The number one question I get when someone finds out I cook for a living is, “What’s your favourite thing to cook?” usually I hesitate but the answer always ends up being Pad Thai or Stir Fry. Its true; I just love the way you can start with a pile of vegetables and various flavours and end up with a delicious comfort food. No matter how many times its made at work or at home; if there are leftovers its devoured within seconds.
I decided to whip up a quick Pad Thai inspired Stir Fry the other day for dinner (the flavour of Pad Thai, but really just a Stir Fry); instead of rice noodles or a bed of rice, I placed it on a seasoned portion of spaghetti squash. I’m not the type of person to tell you that spaghetti squash is an awesome revelation and it’s replaceable for spaghetti – because let’s be real; if you think that you are lying to yourself. NOTHING will ever be able to replace a nice starchy-carby-delicious bowl of spaghetti. But since I just happened to have a spaghetti squash laying around, I decided I’d use what I had (because who doesn’t just have a spaghetti squash laying around, right?). That’s the great thing about stir fry, if you’re not too sure about it – add it. It’ll most likely turn out one way or another.
For this recipe I used a selection of vegetables I had already, spaghetti squash, chicken tenders and for the sauce I used a bottle of ‘Pad Thai sauce’ – any variety will do, then added a few other flavours that I had open in my fridge to make it more of a stir fry rather than Pad Thai. The best thing about making this at work (or at home if this is a needed dietary issue) is that it is gluten free and if you add tofu in replace of the chicken; its also vegetarian. Being at home, I don’t have an industrial sized fridge or storage, so I don’t have access to any sauce of my choice – its whatever I have in the fridge or what I buy while grocery shopping. But anything from leftover plum sauce packets from a Chinese take out to an almost empty can of hoisin will do.
If you need to make sure it is gluten-free, please check the bottles of the sauces you’re adding before to make sure the ones that you have do not contain gluten as the companies may be different
Recipe: Yield 4-6 people
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stocks of celery
- 1 Spanish onion
- 2 sweet bell peppers – any colour will do
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pack of chicken tenders
- 1 bottle of Pad Thai sauce (12 oz)
- any other Asian inspired sauces laying around in your fridge
-Start by cutting your spaghetti squash in half, removing the seeds and lightly brush with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Lay the spaghetti squash face up on a baking sheet with parchment paper and put into the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes; make sure to check on it and rotate it if necessary.
-While your spaghetti squash is spaghet-a-fying; slice up your onion, celery, peppers and carrots into a thin julienne. (thin long pieces)
-Get your frying pan hot and add a little bit of oil – let the oil heat up in the pan before adding any ingredients. Before cooking the chicken, make sure you season it for extra flavour, I like to add salt, pepper, basil and some garlic.
-Cook chicken until done; then either remove chicken from pan or keep going in the same pan; sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is slightly translucent in colour, then throw in the carrot, peppers and celery.
-Once the veg is cooked (or at least 90%) add in the Pad Thai sauce. This is also the time to find extra sauces to use up in your fridge. I like adding soya sauce, sesame oil, hoisin and plum sauce. To spice it up I’ll add Siracha and/or sweet chili sauce. There is no measurement, just trust yourself and keep tasting until you get your desired flavour.
-Now add in your chicken if you removed it from the pan earlier. Set aside and keep on low. If you don’t find that the sauce is the consistency that you’re looking for, add a bit of cornstarch mixed with water to thicken it up.
-By now your spaghetti squash should be ready; carefully take it out of the oven and use a fork to pull the squash away from the peel into spaghetti like strands and you’re ready to serve!
Replace chicken with Tofu if a vegetarian/vegan option is needed.