! Updating 🙂
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Is it possible to use another sauce? I dont like heat 😉
Just leave out the spice 🙂 Otherwise it should be totally fine!
Gorgeous salad. Thank you it will be a regular for me now.
So glad to hear that!
This was delicious!! I didn’t have cabbage but used shredded carrots instead and added shredded chicken for protein! It was a great, easy meal, and tasted good even the next day!
So glad you enjoyed!! Love those substitutions 🙂 If you wouldn’t mind leaving a star rating as well, I’d so appreciate it!