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Easy Lightened Up Pad Thai

Well hey there.

easy pad thai recipe

I need to tell you something.

I had absolutely no intention of posting anything about Pad Thai today.

I had a bazillion ideas in my head including a favorites post or some sweet potato biscuits with bacon I made the other day. There are also some BBQ turkey meatloaf ball thingies that are flipping delicious and desperately need a name better than BBQ turkey meatloaf ball thingies… I promise I’ll get to alllll of that stuff in the coming days. Because today I was completely and utterly distracted by the Pad Thai that happened in my kitchen.

from scratch pad thai recipe

Pad Thai is one of those things you can’t find out this way. I came across it a couple years ago on the menu of one little local restaurant that definitely tried to spread themselves too thin with their ethnic food escapades. I probably should have known better when it was sandwiched in between eggplant parm and gyros at the corner of the page, but I gave it a shot anyway and it was straight up awful. A big pile of sticky noodles, store bought peanut sauce, and overcooked vegetables. Since then I’ve had to go to Asheville to get my Thai food fix. Except there are so many great restaurants there it seems like a shame to get the same old thing at the same old place… which basically means I’ve been jonesing for Pad Thai for awhile now.

pad thai with chickenHere’s the fun thing about this recipe:

You only need a couple of things to make it work and you will be so so so GLAD.

I wanted to share the happy. Ready? You need stir-fry rice noodles (of course… and if I can find them here I’d about bet you can find ’em where you are), low-sodium soy sauce (you can go with high-test soy sauce but I find that much salt totally unnecessary… always), a little sugar, sesame oil, and peanuts.

Everything else is totally up to you. You don’t eat meat? Go all veggie. Like beef? Have that. Not a fan of cabbage? Use more carrots. Go crazy. Have Pad Thai with just broccoli and rice noodles. Authentic? Not really. Delicious? Obviously.

Thai Stir-Fry Rice Noodle Recipe

I needed something to be happy about today after heading back to reality and feeling sad about the looming task of taking down the Christmas tree. It was all over too fast for me! Anyway… Pad Thai is happy.

Easy Lightened Up Pad Thai
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, canola, vegetable or sesame)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup onion, shredded
  • 1½ cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1½ cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1½ cups broccoli florets,chopped
  • ¾ cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 7 ounces stir-fry rice noodles
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until browned & cooked through, about 5 minutes (depending on the size of your pieces). Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in the hot skillet. Add the onion, green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. The cabbage & carrots will start to soften.
  4. While the vegetables cook, start the rice noodles; cook according to package instructions (usually 8-10 minutes).
  5. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, and garlic to the vegetables in the skillet. Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Add the soy sauce & sugar to the vegetables. Stir. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Stir and continue cooking while you drain the rice noodles.
  7. Stir the drained rice noodles into the chicken & vegetables.
  8. Portion the Pad Thai onto plates and top each serving with cilantro, green onions, and peanuts

Adapted from THIS recipe at Can You Stay for Dinner
easy pad thai recipe
Rate this recipe:  

michelle bailey

Tuesday 14th of January 2014

Made this and was delicious. Used braggs aminos instead of soy sauce. I liked the light sauce because it did not overpower the veggies which sometimes happens with pad thai. was a hit! Keeper


Wednesday 15th of January 2014

That's so great Michelle! This is one of my favorite (and most versatile) recipes ever. So glad you enjoyed it!!!

Local Shrimp Pad Thai « SOLE Food Kitchen

Thursday 3rd of January 2013

[...] job of making good cooking accessible. And she’s hilarious. I couldn’t wait to try her Easy Lightened Up Pad Thai and it was very good, even if I couldn’t find the right kind of noodles. This recipe can take [...]


Sunday 30th of December 2012

You gotta leave your tree up at least until February lol I mean come on!!! haha I wish I could leave mine up all year haha Well my Mother's haha I hate peanut sauce it literally makes me nautious...and I'm not sure if I'eve ever had pad thai...I'm not a fan of thai food in general but I would eat it just based on your pictures haha


Saturday 29th of December 2012

Whoa! I absolutely love pad thai. One of my favourites! Love that you put your own twist into it!!


Saturday 29th of December 2012

One of my favorites too, Sammie!


Saturday 29th of December 2012

I love Thai food...I rarely eat it though because most of the time it's just too greasy. This looks way better than restaurant that you cook so many different cuisines Heather!


Saturday 29th of December 2012

There is a Thai restaurant in Asheville that my sister totally sold me on -- not greasy at all! But it's 1 1/2 hours from me so... yeah. Anyway, this was SUCH a good way to eat A TON of vegetables. I loved it. P.S. If I didn't get a little worldly with my cooking I would suffer... serious lack of anything here except fried fish and lots of grease.